The end may not be in sight, going by the latest exclusive information available to Midwest Herald on the agitation by some Enigies or Dukes from the Benin speaking Seven local government areas of Edo State.
It will be recalled that Midwest Herald had exclusively reported the brewing trouble in our lead story on December 27, 2022. Trouble started when about 82 out of 96 Enigies drawn from Edo South wrote an appeal letter to Governor Godwin Obaseki in November 2022, and demanded for the constitution of Traditional Council for Local Government Areas.
In reaction to their demand, some Enegies responded by pledging their loyalty to the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II. The Benin Palace also followed and sacked the Enogie of Egbaen, Edomwonyi Iduoze.
The palace response was contained in a press statement.
“This is to inform the general public that the Royal Highness, Edomwonyi Iduoze Ogiegbaen Enogie of Egbaen Siluko, has been removed as coordinator to the palace on Enigie matters in Benin Kingdom.
“His removal takes immediate effect.” The palace wrote.
The agitators seems to be irked by the mixed responses that have greeted their what they term “patriotic developmental steps.”
Responding to Midwest Herald’s question, one of the Enigies volunteered a defense for his group. He blaimed the wrong interpretation that has been given to the “innocuous” letter, which he said is the handiwork of mischief makers, seeking to play on the sensibilities of the revered Monarch.
In his words, the “…news making the rounds on social media and other news platforms suggest that it is the wish of the vast majority of the Enigie in Benin Kingdom to secede, break away or otherwise assert their Independence from the over Lordship of the Oba of Benin.
“This wish is said to have been contained in a recent letter to the Governor of Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki.
“A calm reading of the letter shows nothing of the sort. The interpretation being given to the innocuous letter is the handiwork of mischief makers, seeking to play on the sensibilities of the revered Monarch.
“In the letter dated 11th November, 2022, the Enigie of Edo South are simply asking Mr. Governor to exercise powers conferred on him by Section 47 of the Traditional and Chiefs Law of Edo State (1979) to create Local Traditional Councils in the 7 Local Government Areas of Edo South, as a legal platform for their collaboration with Local Government Councils.
“This is a privilege already enjoyed for years by Traditional Rulers in Edo North and Edo Central.
“Many persons have often wondered in the past why other than Benin City, there is hardly any other modern city in any other part of Edo South; why rather, what seems to exist are glorified villages?
“As recognized in law and captured in the letter, the Enigie wrote to the Governor, Traditional Rulers working in tandem with Local Government Area Chairmen can contribute immensely to the development of the Rural Area of Edo State, in the maintenance of law, order and security.
“After all, some of the Enigie are accomplished professionals who have distinguished themselves in various fields.
“Rather than detract from the authority of the Oba of Benin, this progressive and forward working development will enhance the prestige of the Traditional Institution as whole, over which the Oba Benin sits as the permanent Chairman Statewide.
“Those who are sowing the seeds of apprehension in high quarters should have a rethink, as no panic measures are called for.
“All hands ought to be on deck at this time to take our Edo State to greater heights.
He therefore pleaded for the understanding of the palace and every Benin man and woman to look beyond personal interpretation of the move to bring equilibrium development through traditional representation in Edo State.