By Lucky Ogbebor
Edo State Government has reacted furiously to the planned coronation of an Ijaw man as a traditional ruler in Benin land in Edo State.
The Edo State government in a terse press statement endorsed by the secretary to the state government described as egregiously abominable, sacrilegious and criminal, the planned coronation of the Godwin Oguyenbo as the “Pere of Olodiama Kingdom”, in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.
Reacting to an advertisement on page 22 of the Vanguard Newspaper of Tuesday, November 14, 2017, which contains a congratulatory message to one Godwin Oguyenbo, Alagbabenafa, Agadagba, “Pere of Olodiama Kingdom” in Edo State, the Secretary to the Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq. said “the pronouncement constitutes an unprecedented affront to the long settled culture, traditions and norms of our people”.
He explained that “Government is of the view that the claim of such a non-existent title in a non-existent community under any guise is a clear and pre-mediated breach of our laws particularly the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law of Edo State which said Law sets out the list of all recognized Traditional Rulers and Chiefs in Edo State.
Ogie stressed that “the said law further makes it a criminal offence for any person to recognize or purport to install any person as a Traditional Ruler except as provided for under the law and in fact makes it an offence for any unqualified person to present or permit to be so address”.
The Edo State SSG, maintained that the State government is of the view that “this act is intended to precipitate strife and contestation leading inevitably to the breakdown of Law and Order in our dear State”.
He said in the light of the foregoing, Governor Godwin Obaseki has issued clear directives to the Law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies to take all steps to immediately abort the proposed or purported coronation anywhere within Edo State on the date proposed or any other date whatsoever.
He also said that the governor has directed law enforcement agencies to effect the immediate arrest and prosecution of all persons involved in the said coronation either as beneficiary, participant or sponsor, to the full extent of all extant laws, as the government and people of Edo State have always projected a peaceful and welcoming disposition to all persons living within its boundaries.
“Edo State Government will not tolerate actions and pronouncements which seek to abuse the hospitality which our land offers. Let it be clearly noted that this Government will take all necessary steps to preserve our peace, enforce our laws and defend our revered institutions. All those who intend to test the resolve of actual and potential breaches of the peace to the nearest Law Enforcement Agencies” Ogie said.
Meanwhile, the Benin Traditional Council (BTC), on the orders of the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II, also reacted angrily to the planned move to create another kingdom within the Benin Kingdom.
The traditional Prime Minister of Benin Kingdom, Iyase, Chief Sam Igbe, supported by tens of high chiefs and traditional rulers in Benin at a news conference at the Oba palace on Tuesday, said the Ijaws were biting more than they could chew.
“We want to state categorically that Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State is under the authority of the Oba of Benin, who is the prescribed authority. We only have one Monarch in the who of Edo South senatorial district, that is the Oba.
“The title” Pere of Olodiama kingdom “does not exist Gelegele is under the overlordship of the Oba of Benin and there cannot be two Monarchs in Benin.
“Any attempt to lay claim to non-existent title and community or village under any guise would be totally resisted.
“Enough is enough. The Ijaws must know that there will be painful repercussions for fomenting troubles with the Benin people. If they are tired of living with us peacefully, they should leave us in peace” the BTC warned.