Within the short span of two years, Oba Ewuare II, like his forebear, Oba Ewuare the Great, has changed the face of the traditional institution in Nigeria
Oba Ewuare II (N’ Ogidigan), Uku Apkolokpolo, the 40th Oba of Benin, is the scion of Oba Ewuare the Great (1440-1473), who reigned after Oba Uwafiokun (1443-1473) and was succeeded by Oba Ezoti (1473-1475). Ewuare the Great it was who developed the Edaiken title for the eldest son of the Oba, to stamp succession authority in the royal lineage. A warrior par excellence who built city walls, moats and boulevards within Benin City and led his army to conquer many cities and towns, up to Owo and the Niger Delta area, Ewuare the Great no doubt reincarnated in the present Oba of Benin, Ewuare II. The handsome quintessential diplomat illuminated the dark crevices of locked diplomatic channels during and after the military years, as Nigerian envoy to Angola, Italy (with concurrent accreditation to Albania), the kingdom of Sweden (with concurrent accreditation to the Scandinavian countries of the Republic of Finland and the kingdom of Denmark and Norway). Since his ascension to the throne of his forefathers two years ago, Oba Ewuare II has achieved so much within a very short time on the throne. He is development-conscious for his people.
He has since strongly called for the repatriation of all Benin artefacts carted away during the mindless and punitive British expedition and invasion of Benin Kingdom in 1897. He has implored the federal government to have more federal presence in Edo State. He has called upon Edo State government to introduce Benin language and history in the curriculum of schools. Using what he coined “cultural diplomacy,” Oba Ewuare called for cultural renaissance as a great tool to promote harmonious relationships, respect traditional institutions, unify the people and resolve communal and individual disputes through the principles of social justice and equity.
Disbandment Of CDAs
One of his earliest actions on being crowned on October 20, 2016, was to order the immediate disbandment of the notorious and parasitic community development associations (CDAs), a platform used by unemployed youths in virtually all the communities within Benin Kingdom to perpetrate heinous crimes. Potential investors were serially chased out with machetes, clubs and guns whenever they refused to pay huge sums of extortionist money to them. Private homes and property developers were not spared this anguish and nightmare. The Oba immediately set up a committee of intellectuals, professionals, security gurus and chiefs to map out a road map towards eliminating this anti-development menace. Yours sincerely was privileged to be part of this historic platform. The result was the Oba’s forging of a close alliance with the Edo State executive and legislative arms of government to promulgate a law criminalising and outlawing CDAs and their ill-wind deleterious effects.
Today, Edo State, especially the Benin Kingdom axis, is seen by investors that troop in as a safe haven for investment. In spite of this, His Royal Majesty, during his thank-you visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Villa, emphasised the strengthening of security in Edo State and the dire need of infrastructural development in the state.
Advocacy for Gelegele seaport development
One project quite dear to the heart of the Oba, who has since modernised the royal palace and vicinity, is the Gelegele seaport. He implored President Buhari to help develop it to open up the state to commerce and industry.
Perhaps the most ambitious project so far embarked upon by the Oba, and indeed any royal father anywhere in the world, is the proposed satellite town to be established at Ugoneki, in the Uhunmwonde LGA of Edo State, along the Benin-Agbor road. The proposed town, to be known as “Oba Ewuare II Satellite Town”, is to be self-sufficient, with sundry basic amenities of life and 24-hour security and power supply.
Oba Ewuare II Foundation
His focus on development led him to set up the Oba Ewuare II Foundation, which, in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), has since organised skills acquisition programmes, training over 50 youths, including returnees from Lybia. The foundation is geared towards eradicating poverty among youths and the most vulnerable of the society. It is to halt social vices, illegal
migration and human trafficking of Edo indigenes to foreign countries in the vain hope of finding greener pastures; and to provide empowerment through scholarships, skills acquisition and total liberation and re-orientation of the “get-rich-quick” mentality of the new generation.
The foundation seeks to develop Edo language and provide free feeding for the needy, with over 1,000 already fed. The revered Oba has even placed many Libya returnees on salary. He retired into the sacred realm of his ancestral abode, came out and placed a curse on human traffickers who prey on young, vulnerable and innocent ladies, with the words, “our gods will destroy you.” He even cursed native doctors who administer oath of secrecy on unsuspecting victims.
All hail a royal touch
Thus, within the short span of two years, Oba Ewuare II, like his forebear, Oba Ewuare the Great, has changed the face of the traditional institution in Nigeria, striving for development and modernism, even as he jealously guards our prime culture, customs and traditions.
Oba gha to kpere, isee.
