THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE OBA EWUARE II ROYAL MUSEUM, A CONDITION FOR RETURNING THE STOLEN ARTEFACTS BY THE EUROPEANS.
There have been so much talks, controversies and misconception about the Museum to accommodate the proposed return of the stolen Benin artefacts by the Europeans.
Being the former Chief Press Secretary to His Royal Majesty Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, I decided to write this article which I believe would help educate all concern about the true state of affairs.
First, the stolen Benin artefacts belongs to the Oba of Benin. They were accommodated in the Oba Palace where it was carted away by the European imperialists who invaded and destroyed the then Oba Palace during the British Punitive expedition of 1897.
The stolen artefacts were symbol of Benin cultural, traditional, religious and spiritual heritage. It also represents the past Oba of Benin who reign at different era, including some queen mothers like Idia N’Iyesigie whose bronze head was used as the symbol of FESTAC 77, Queen Emotan among others.
On October 20, 2016 in his coronation speech, Oba Ewuare II among others promised to restore the lost glories of Benin culture and tradition.
In 2016 Governor Godwin Obaseki was not a governor, but the chairman of the state economic team under Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
Since then His Royal Majesty Ewuare II have at different times appealed to foreign diplomatic missions in Nigeria to help facilitate the return of stolen Benin artefacts in their respective countries.
The Omo N’Oba never fails to mention it at every opportunity at his disposal, especially when such Envoy or Diplomat visit him at his palace in Benin City.
The Oba of Benin also appealed to individuals, governments, groups and organisations to help in persuading the Europeans on the need to return the artefacts to its original owner.
When the campaign for the return of the artefacts began to gain momentum, the issue of where it will be kept came up.
It was the major concern of the Europeans in custody of the artefacts. It was then that the Benin Monarch, HRM Ewuare II conceived the idea to build a Benin Royal Museum of international standard to accommodate the artefacts when they are finally returned.
Oba Ewuare II also conceived the idea to establish a foundry in Benin City where interested person could learn the act of bronze casting, wood carving, weaving and other form of arts.
According to the Oba of Benin, the idea was to equip the proposed Benin Royal Museum with both ancient and modern art works, so that the Museum will be a world class tourist destination, which will help boost the state economy, create jobs and employment for the people.
The Benin throne is not political and it exist forever.
Consequently, anything it establishes last for a long time, if not forever. However, whoever is the governor of Edo State has only four years or eight years tenure.
The only thing that can outlive the governor is the legacies he left behind in the form of infrastructure or projects he executed while in office. Frankly speaking and according to the Benin tradition, any governor is a subject of the Oba of Benin.
In this present circumstances both Governor Godwin Obaseki and whatever he has or establish belongs to the Benin Monarch in so far as it is within the Benin Kingdom and established on the Benin soil. This is so because “Oba yanto yasevbuebo” Oba owes the land.
Viewed differently, if a man sees a snake and a woman kills the snake, what is important is that the snake did not escape, but was eventually killed.
Similarly, if the Benin Monarch conceived an idea and his subjects assist in actualizing the idea, it doesn’t matter at all. Indeed, “Eguae vuon Oba ghogho yi”.
Such achievement will be to the glory of God and the ancestors.
The honour will be to the Benin Monarch who muted the idea and whose reign the Museum was constructed.
Possibly, the Museum could be named “Oba Ewuare II Royal Museum” in honour if his name.
Having said that, I think those of us writing inciting and provocative comments in the various media are getting it wrong.
If Governor Obaseki has made any mistake or taken any wrong step he should be corrected but not in the matter to amount to washing our dirty linen in the public domain of the media. It can be resolved by our revered Royal Father, the Oba of Benin.
I want to appeal to all concern to cease fire and should not allow the issue of the Museum cause division, ill-will and disaffection among us, so that we do not portray ourselves in negative light before the Europeans who are willing to return the stolen artefacts.
If we over react because of primordial sentiments and parochialism, we may be perceived by the international community, especially those in custody of our stolen artefacts as not serious or ready to receive the artefacts.
Besides, the Europeans are only willing and ready to return the artefacts when they are fully convinced that there is a befitting Museum to accommodate them. This is because the artefacts are treasure highly cherished by them, which they have kept over the years with utmost care.
The importance and aesthetics value they attached to it is immeasurable.
It is my candid opinion that the state government should collaborate with the Oba Palace to decide and plan where the Museum will be established, thereafter the contract for the design and execution should be awarded.
Governor Obaseki is in position right now to take the lead and help mobilise funds for the successful execution of the project.
Other well-meaning Sons and Daughters of Benin Kingdom at home and diaspora could be reached to contribute their quota towards the project.
The Palace would no doubt welcome and appreciate such moves.
The Museum project should not be politicized for any reason, as it is capable of working against the lofty idea of our revered Monarch.
It is very important to note that the Europeans are watching and waiting to see our commitment towards receiving the stolen artefacts.
The construction of the Oba Ewuare II Royal Museum is a condition for returning the artefacts, therefore all hands must be on deck to ensure its full realization soonest.
@views exclusive rights: Desmond Agbama, Former Chief Press Secretary to Oba Ewuare II, also Former Edo State Chapter Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, June 30, 2021.
- Mohbad Brought In Dead After Nurse Gave Him Injections At Home – Perez HospitalAuthority of Perez Medcare Hospital in Lagos State has issued a press statement stating that the Nigerian upcoming artiste, Ilerioluwa … Read more
- Troops Discover Gun Manufacturing Factory In KadunaMen of the Nigerian Army has discovered a factory where guns are being manufactured in Kaduna State. The Nigerian Army … Read more
- BRA Claims Responsibility For 8 Soldiers, Other Operatives Killed In ImoFirst time since secessionist gun battle began in the southeastern states of Nigeria in 2021, a group who identified themselves … Read more
- Mohbad’s Spirit Is Strong, I Find It Hard To Sleep – DavidoNigeria born international music star, David Adeleke well known as Davido has said he can’t sleep easily since the death … Read more
- Whenever A President Or Governor Is Present, Royal Father Must Stand Up To Honour Authority – ObasanjoFormer Nigeria President, Olusegun Obasanjo is no doubt currently trending on social media over a video of him posted online … Read more