…advises state govt to reverse itself on decision
The Ogbakha-Edo in Benin has sent a strong warning to the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki not to go ahead to create 18 traditional councils across the state as Benin people have only one Oba.
TheNewsGuru.com, (TNG) reports this was contained in a statement issued and signed by Professor Sam Guobadia, Chairman and Nosa Omorodion clearly stated that:
“We wish to express our position on the needless and avoidable crisis generated by the recently announced decision of the Edo State Government to establish traditional councils in each of the eighteen (18) local government areas of the state.
“We are particularly concerned that the seven (7) local government areas which comprise the Edo South Senatorial District are included in the decision. The local government areas are Oredo, Egor, Ikpoba-Okha, Ovia South West, Ovia North East, Uhunmwonde and Orhionmwon.
“As announced by the State Government in its release dated August 11th 2023 and signed by the Secretary to the State Government, the intention of the state government is to create a “new regime” pursuant to “a 1979 law”, by which each local government area including those in Edo South Senatorial District will have a traditional council; and that this is to ensure that “… all traditional rulers in the 18 local government areas of the state will receive monthly allowances to administer their domains”.
“A perfunctory reading of the publication may suggest that the state government’s intention is altruistic and intended to strengthen the traditional institution in the state. However, before such sensitive resolutions are arrived at, it is expected that due consultation and dialogue with our revered monarch, the Oba of Benin and other relevant stakeholders of Benin ethnic extraction would be carried out.
” The strategic role of consultation is to consider valid interests, seek qualified opinions, gather insights from various sources and look at the situation from different perspectives of all in a concerted effort to reach a harmonious agreement.
” Unfortunately, from our findings, no form of deliberation or dialogue was initiated with the aforementioned parties before the government zeroed on this infamous verdict.
” Stemming from this, Ogbakha-Edo has reached the informed conclusion that if the state government presses ahead with its plan without initially executing this vital step, it has the consequence of completely eroding the traditional structure and cohesion of Edo South as epitomized and symbolized by the Benin Monarchy and the Chieftaincy institution among others.
“No Benin person worthy of being called a Benin can standby and allow such monumental desecration of our revered traditional institution. This is our heritage and it is priceless to us!
“In view of the foregoing, Ogbakha-Edo wishes to put on record thus:
1. The Benin Kingdom is of very ancient origin dating back to the millennia, with the Oba of Benin as its ONLY traditional ruler, cultural pride and relevance in the larger contemporary society of Nigeria.
2. Due to the incidence of colonialism and subsequent creation of local government areas, the Benin Kingdom now comprises the seven local government areas constituting Edo South Senatorial District, which local government areas are listed above.
3. Despite the creation of the said seven local government areas, the Oba of Benin remains the ONLY traditional ruler in all the seven local government areas comprising Edo South Senatorial District.
4. The Oba of Benin exercises his traditional ruler-ship across all the seven local government areas by himself and through chiefs appointed by him.
5. There are different categories of chiefs appointed by the Oba of Benin, with the Enigie being one of the categories.
6. The Enigie are appointed by the Oba of Benin as his representatives in the various towns and communities where they function across each of the seven local government areas in Edo South Senatorial District.
7. The Benin Traditional Council (BTC) is the competent traditional body through which the Oba of Benin exercises his power and authority throughout the Benin Kingdom.
8. The chiefs of Benin Kingdom (including the Enigie) are all under the power and authority of the Oba, and the competence of the BTC. The chiefs cannot be constituted into any separate traditional council in the seven local government areas of Edo South, by whatever name called.
9. The decision of the Edo State Government to create traditional councils in each local government area in Edo South amounts to constituting parallel traditional councils to compete with and function side by side with the existing Benin Traditional Council when the Oba of Benin is the ONLY traditional ruler in the whole Edo South Senatorial District, and therefore the ONLY traditional ruler in Oredo, Egor, Ikpoba-Okha, Ovia South West, Ovia North East, Uhunmwonde and Orhionmwon local government areas.
10. Even from the publication of the state government, there is an obvious admission, albeit unintended, that a traditional council can only be established in a local government with a traditional ruler. Since the Oba of Benin is the ONLY traditional ruler in the each of the local government areas of Edo South, it is incongruous for the Edo State Government to insist on its plan to establish new traditional councils in Edo South to co-exist with the existing Benin Traditional Council.
11. The often cited section 45 of the Local Government and Chiefs Edict, 1979 which appears to be the sole provision upon which the Edo State Government purports to act, does not envisage establishment of traditional councils in the local government areas comprising Edo South Senatorial District. Instead, the section relates only to other senatorial districts of the state where there are more than one traditional rulers in the local government areas within those senatorial districts.
“In view of the above, Oghakha-Edo hereby calls on the Edo State Government to reverse its decision as it affects Edo South Senatorial District, since there is only ONE traditional ruler in all the seven local government areas within the District, and that is the Oba of Benin. Instead, the government should make deliberate attempt to engage in wide spread consultation that will produce far reaching and generally acceptable outcomes for the betterment of the great kingdom of Benin and her people.
“The state government does not need to await the outcome of any judicial process to reverse itself. As a government manned by human beings who can be given to error, there is nothing shameful for the Edo State Government to concede that in this particular instance, an innocent mistake has been made to include the local government areas in Edo South within the purview of the decision.
“Ogbakha-Edo is convinced that it is only by reversing itself that the Edo State Government can demonstrate candour and manifest its desire for the sustenance of peace and tranquility in Edo South Senatorial District and across the state, while maintaining respect for our revered traditional institution.
Long live the Benin Monarchy!
Long Live the Benin Kingdom!
Long Live Edo State!
Professor Sam Guobadia, Ph.D, FICA, FIPMD