Lai Mohammed announces the expected repatriation of stolen Benin artifacts from Germany and the United Kingdom following successful negotiations between both governments and representatives of the Benin Palace (2021).

Oba Ewuare ll proclaimed the dreams and designs of a Benin Royal Museum opposite the Palace by his father Oba Erediauwa of blessed memory with Governor Godwin Obaseki in agreement (2021).

Governor Godwin Obaseki secretly registered Legacy Restoration Trust with an Igbo man as BoT Chairman to amongst others coordinate the return and supervise the use of the repatriated Benin artifacts at a different location determined and being built by Obaseki as Edo Museum of West Africa Arts (EMOWAA) or Museum of West Africa Arts (MOWAA). This is the former site of the Benin Central Hospital now demolished (2022).

Oba Ewuare ll frowned at Obaseki’s attempt to usurp the Benin Palace and he is quoted below;

BBC report:
“We were never a party to this concept of LRT, or any other privately constituted group formed in Nigeria to negotiate the return of our artifacts. It is baffling to discover that such a group was incorporated in Nigeria without the knowledge or representation of the Royal Court of Benin” – Oba Ewuare Il (2022).

Obaseki fights back by sealing off the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre proposed by the Oba to temporarily warehouse the Benin artifacts before the completion of the Benin Royal Museum. The center is now a shadow of itself with overgrown bushes and trees (2022).

Obaseki takes a second step by instructing the Ministry of Lands not to approve any design for the Benin Royal Museum or any other such building at the proposed site of the Benin Royal Museum (2022).

Obaseki meets with selected Enigie in Edo South in government house led by Prof. Greg Akenzua of Evbuobanosa to agree on the mode of implementation of the 1979 Edict (Traditional Rulers and Chieftaincy Law). By Obaseki and Prof. Gregory Akenzua’s interpretation, the law grants independence to the Enigie from the Oba of Benin in the 7 Local Government Areas of Edo South. Their allocation hitherto tied to the palace is now withdrawn from the Oba of Benin and paid to them directly by the Edo State Government (2023).

Obaseki takes financial action against Benin Palace. Withholds monthly allocation and pays directly to Enigie (Dukes) marking Enigie’s financial autonomy from the Oba of Benin since inception of the kingdom. Edo State Government confided in the Enigie that they are now under the State Government and not the Oba of Benin. So, they can only be enthroned or dethroned by the Governor (2023).

Oba Ewuare Il reprimands Enogie of Evbuobanosa Prof. Gregory Akenzua and Enogie of Egbaen Mr. Edomwonyi Iduozee for leading government orchestrated rebellion against the Benin Palace. The Enigie took Oba of Benin to court for suspending them. They argue that not the Oba, but only Obaseki as Governor can suspend them. Obaseki supports their position (2024).

Edo indigenes worldwide, residents, and admirers across the world stood for the defense of the ancient monarchy. They are standing against the balkanization of the kingdom for Obaseki’s historical, political, and financial interests. The people are standing collectively to resist the dastardly assault on the kingdom (2024).

With all fingers pointing directly at Obaseki, he suddenly realizes that the election is a few months away and such a revolt will cut him and his Lagos-imported partner off from the government. This will mean a total loss of the battle with the palace, investment in EMOWAA, and political relevance. So, Obaseki takes a tactical retreat with cowardly public denials (2024)

Obaseki visits Prof. Greg Akenzua and other anti-Oba Enigie. Affirm himself as the ultimate judge over the kingdom, promising to listen to all sides to resolve their grievances. Obaseki promises to investigate and prosecute a matter that involves him as the initiator-in-chief and principal executioner. But he is only worried that politicians won’t let him breathe, particularly with the election just a few months away.

To be continued


By osibanews

Eliel Otote A is an Actor and Filmmaker, with a bias for journalism. He was a freelance feature writer with the Nigerian Observer in the 80's in Benin City, he also presented programmes on both radio and television. Eliel is the Editor and Publisher of OSIBAnews Network Magazine, of which this blog is an affiliate.

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