While Professor Omo Omoruyi has described most traditional rulers in Nigeria as (AGIP) glorified Agents of the Government in Power, he made a few exemptions to his sweeping statement and rightly so because he is from Benin and he knows his people.
The exemptions include The Oba of Benin, the Sultan of Sokoto, the Emir of Kano and the Awujale of Ijebu Ode to mention a few.
My emphasis in this article is on Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Ewuare the Second who has maintained a rock-solid integrity and reputation of his own father Solomon Akenzua as Oba Erediauwa of Benin and his grandfather Oba Akenzua and his great great grandfather Oba Eweka.
Tha Oba of Benin is not taken lightly at all by any politician however powerful in Edo State.
The current Oba knew that for a fact. Benin Obas don’t fool around with politicians because they respect themselves.
I recall Oba Erediauwa keeping President Goodluck Jonathan waiting in his Visitors Lounge in his Palace for 2 hours and when the Ogiso finally appeared, he came to tell the President in no unmistakable terms that his candidate in that election circle was then Governor Oshiomhole because the Governor had performed very well according to the Oba.
The Cliche “Oba a gha t’okpere” “Long live the King” in Edo Language is as important and compelling as “God save the Queen” in the UK.
The British value their Monarchy. They would climb down hard on anybody who disrespects their Queen or King.
Rude and crazy Donald Trump got a little taste of that when he defied royal protocols by keeping Her Royal Majesty waiting for him for 10 minutes and by walking in front of the Queen during his official visit to the Buckingham Palace.
When the Oba of Benin speaks his words carry the force of Law and Power till tomorrow in Benin.
That is the way it is .
The Edos don’t joke with their tradition and culture but more so with their “Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Ogiso Otolu “
The Obaseki family has had a long feud with the Benin Throne since 1897 when Obaseki was chosen as a warrant chief to deputize or hold the fort for Oba Overamen Nogbasi following his exile to Calabar by the British and in the interval between the death of Oba Overamen and the time his Edaiken Eweka was finally crowned the Oba of Benin.
The Obaseki I am taking about had toyed with the idea of being confirmed as the substantive Oba of Benin but the Edo people would not allow him to disecrate their cherished tradition and culture like that because they had told the British Authorities that the Oba of Benin was born to be King and never selected like is done in other towns. The Oba of Benin is always the first son of a reigning Oba of Benin and nobody competes with him like is done elsewhere in Nigeria.
Those who value History would instinctively know that for a fact like I do.
The feud might have been part of what has played out in front of the Oba’s Palace when the entourage of Governor Obaseki was attacked recently. The Oba of Benin is above board like Caesar’s wife. No politician however powerful is allowed to disrespect the powerful Oba.
Not even Chief Igbenedion for all his wealth has the temerity to want to disrespect “Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, O ro pupa bi Odide”
Well, what do I know? I am only an Akure Historian and I view everything from the lense of a Historian and a Prince of the Adesida Royal Dynasty of Akure and a former General Secretary of the only Asodeboyede Ruling House of Akure before it was broken into two in 1991 by Navy Captain Sunday Olukoya as Military Governor of Ondo State.
I rest my case.
Dr. Wumi Akintide.
New York, New York.