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Obaseki Incurs Royal Wrath as BTC Describes Attempt to Mediate in Court Action Against Benin Monarch by Suspended Enigie as Abomination, Affront to Benin Tradition - TELL Magazine

Obaseki Incurs Royal Wrath as BTC Describes Attempt to Mediate in Court Action Against Benin Monarch by Suspended Enigie as Abomination, Affront to Benin Tradition

Labour House Commissioning by Godwin Obaseki

The Benin Traditional Council, BTC on Wednesday took a swipe at Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, over his attempt to reconcile the Benin monarch, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare 11, with two suspended Enigie who dragged the royal father to court, describing the move as an abomination and affront to the Benin Traditional Institution.

In a statement on Wednesday with reference number BTC.A40/VOL.LVVI/175, dated May 22, 2024, and signed on behalf of the Palace Chiefs of Benin Kingdom, by: Norense Ozigbo-Esere; Edionwe Oliha, Oliha of Benin; Henry Osato Bazuaye, Aiwerioghene of Benin; Ada Igbinovia, Eribo of Benin; Stanley Obamwonyi, Esere of Benin; Osaro Idah, Obazelu of Benin; Okuonghae Edomwandagbon, Ine of Benin; Oviasogie Ekhoerovbiye, Uwangue of Benin; and David Aibiokun Ehondor, Obahiagbon of Benin, the BTC also carpeted the state Information and Orientation Commissioner, Chris Nehikhare, for dismissing the case in court as “a family dispute within the Benin Royal Family”.

The plaintiffs are Prof. Gregory Akenzua, the Enogie (Duke) of Evbuobanosa, the Oba’s uncle, and Edomwonyi Ogiegbaen, Enogie of Egbaen Siluko, both in Edo South Senatorial District.

Reacting to what it referred to as “Abominable Acts and Utterances Against Benin Traditional Institution”, the BTC tutored Governor Obaseki on the existence of, and the process of customary arbitration in the ancient Benin Kingdom, under the authority of the Oba, which it posited, is well known to all Benin traditional chiefs, including the suspended Enigie.

The full statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to the reported plan by the Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, to initiate dispute resolution of the suit filed by two suspended Enigie against His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba of Benin. Our attention has also been drawn to a Press Statement credited to the Honourable Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Edo State, Mr. Chris Nehikhare in which he claims that the suit filed by the Enigie is a family dispute within the Benin Royal Family.

“We wish to state for the avoidance of doubt that the Benin Traditional Institution has a well-established and fully functional process of customary arbitration under the authority of His Royal Majesty, The Oba of Benin. This process of customary arbitration is well-known to all Benin traditional chiefs, including the suspended Enigie. Any traditional chief who has any genuine cause to be aggrieved is at liberty to explore this customary arbitration process.

“It is therefore an abomination for any individual to seek to interfere with this age-long and well-established process of customary arbitration. We also wish to emphasise that His Royal Majesty, The Oba of Benin reigns over the Benin Kingdom as the spiritual and royal father of the Benin people irrespective of family status, age and office. Consequently, it is an affront for anyone to suggest that His Royal Majesty, The Oba of Benin is in dispute with those over whom he reigns, including members of the Royal Family.

“We admonish members of the general public to be wary of the abominable efforts to undermine the Benin Traditional Institution through deliberate acts and utterances which are calculated to create confusion. We appeal to members of the general public to remain law-abiding and pray for peace to continue to reign in Benin Kingdom”.

Recall that Governor Obaseki had recently expressed his willingness to broker peace between the Oba of Benin and the suspended Enigie after a visit to Enogie Akenzua where he met with Enigie from Edo South senatorial district. Addressing journalists after the meeting, Obaseki had noted the government’s earlier statement to look into the matter and seek for amicable reconciliation over the issues in court.

According to him, “I came back from a trip about two days ago, and decided to commence that process by meeting with the aggrieved Enigie who went to court. The intention is to see what the issues are, and amicably ensure that they are resolved. Every Enogie in Edo South has a blood relationship with the Palace; they are an extension of the Benin Royal family.

“We are here to meet a cross-section of them to understand what the issues are. We want to know what it takes to broker peace and reconcile them with the hope that the case is withdrawn from the court…We will also visit the lyase of Benin Kingdom, and after that, we will visit our Royal father and see how these issues will be resolved”.

Recall also that reacting swiftly to the governor’s moves, the Senator Monday Okpebholo Campaign Organisation, had lambasted him, describing his action as an “abomination”. The campaign organisation of the governorship candidate of the All-Progressives Congress, APC, in the upcoming September 21, 2024 gubernatorial poll in the state, advised Governor Obaseki to allow Oba Ewuare 11 to breathe and stop pretending to be brokering peace when in reality he was s the “chief instigator” of the crisis.

A statement last Thursday, signed by the Director of Media and Publicity, John Mayaki, contended that “Godwin Obaseki lacks the authority, as it’s another abomination to Benin tradition and culture, to want to broker peace or settle our revered King with his subjects or suspended Enigie. What Governor Godwin Obaseki is saying or claiming he wants to do is comparable to a living creature (Man) saying he wants to broker peace between the Almighty God and a creature of God who is a sinner. We are therefore not surprised, as Governor Godwin Obaseki has continued to show his lack of proper understanding of Benin traditions and Customs”.

Mayaki insisted that “The current case between the Benin Traditional Council, (BTC) and Edo State government over Governor Godwin Obaseki’s desire to challenge the authority of the revered Oba of Benin by his intention to create alternate traditional rulers in every local government in Edo South against the laws and traditions of the Benin people, is another issue he cannot wriggle himself out of”.

The Okpebholo campaign organisation praised the Oba “for his usual fatherly role, candour, and disposition so far even in the face of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s continued provocation with his actions and policies against the Oba and Benin Traditional Council”.

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