Atiku vs Buhari: The battle to liberate Nigeria has earnestly begun (3)
How Atiku can easily beat Buhari
Atiku and Buhari are both Muslims and full-blooded Fulani. While Buhari hails from Daura, Katsina State, in the North-West geopolitical zone, Atiku has his roots in Jada town of Adamawa State (North-East). So, the main choice staring Nigerians in the face (forget that there are smaller parties, they cannot go far in this deep-pocket, heavy political structures business), is between two northern Fulani Muslims. But, while Buhari is a provincial, sectional, clannish fundamentalist and unrepentant nepotist who views Nigeria solely from the blurred binoculars of a northern hegemonist and supremacist, Akitu is suave, cosmopolitan, cultivated, cultured, urbane, polished, refined, sophisticated and gregarious. With Igbo, Fulani, Hausa and Yoruba wives in his homestead, Atiku easily comes across as the archetypal Nigerian who does not discriminate against people on the basis of their gender, place of origin, language, culture, religion or station in life. He is as much at home with the Benin man as he is with the Ogoni woman, the Ijaw youth, the Nupe farmer, the Annang fisherman, or the Etsako hunter. Atiku would readily hug and play with the Kanuri peasant, the Yoruba musician, the Igbo trader, or the Hausa gateman. He is at home with the high and mighty, as much as with the hoi polloi talakawas. Such is the oxymoron that governs Atiku’s political space.
Nigerians see Atiku as bringing in some fresh oxygen into a fouled and polluted environment oozing with leprous economic and political putrefaction. Some people have argued that Atiku is corrupt. Yet, there is no scintilla of proof. But, as the most investigated politician in Nigeria (from OBJ, whose third term bid he helped kill in 2006 with other committed Nigerians like my humble self, at the Niger State Government House in Abuja), to the
present vindictive government of Buhari, using its now discredited attack dog, the compromised EFCC, nothing incriminating has been found against the Waziri of Adamawa. They would have roasted him alive, nay, savagely skinned him alive. Some have also argued that, in any case, on an imaginary scale of preference, Buhari’s nepotism, cronyism and ethnocentrism in appointments constitute the worst form of corruption, more cancerous than larceny of public funds, since same amount to serial violation of sections 14(2) (3), (5) of the 1999 Constitution, for which he should even be impeached under section 143 (11).
When some people argued that Atiku cannot travel to the US because of the alleged Halliburton and Siemens scandals, other Nigerians countered and dismissed this with a wave of the hand, arguing that they would even prefer a President who would stay at home and work with them in Nigeria, to “someone who already knows the routes to all the countries like a pilot”; or someone described by no-holds-barred, talkative US President Donald Trump as “lifeless”.
Nigerians have argued that the corruption tag on Atiku is merely to give a dog a bad name so as to hang it, because, in 2007, minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who was Atiku’s then presidential campaign spokesperson in the ACN of 2007, had said Atiku was not corrupt. Ditto Abike Dabiri, who served as MC at the ACN convention for the ratification of Atiku’s presidential candidature in 2007. ACN later joined CPC, ANPP, fragments of PDP (nPDP) and APGA, to form the present APC. Atiku has not held any further public position since 2007. If Atiku was considered clean and saintly enough in 2014 to attract the ACN, CPC, ANPP and APGA bigwigs to his Abuja home, pleading that he joined the then amorphous and inchoate collection of strange bedfellows (which it still is today as APC), what has changed?
Focus vs desperation
The Buharideens are desperate to throw mud at Atiku, because they have nothing to showcase in three and half years of clueless governance, by way of achievements. The Atiku camp would be playing into their hands by agreeing to this genre of “rofo-rofo” fight. When a mad person snatches your loin cloth in the bathroom while taking your bath, you don’t go out pursuing the deranged man. He would be too glad to be thus engaged. The reason is simple. The public will not be able to differentiate between who, among the two running naked persons, is actually the insane person.
The first strategy for the Atiku camp is to ignore this campaign template and focus on the issues. And the issues are legion, galore. The present government has woefully failed virtually on all of them: restructuring, insecurity, parlous economy, newly energised corruption, which is today more odious, cancerous and endemic. Draw them out to debate about hunger, squalor, dashed hopes, haplessness, nepotism, cronyism, clannishness and mediocrity in governance. Debate them as to why Nigerians are living by the river and still washing their hands with sputum. Attempt to “aticulate” existential and developmental issues from an “obijective” position. Don’t lapse into vulgarism, expletive, obscenity or profanity. Focus on the ball, the national ball, of raising Nigeria from her state of nadir and doldrums.
READ ALSO: To Atiku Abubakar
(To be continued)
Thought for the week
“America does not need another political campaign based on denial and avoidance of some of her real problems. It needs a crusade to reform and renew our country, its institutions and political system.”
– Richard Lamm