Esogban of Benin, Apostle of Parliamentary System of Government, is Dead

Prominent Benin chief, elder statesman, and dyed-in-the-wool advocate of the parliamentary system of government, David Uyunmwun Edebiri, died 12.20 pm on Thursday at a private hospital in Benin City, Edo State, following a brief illness. The Esogban of Benin Kingdom, who died barely six weeks to his September 2nd 94th birthday, is next in hierarchy to the Iyase (Prime Minister) of Benin Kingdom, and was often referred to as the ‘Odiownere’ of Benin Kingdom (the oldest man).
According to a family member, “He has not been too strong and we took him to the hospital a few days ago, and he died this afternoon. The family will follow the protocols for the formal announcement to be made”.
His last major outing which was widely reported in the media, was his participation in the March 18 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections where he defended the much criticised February 25 presidential election, describing it as the best since he started voting in 1951.
The late nonagenarian said he had never missed any election since he cast his first vote in 1951 as a 22-year-old young man. “I thank God I am alive to vote in this election. I am here to vote as I did two weeks ago. It will interest you to know that I started voting at the age of 22 in December 1951 in the regional election to the house of assembly elections at Ibadan. We were then part of Western Region. Since then, I have not failed to vote in any election, be it national or sub-nationals.
“Some of the things that happened in the last two weeks were just a fluke. Those who voted were not members of the party. They came for certain purposes to make some statements, and when those statements failed, their interests died. The February 25 election was the best I have seen and taken part in since 1951”.
Edebiri, who was a journalist, and a writer, in 2022 unveiled his three new books which were “Tripod of Life: Essence of Benin Tradition and Culture”, “The life and Times of Iyase N’Ohenmwen”, and “Immortalising Our Heroes Past: Nigerian Nationalists in Focus” to mark his 93rd birthday where he once again expressed his objection to the presidential system of government being practiced in Nigeria.
The nationalist asserted that Nigeria missed its way to development and progress when it adopted the American presidential system of government.
The Esogban had said at the occasion: “My mentor, Late Chief Anthony Enahoro, would invite me to his house and would ask, ‘Is this what we fought for?’ This was part of the questions he would ask before we started any discussion. This is not the concept of the nationalists who fought for the independence of this country.
“We derailed when we threw away the parliamentary system of government and embraced the American Presidential System; but it was embraced haphazardly. What we are doing today is neither American system nor British system. If you want to adopt a country’s system of government, you must adopt it wholesomely and not haphazardly.
“Today, our judiciary is British, and we are operating an American system. What we have is people going into politics for personal gain, and that is not how it used to be. We fought for this country so that we can be free, not because we want to be senators”.

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