Newly appointed traditional head/Okao of Iguobazuwa, in Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State, Chief Friday Obaruyi, has stated that his confirmation as the traditional leader of Iguobazuwa was to foster Benin traditional values and custom in the community.
He explained that there was no time that his title ‘the Okao of Iguobazuwa’ was in conflict or contention with the title of the Odionwere, adding that the Okao title was given to him by the revered Benin Monarch.
Chief Obaruyi who stated this during a chat with journalists in Benin City, clarified what led to the crisis in Iguobazuwa, alleging that the suspended Odionwere and others had abused all traditional rites and mismanaged the fortune of Iguobazuwa.
“On the 10th 0f October 2019, we the concerned people of Iguobazuwa came to the palace of the Oba to report the case of mismanagement of fund, abuse of traditional process and many other atrocities being committed by one Pa Sunday Omokao who was the second in command to the late Odionwere, Pa Omorogbe Imeogbon.
“The Oba having listened to both parties ruled that he has committed atrocities and that he stands suspended as the second in command. In fact, the man agreed before the Omo N’Oba that he has never taken the title of Odionwere and cannot be and as such he stands suspended.
“The man claiming to be the Odiowere, Pa Sunday Omokaro and Pa Peter Idehen, Mr Edward Edoghayobare and Mr Joseph Iguaavon, stand suspended and thereafter the Oba mandated me and other loyal elders that were not affected by the suspension to go and take charge. After that there were series of protests that they were not going to allow what the palace has decreed to stand.
“I told them pointedly that it was an abomination to go against what the Oba said and they continue with the atrocities and abomination. Since then, they refused to comply with the suspension order of the palace. Someone who is on suspension went into the land of the Oba in Iguobazuwa community.
“Oba owns all the land and I challenged them. My father told me many years ago that the Oba owns all the land in Iguobazuwa that we only hold it in trust for the Oba and because of that they started castigating me.
“They went as far as installing a woman as the Osa deity in my community which has never happened before. This is the remote and immediate cause of this problem until December 2020. The Oba finally conferred my title as the Okao/traditional head of Iguobazuwa community”.