The consanguineous relationship of most of the people of Edo State is copiusly reflected in their culture and tradition and their monarchic political structure. Edo citizens revere their traditional rulers. Indeed, in Benin Kingdom, the Oba is practically worshipped and regarded as god on earth. However, the emergence of constitutional government in Nigeria and the endless bid to fashion out a suitable and equitable constitutional arrangement for the country has taken its toll on traditional institutions. The interest of the hitherto independent monarchies in Nigeria have not been fairly captured within the framework of democratic configuration.
Thus, in the last fifteen years of the fourth republic, political arrivistes thrown up by the midwives of the 1999 transition have often used the traditional institutions to test their new found powers and privileges. Most of the members of the new political class were either revisionists, republicans or iconoclasts by orientation. It can hardly be controverted to state that traditional institutions have had to maintain their dignity within the carapace of stoical equanimity in the face of challenges posed by modern government.
In Edo State, it was particularly trying if not traumatic in the first eight years of the present republic. The period represent the ugliest phase in our wobbled march to democratization as it was hallmarmarked by executive irresponsibility, callousness and arrogance of power. The excesses of that government was rooted in the unflatery antecedent of the partiarch of the ruling political family in power at the time. He was said to have developed a notoriety for serial abominable acts along with his cohorts against the traditional institution including impersonation of the King in foreign lands. It is suggested in some quarters that he may have even coveted the throne of heavens! Thus, the attainment of the highest constitutional office in the State by a scion of the family was compensation of a sort. Little surprise that they ministered their demonism in more ways than one within the latittude of their legitimate powers including the denial of full entitlements. They hardly indulged or deferred to the collective symbolism of the people.
On January 24, 2017, the new Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba Ewuare II paid Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki a courtesy call in the Governor’s Office. The Oba did not mince words when he declared as follows ‘ I assure you of the support of the Palace. I assure you that you have the full support of our ancestors to be where you are’ He urged him to feel comfortable in office and to focus on his plan to turn Edo State economy around for the better. The Oba lauded the Governor for the positive actions taken so far to reposition the State including the setting up of a technical committee on Gelegele seaport headed by Engr. Greg Ero whom he described as a square peg in a square hole.
In Edoland, the Oba has a god-like religious status. He is the incarnation of all that is divine particularly, the divine ancestry of the land. He is a shephered that protects his people from evil, a judge that mediates quarrels and the lawgiver. He is by these functions the highest judicial authority and the gurantor of order. He hears and sees far beyond ordinary mortals! When the Oba breaks his silence to speak on an issue, he speaks for the Palace, his subjects, the Edos, his ancestors and the two hundred and one deities of Edoland. The authority of his solemn voice should ordinarily compel obedience of all sons and daughters of the Kingdom. Anyone who heeds not his voice as the ‘god-king’, would have to contend with him and the God of his ancestors that he represents. And indeed, he would have to contend with the people in due season!
One is certainly not unmindful of the disorientating impact of foreign cultures and acatalepsic religious docrines and teachings, which tend to emblolden adherents to defy the powers of local sacred institutions . Not many is cognisant that any change from the ancestral religion of the people amount to apostacy. Therefore, it must not be lost to anybody that apostacy in any form has conspiratorial elements that could lead to self destruct. In many cases, an apostate turns into a moral wreck who duel’s in folly and illusion, disguising, distorting and reversing the truth to suit his new faith and purpose. But in all situations and circumstances, a full blooded son of Edoland is covenanted to defering to the authority of the Oba and to heeding his innocous pro-people declarations. It is a duty that all upsprings of Edo red soil owe to the land of their birth in order to keep sancrosanct all markers and trappings of the Benin Monarchy. Oba Ewuare II has left no one in doubt that he is a progressive touch-bearer determined to collaborate with government to bring about development and prosperity to Benin Kingdom and Edo State in general.
Put in clear perspective, his support for the present administration under Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki is predicated on his convinction that he has a self motivated, creatively innovative, and superbly pragmatic apprach to issues and challenges that will stimulate the economy for greater productivity and thereby, take Edo State to the next level. When the Oba told him to feel comfortable in office as Governor, it was a clear call to everyone who truly puts the interest of the people above self,not to distract him as he places his hands firmly on the plough. The Oba has seen ahead of all, the uncommon transformation that await Benin Kingdom and Edo State in general under his stewardship. Why not? Benin Kingdom and indeed, Edo State is by providence at an unusaul juncture in history as our visionary Oba was enthroned at about the same time that an equally visionary Governor came to power. As a compassionate Oba, he interacts intimately with his people, sharing their concerns and aspirations, incorporating them in the agenda of the Palace. On the other hand, the Governor’ s exeptional organisational competence which has won him accolades in Nigerian blue-chip boardrooms, will open an avalanche of possiblities as never unleashed in these climes before.
Oba Ewuare II is the symbol of our collective aspiration as a people, particularly in Edo South. Those distracting the Governor must for once demonstrate that they truly care about alleviating the sufferrings of our people and quickly stage a retreat in deference to the agenda of the Oba. After all, service and not unbridled strugle for the resources of the people should ideally motivate an office seeker. It is time therefore, to come together in the interest of our people. The oppossition should turn back on its unproductive judicial voyage. But if they remain deaf and recalcitrant with their distractive activities, they should be reminded that those who contend with the the emissaries of the Oba, which the Governor represents at this time, contend with the extra-ordinary forces behind the throne and also, railed against the masses armada ! History is replete with the evidence that those who stubornly throd the dark alley of disloyalty of this colouration in the past ended in solitary abadonment to say the least, and only remembered on the footnote of history. A word is enough for the wise!