By Jimitota Onoyume
Chief Gabriel Osawuru Igbenedion, Solomon Iyobosa Edebiri and Professor P. E. Igbinovia were among prominent Bini sons that gathered recently at the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre, Benin City, Edo State to take a critical look at the arts, culture and politics of the Bini ethnic nationality.
The event was the annual seminar of the Solomon Iyobosa Edebiri Centre for Change. And the theme this time was Bini Nation, Yesterday, Today and the Future.
President and founder of the body, Chief Solomon Edebiri, lamented the set back in the famous Bini Kingdom. He called for practical steps to take the ethnic nationality to the next level.
According to him, key historical Bini communities could be transformed into tourist sites as part of move to move the nation forward. Ugbine community for instance, he said, was where eight British soldiers were killed and buried during the first colonial encounter with the Bini nation, adding that this area could be developed into a historical tourist attraction.
He also said the chain that was used to anchor the boat that brought the white men to Bini was called Gelegele and it is still in Ugbine. According to him, Uruokhokoh occupies a central place in Bini history because it was there those sent to execute a prince, Ikaladerhan, spared him. This place, Edebiri said, could also be developed into a tourist attraction because of its centrality in Bini history.
“Ughoton town is known for its three strong traditional significance: Eze, Oke and the Ikhinmwin”.
He also spoke of Udo, home town of Arhuan, a popular Bini prince, who was a giant and Queen Idia as another area that could attract tourists’ attention. The story of the famous Bini kingdom is incomplete with reference to the giant Arhuan and Queen Idia. Edebiri said their town, Udo, could be built into a famous historical sight for scholars and tourists.
He also spoke about the near absence of Bini sons in national politics. He said they were very visible in the past but they seem to have disappeared, a situation he said should not be encouraged. He enjoined the forum to see the challenge to reposition the Bini nation in world map as a major task that should be achieved.
Lamenting the deplorable state of several Bini communities, he called for private and public partnership to tackle the challenges.
He further urged great sons and daughters of the Bini nation to get involved in the sacrifice to rebuild the kingdom. Edebiri also called for more local governments for the area.
The event was used to honor four prominent Bini sons for their contribution to advancement of the Bini nation. They were Chief Gabriel Osawuru Igbinedion, the Esama of Bini Kingdom; Rev Felix Omobude of the Covenant Gospel Church; Dr Chris Ogiemwonhy, a former Minister of State for Works; and Dr Iyayi Efionayi, Chairman, Iyayi Group of Companies.
Igbenedion, who spoke on behalf of the awardees, said he was elated with presentations at the summit. He challenged Bini sons and daughters to take the challenge to move Bini to another level.
Earlier, Professor P. E. Igbinovia, in his paper, While Benin slept, called for an enlarged conference of the Bini nation to adopt common position on governance, structure of the Nigerian federation and other related issues.
His thought provoking lecture urged Benins to be conscious of their past, present and future.
Other speakers at the event were Squadron Leader Ehi Ighile and Dr Osaretin Aigbovo. They all called for collective drive to advance the cause of the Binis.