The Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, Ogidigan, on Sunday expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for preserving Nigeria’s traditional institution, and the culture of the people. Speaking on Saturday after a private meeting in his palace with the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ọjájá II, and the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, who were in Benin to grace the 88th birthday celebration of the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Gabriel Igbinedion, Oba Ewuare II recalled failed attempts by cultural imperialists to disrupt the tradition in Africa, including Benin Kingdom, where the invaders looted Benin bronzes over a century ago.
He however expressed thanks to God and his ancestors that some of the looted artefacts were being returned to their original owners. The royal father also acknowledged the role of the President, and the support of stakeholders in preserving the traditional institution which he noted has remained intact.
According to Oba Ewuare 11, “When the white men came and tried to disrupt our traditional institution, you will all agree with me that they failed. So, they left our traditional institution intact. That is why we are still here. They took away our artefacts to remind them of their visit. But the artefacts are coming back. I want to use this opportunity to thank Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, for his strong stance in supporting the cultural, the traditional institution; preserving the culture of Nigeria and so many other things. We may not know what His Excellency has done for us. Nigerians will know, perhaps later”.
Addressing the Benin throne, the Ooni of Ife, while recalling the ancestral ties between Benin Kingdom and Ile Ife in Osun State, revealed that his mission to Oba of Benin palace was to ask after the welfare of counterpart, and extend to him, the best wishes of his people.
On his part, the Emir of Kano paid tribute to the Benin throne and promised to sustain the legacies of his forebears, as well as to strengthen the bond of friendship between Benin Kingdom and the Kano Emirate.