Oba of Benin

Oba of Benin and Obaseki’s Cultural Conflicts Resonate In Germany As Group Protests

 

Oba of Benin and Obaseki’s cultural conflict goes across the Atlantic

OpenLife Nigeria reports that the unending cultural face-off between the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare 11 and the governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, over the receivership of proposed return of artifacts stolen many years ago by invading Europeans, has resonated in Berlin, Germany.
A group, known as African Ancestral Spiritual Ministry (Great Queen Idia Eyes) has planned a protest rally against the actions of governor Obaseki in Berlin, Germany on Saturday, July 10.
The group says the move by governor Obaseki to constitute a body, charged with the responsibility of receiving and warehousing the stolen artifacts, upon return from European countries, is a wrong step that must be corrected immediately.
They reckon that tradition demands that such treasures must be in the custody of Oba Ewuare 11, who, on his own, has mapped out plans for a museum with the Palace.
The group, in a notice of action “organized” by Dr Oguname, has urged “All true sons and daughters of Benin kingdom should at this event to resist the second invasion of the Benin kingdom,” stressing that on Saturday, July 10,
“All roads lead to Berlin, Germany,” for the protest rally against governor Obaseki.
The group says:
We the Members of African Ancestral Spiritual Ministry (Great Queen Idia Eye’s) hereby vehemently condemn, in the strongest terms, the illegal actions of the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki and the federal government of Nigeria in their continued effort to interfere and dictate in “Benin traditional matters, by sidelining and denying the Royal Palace of Benin and the people its rights to participate in the reparation effort of her artifacts.
Consequently, we hereby request that the German government transfer the proposed chunk of the Benin Royal Artifacts into the direct custody and supervision of the Royal Palace of Benin and the Benin traditional council.
Therefore, the Benin Royal Museum, as proposed by his Royal Majesty, remains the most viable and transparent approach in an effort to preserve the integrity of the entire process of the proposed repatriation of the artifacts.
The Benin Royal Artifacts are spiritual, traditional and cultural assets of ancient Benin heritage where His Royal Majesty, Ọmọ N’oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolor, Ọba Ewuare II, Oba of Benin, is the sole paramount ruler and custodian of Benin tradition, culture as well as the spiritual leader of Edo people.
If the artifacts are allowed to proceed from Germany and be handled via any third party other than the Royal Palace of Benin and the Benin traditional council, then this would undermine the integrity and credibility of the efforts made by the German authority to repatriate these treasures to the ancestral home.
The recent actions by Edo state government under the leadership of His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki to unveil his fictitious EMOWAA Pavilion in Benin City in collaboration with organs of the federal government of Nigeria and state-affiliated (NGOs) are not in Benin best interest.
His action is a premeditated attempt to accelerate the release of the funds by German authority for his proposed Edo Museum of West African Arts (EMOWAA) project.
Handling of these sacred treasures by the government of Edo state, the federal government of Nigeria or any other third party would potentially endanger the integrity and preservation of such highly sensitive materials with a higher possibility of the artifacts falling into the wrong hands.

We believe that the lack of transparency in this process by the government of Edo state, the federal government of Nigeria and their affiliated organizations is a cause for concern and disturbing to members of the African Ancestral Spiritual Ministry (Great Queen Idia Eyes).

The group stated further, in a signed statement by Nosa Duke Uwagboe, that its actions and interventions are based on the following reasons
{1)The Stolen Artifacts are not just Art, they carry ancient ancestral energies that are connected to the souls of all Benin people worldwide. When they are not respectfully returned to their natural owners the perfect way they should be, the spirit of our ancestors will not be happy. And because we are also our ancestors, our souls will not be satisfied.
{2)The Word “EMOWAA” is alien to Benin people and means nothing in our language.
If we are building a Museum, it should be named as Benin Royal Museum as an honour to the selfless sacrifice of our ancestors and the vastness of their knowledge in art at that point in time in human history.
{3) The lack of transparency by the Nigeria government and her representative, Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, has punctured the little trust. We are not sure of what might happen to the artifacts in their custody.
{4)It has come to the knowledge of African Ancestral Spiritual Ministry(Great Queen Idia Eyes) that “Legacy Restoration Trust” an (NGO) is linked to the executive Governor of Edo state “Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki”.
This NGO serves as a proxy to promote the interest of Governor Godwin Obaseki in matters relating to the Benin Royal Artifacts and his proposed Edo Museum of West African Arts, EMOWAA.
Prior to the registration of “Legacy Restoration Trust” by Governor Obaseki, there was no agreement with the Royal Palace of Benin, the Benin traditional council and the people to that effect
Such effort undermines the moral credibility and the shared mutual trust among the parties involved in the repatriation effort.
In light of this revelation, we kindly request the government of Germany and other international key stakeholders involved in the repatriation effort to disengage in discussion with the government of Edo state and the federal government of Nigeria on matters relating to the Benin Royal Artifacts with the proposed EMOWAA project.
It would be recalled that OpenLife earlier reported that the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare 11, through a narrative, stated that he is not in agreement with the line of actions by governor Obaseki in the creation of Edo Museum of West African Arts, EMOWAA, which would be saddled with the responsibility of receiving and managing the stolen treasures when returned by foreign countries.
The governor, on his part, has outlined the merits of his initiative, saying it is in the overall interest of the Benin Kingdom and Edo State.

 

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