May 22, 2024

Benin palace cautions Obaseki over move to reconcile monarch with dukes



By Ozioruva Aliu

BENIN CITY – THE crisis between the Oba of Benin and some suspended enigie (dukes) on one hand and the Oba and Governor Godwin Obaseki on the other continued in Wednesday as the Benin Traditional Council (BTC) in a strongly worded statement cautioned Obaseki over his acclaimed move to resolve the issues between them.

Recall that some enigie had dragged the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II and the state government to court over their suspension where they are arguing that the Oba does not have the power to suspend them without the consent of the state executive council and Governor Obaseki while on a visit to one of the suspended enigie in the crisis, Professor Gregory Akenzua said he would visit the Iyase (Prime Minister) of Benin to initiate the reconciliation process.

But a statement by the BTC dated May 22, 2024 and signed by nine prominent Benin Palace chiefs said it was an abomination for any individual to seek to interfere with the age-long and well-established process of customary arbitration of the kingdom which they expected those involved to explore.

The statement was signed by the Osuma of Benin, Chief Norense Ozigbo-Esere, Oliha of Benin, Chief Edionwe Oliha,Aiwerioghene of Benin, Chief Henry Osato Bazuaye, Uwangue of Benin, Chief Ekhoerovbiye Oviasogie and Eribo of Benin, Chief Ada Igbinovia.

Others are Esere of Benin, Chief Stanley Obamwonyi, Obazelu of Benin, Chief Osaro Idah, Ine of Benin, Chief Okuonghae Edomwandagbon and Obahiagbon of Benin, Chief David Aibiokun Ehondor.

It stated that “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 emphasize 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 the Benin Kingdom.”