Osa-Ogbegie Speaks On Court Case Against Oba Of Benin

Ivbiedo, beware, they are here again…

Daniel A. Noah Osa-Ogbegie, Esq.


Human beings are largely emotional beings and the two things they are most emotional about are tribe and religion. That is why politicians in Nigeria use these tools of ethno-religious sentiments to polarise the people in order to advance their selfish political interests.

My attention was drawn few days ago to a video on various social media platforms of a certain notorious woman, crying and calling on Benin people to storm the Edo State High Court to attend the court sitting where, according to her, Godwin Obaseki, the Governor of Edo state, took the Oba of Benin to Court.

Curious, I did a little research, got hold of soft copies of the court summons, only to find out that Godwin Obaseki was not a party to the case. The claimants were Prince Gregory Akenzua and Prince Ogiegbaen, family members of the Oba.

A further perusal showed that they were exercising their constitutional right to self preservation.

It is instructive that even as nothing concerns Obaseki with the case, political spin doctors and hatchetmen have gone to town to ensure that the case is about Godwin Obaseki, unfortunately.

I believe those of us who are educated and are major stakeholders in the new Edo should not join desperate politicians to turn truth on its head.

We must be careful as Edo people, to avoid making this election about tribe or trying to use the sanctity of the most revered Oba of Benin for partisan political gain.

It is believed by most people that politicians are at the centre of trying to connect the Edo state government, specifically the Governor, to this case and many who latch unto it in anger, have no idea about the case.

Without going into the merits of the case, it is trite to state that the Enigies do not seek to be independent of the Oba. Approaching the court to seek interpretation of the law whether the Oba has the power to fire an Enogie capriciously and whether the Oba is solely entitled to the 5 percent from the 7 Edo south Local governments is not seeking independence from the Oba as some erroneously say.

If the law provides that Enigie are entitled to share from the five percent of local government allocation , can anyone really say they are not entitled to the stipends by law?

Even though my intervention was not to dwell on the rightness or wrongness of the case or how it would end, it was essential to also throw light on the case and encourage people to be less emotional but speak after the facts have been laid bare to them. My aim is to also warn politicians to be mindful how they drag the institution of the Oba of Benin into politics.

The candidate believed to be spearheading this descent into tribal cleavage, Olumide Akpata, only started identifying with Midwest when he was vying for the NBA Presidency . Now that he is vying for the Edo Governorship, he has added a Benin name to his names, apparently to beguile Benin people, not knowing that historically, Benin people are cosmopolitan and detribalised. Benin City, by the way, has been called a City for over six hundred years, with various tribes living here. We are only swayed by what is correct, conscienable, equitable, just and fair.

Even the APC is quickly mobilising and taking advantage of the case to demarket the candidate of the PDP, Dr. Asue Ighodalo, same way the NPN in 1983 mobilised to demarket Ambrose Alli by sponsoring propaganda materials labelling the great Ambrose Alli as enemy of the Oba and that he showed disrespect to the Monarch. Look, today, Edo people are too smart and too sophisticated to allow anyone use smokescreens to bring an unbelievably empty, incompetent and unprepared candidate through the back door and make him Governor. It is sad that people lie to themselves for political expediency.

The Oba of Benin is the paramount traditional ruler in Edo state, just as he was in Midwest and Bendel State. His place cannot be reasonably contested , given the history of the throne; so instead of being emotive and jumping round the place ,those who really care should reach out to the parties for amicable, long lasting resolution . If allowed, any court decision would be calamitous. It is why I call on all elders and wise men of our kingdom today, to step in and bring the absurdity to an end.

Edo is one and any attempt by any politician to bring schisms among the Edo tribes will be met with derision. Tell us what you want to do as Governor and what you have done before.

Dr. Asue Ighodalo is the most prepared candidate at this time and all Edos who are really ready to see Edo make solid progress must rally around him to ensure retrogressive elements do not stop him as they stopped others in the past.


. Osa-Ogbegie, a lawyer, community leader, public affairs analyst and an Apostle of Edo rennaissance, writes from Ehor, Uhunmwode Local Government Area.

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