A renowned Benin socio-cultural group, the Bini Renaissance, has condemned Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State as ‘an enemy of the Oba’ over his alleged sponsorship of the Ogiamiens, a family infamous for its claim to the Benin throne.
For years, the Ogiamien royal family has mounted a challenge to the authority of the Oba of Benin with a public accusation that the late Oba Erediauwa connived with the military Governor of Bendel state in 1979 to ‘secretly’ repeal an edict that gave them a claim to the ancient throne.
In 2018, the family declared itself “the original owners of Benin Kingdom” and further accused the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, of conducting his coronation secretly, without their input.
Both claims, and other similar ones, have been dismissed by historians and other Benin sons and daughters who attested to the unbroken lineage of the Benin monarch and his supreme, exclusive legitimacy to occupy the throne.
Although Benin sons and daughters have distanced themselves from the Ogiamien over the frivolous claims and attempt to undermine the Oba, the Bini Renaissance group says Governor Godwin Obaseki has been secretly funding the family.
In a statement released by its spokesperson, Chief Ekhator Osawaru, the group said its suspicion of the ties between the Governor and the Ogiamien was confirmed when the family announced its endorsement of the Governor and declared him “our own.”
The statement read: “For years, in the face of condemnation, rebuke, and relentless education on the spiritual and cultural ramifications of attempting to undermine the authority of the Great Oba of Benin who stands and rules as the source of all Benin sons and daughters, the Ogiamien family persisted in their folly, even going further to imply in multiple media engagements that they are “the original owners” of the Kingdom.”
“This disrespect and abomination did not end there. In 2018, the same family, in an interview with the Guardian Newspaper, accused the late Oba Erediauwa of conniving with a military Governor to repeal an edict that would have otherwise given them a claim to the throne. It also accused Oba Ewuare II of conducting a secret coronation exercise, implying further that their unnoticed absence took something away from the legitimacy of the ceremony.”
“Of course, every true Benin son and daughter are aware of the unbroken line of Obas that have presided over the Benin Kingdom, and all in it, for decades. And they are also aware of the consequences of challenging an Oba’s authority, questioning his words, and worse, to imply in the public that the Oba told a lie or acted with malice.”
“All of these grievous offenses and abomination, the Ogiamiens have committed with impunity. They have scoffed at our source and refused to acknowledge the authority of the one who was ordained by God himself to rule over us. This is why all true Benin sons and daughters, home and way, have not only called out the Ogiamiens on their lunacy, but also distance themselves away from the family and its public dance of shame.”
“It was however shocking to see signs and trails of tacit support, both financial and otherwise, that this family started to enjoy from the Edo State Government since the emergence of Governor Godwin Obaseki in 2016.”
“Suddenly, their voice of confusion and evil royal claim grew louder and more vociferous, with prominent media features and interviews. Their masquerade dance came onto the street, but no one knew exactly what motivated the spirited steps and who the drummer was. However, time and the Edo 2020 election has unveiled the mask and revealed the identity of this secret drummer.”
“On Sunday, the 23rd of August, the Ogiamien family, led by Professor Tony Ogiamien, took a full-page advert on Vanguard newspaper, declaring their unflinching support for Governor Godwin Obaseki, and told everyone that “On Obaseki We Stand.”
“It leaves no doubt that having received the support and backing of Governor Godwin Obaseki, this family has now come out to repay him with an endorsement, with hopes that if he wins, he would continue to bankroll their deeply insulting and abominable claim to the throne of our King.”
“Anyone who is of the Ogiamien is not our own. We wish to make it clear to all that Governor Godwin Obaseki has sided with the enemy of the Oba – and is now also considered as such. His other infractions, including presenting himself before our revered monarch with a cap on and seeking his blessings without the required Kola and gin, all but reveal that this Governor, like the Ogiamien, has no respect or regard for the throne.”
“Perhaps Godwin Obaseki is plotting to repeat the evil deeds of his grandfather, Agho Obaseki, to the Palace by conniving with strangers to steal the throne. We wish to declare to him and his co-travelers that never will this happen.”
“Godwin Obaseki has been rejected and we have already begun the sensitization and mobilization of all Benin sons and daughters to ensure that this reprobate is sacked from office and his abomination permanently purged from the Kingdom.”