In a bid to forestall the events that transpired in Kano over the creation of additional emirates and the whittling down of Emir Sanusi’s power, youths of Benin Kingdom have taken to the streets, in a protest, to remind the authorities that Benin is not Kano and such cannot be established in the ancient Kingdom.
A massive protest by thousands of youths on the platform of Benin National Congress (BNC) has rocked major streets of Benin City, following an alleged attempt by one Arisco Osemwengie to carve a new kingdom from Benin to be headed by the 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 had never been declared dead even though he is supposed to be a palace chief and therefore cannot be replaced.
But when contacted on phone, Osemwengie said he could not comment on the matter because it was 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,” he said.
But President of BNC, Ayamenkhue Edokpolor, told government officials in Government House where they were received by the deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu that “the Ogiamien family led by Pa. Samuel Ogiamien had duly and publicly disowned the said Arisco Osemwegie since the year 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 had not been declared missing or dead by relevant authorities.
The Kingdom of Benin, also known as the Benin Kingdom, was a pre-colonial kingdom in what is now southern Nigeria. Its capital was Edo, now known as Benin City in Edo state. It should not be confused with the modern-day Republic of Benin, formerly the Republic of Dahomey. The Benin Kingdom was “one of the oldest and most highly developed states in the coastal hinterland of West Africa, dating perhaps to the eleventh century CE”, until it was annexed by the British Empire in 1897.
The original people and founders of the Benin Kingdom, the Edo people, were initially ruled by the Ogiso (Kings of the Sky) who called their land Igodomigodo. The first Ogiso (Ogiso Igodo), wielded much influence and gained popularity as a good ruler. He died after a long reign and was succeeded by Ere, his eldest son. In the 12th century, a great palace intrigue erupted and crown prince Ekaladerhan, the only son of the last Ogiso, was sentenced to death as a result of the first Queen (who was barren) deliberately changing an oracle’s message to the Ogiso. In carrying out the order of the palace, the palace messengers had mercy and set the prince free at Ughoton near Benin. When his father the Ogiso died, the Ogiso dynasty ended. The people and royal kingmakers preferred their king’s son naturally as next in line to rule.