Tony Osauzo, Benin
Massive protest by thousands of youths on the platform of Benin National Congress (BNC), yesterday, rocked major streets of Benin City, following alleged attempt by one Arisco Osemwengie, to carve a new kingdom from Benin, to be headed by Ogiamien, which he (Osemwengie) allegedly claimed to be.
Bearing several placards and a mock coffin, which signifies death for the enemies of the Oba of Benin, the protesters said the real Ogiamien of Benin Kingdom has never been declared dead even though he is supposed to be a palace chief and, therefore, cannot be replaced.
When he was contacted for his reaction, yesterday, Osemwengie said he cannot comment on the matter because it is in court.
“That is a matter that is before the Supreme Court and I don’t like commenting on an issue that is before the Supreme Court, so, I cannot comment on it,” was his terse reply.
But BNC President, Ayamenkhue Edokpolor, told government officials in Government House, where they were received by the Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, that “the Ogiamien family, led by Pa Samuel Ogiamien, have duly and publicly disowned the said Arisco Osemwegie, since 2015, as an impostor, trying to impersonate or criminally take the place of the chieftaincy title of Ogiamien, whose current holder is Chief Osarobo Okunoghae and who has been absent from Benin for several years but has not been declared missing or dead by relevant authorities.
“This begs the question that, if the holder of the Ogiamien title has not been declared missing or dead, then, Arisco Osemwengie, and his illusionary adventurers, trying to claim a title of Ogiamien must be held accountable for his whereabouts because a title is only vacant by death or by other established proviso.
“The public must be informed that, by the Benin Traditional palace structure–the Ogiamien title is one of the titles belonging to a group called Uzama ni bie, which is a junior title in the palace hierarchy of functionaries,” he told the deputy governor.
In his response, Shaibu said: “There are two kingdoms in the world; Benin Kingdom and United Kingdom and, anybody who wants to try to reduce the image and ancestral history that we have in this kingdom, that person is just daring what a human being cannot dare.
“As a government, we are with you. By the grace of God, we will not only protect our Benin kingdom, but, we will support every means to make a revered kingdom that it has always been.
“The Oba of Benin is revered all over the world and nobody can reduce that image that we have got in the kingdom. Edo State Government will use everything possible to protect our cultural heritage, which is represented by the Oba of Benin.”