Ben Peters, Abuja
THE Edo Diaspora Committee has described as criminal and an attempt to rubbish the Benin Traditional Council, the statement by Governor Godwin Obaseki that traditional rulers in the state will recieve their monthly salaries being part of the implementation of the 1979 Law on Local Government Administration in Edo State.
The state government through a statement signed by the Secretary to the state government, Osarodion Ogie had promised to pay traditional rulers in the state their salaries and allowance with a view to ensuring the smooth running of the traditional institution in the state.
But reacting through a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of the group, Dr Edwin Obabaifo, carpeted the state government, saying the statement was part of the attempts by the Governor to create caliphates in the state with a view to balkanizing the Benin Traditional institution.
According to the statement, “Having carefully gone through the said document by the state government, the content of which was given wide publication, we hereby state our position(s):
” We are of the strong view that whatever good or noble its intention, the motive is highly suspect, timing awkward, and above all, a slight on the Benin ethnic race, which is most homogeneous in Edo State in general and, Edo South Senatorial District in particular.
“The Benin Kingdom which is made up of the seven Local Government Councils, has only one divine throne and one traditional ruler in the person of HIS ROYAL MAJESTY, OMO N’OBA N’EDO, UKU AKPOLOKPOLO, EWUARE II, CFR, OBA OF BENIN.
” We consider this move by Governor Godwin Obaseki led administration as distasteful and utterly disrespectful, and strongly advise it be withdrawn.
“The general public should note that the idea to create traditional councils in Benin Kingdom, for their selfish and dastardly interest, was only muted by few disgruntled Enigie led by Edomwonyi Iduozee Ogiegbaen of Egbaen village and Professor Gregory Akenzua of Evbuobanosa village.
“This two Enigie deceived other Enigie to append their signatures to a letter which the two Enigie already crafted and the content of the letter was never made known to the others. The letter was sent to the Governor requesting him to activate the 1979 law by creating traditional councils in Benin Kingdom that is in Edo South Senatorial District of Edo State and make them independent of the Benin throne and at equal status with the Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, CFR, OBA OF BENIN.
“Out of the eighty-five (85) Enigie that signed that obnoxious letter, sixty-four(64) of them has come out to denounce it, reiterate their opposition to creation of traditional councils in Benin Kingdom and pledged loyalty to the one and only divine and recognised THRONE in Benin Kingdom, which is the Oba of Benin.
“The Benin Chiefs led by the Iyase, has also written to the Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki, to register and make it emphatically clear that they are opposed to the balkanization of Benin Kingdom and, proliferation of traditional rulership by creating any traditional council in Benin Kingdom.
“The predecessors of Governor Godwin Obaseki that created BENIN TRADITIONAL COUNCIL for Benin Kingdom, understood the supremacy of the Oba of Benin on the Benin ethnic race, sanctity and homogeneity. The Governor should reason along this line.
” May be as good as the policy may appear, we wonder how Governor Obaseki will be giving monthly allowances to every traditional ruler in Edo State, when he is presently withholding over Six hundred million Naira (N600,000,000) which is in the over seven months Federal allocation that is legally due to Benin Traditional Council. This statement by Governor Godwin Obaseki is just another of his several antics usually deployed by the governor in his dealings with the Palace, politicians, and the masses of Edo state.
“If the Governor Obaseki’s led administration has good intention to be paying allowances to all traditional rulers in Edo State, must he create traditional councils before he can pay them? Why did he not direct the eighteen (18) Local Government Councils in Edo State to begin paying allowances to every traditional ruler in the local governments?
“And of course he is very much aware that local government councils make budget provisions for cultural purposes.
” Does His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki not aware that the traditional councils he is creating with ulterior motive, will have selected traditional rulers as members that would be receiving stipend? How does this translate to allowance for all the traditional rulers?
“There was never any controversy over the status and position of the Oba of Benin, as the Permanent Chairman of the Edo State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs and also Permanent Chairman of the Benin Traditional Council.
” We not only recall the sad and ugly incidence of the stiff opposition of Governor Obaseki to the proposed place of domicile for returning stolen Benin artefacts from around the world, to the Oba of Benin. A federal government gazette which placed ownership, custody and maintenance of the artefacts on the Oba of Benin, was a landmark victory for which Governor Godwin Obaseki is trying to revenge and avenge by making every sinister move to disrespect the Oba of Benin, and the Benin culture, customs and, traditions.
“We advise Governor Godwin Obaseki to desist from further slighting the office of our most revered monarch and foremost traditional ruler.
He should focus on infrastructural development and politics. He should stay off traditional administrations.
” We therefore urge Governor Godwin Obaseki, to be more decorous in his dealings with the Palace, including refraining from such needless embarrassment cloaked in the Monthly Allowance announcement. We consider such announcement as red herring and utterly embarrassing” it stated.