Opinion: Obaseki: “The Audacity of a Drowning Governor”


By Augustine Osayande 

In the intricate landscape of Edo State politics, recent events have thrust the suspension of two esteemed Enigies, Prof Gregory Akenzua and Chief Edomwonyi Ogiegbaen, into the spotlight once more. Their suspension by the monarch of the Benin Kingdom, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, has sparked legal challenges and raised pertinent questions about governance, authority, and political dynamics within the state.

The suspension of Prof. Gregory Akenzua and Chief Edomwonyi Ogiegbaen stemmed from their alleged involvement in leading a delegation to the Governor with the aim of restructuring the traditional councils within the Benin Kingdom. This moves incited backlash from community elders and ultimately led to their suspension by the Benin Palace.

The assertion by the Enigies that only Governor Godwin Obaseki possesses the authority to remove them from their offices has triggered a legal battle, highlighting a chapter in Edo's political history that will likely endure in collective memory. While the Edo State Government officially distances itself from involvement in the legal proceedings against the revered Oba of Benin, rumors on social media speculate about potential support from Governor Obaseki for the Enigies' cause. However, these speculations have been vehemently dismissed as the work of malicious elements with ulterior motives by the government's spokesperson.

The underlying question persists: if Governor Obaseki is not supporting the Enigies, why do they maintain that only him has the power to suspend them? Furthermore, why has the governor refrained from publicly condemning their actions, particularly their claim of being dispatched from the Palace during their visit to Ife? Again, on several occasions, Governor Obaseki have been seen winning and dining with the suspended Enigies

Governor Obaseki's decision to distance himself from the legal proceedings against the Oba of Benin presents a challenging stance. The complexities of Edo's political landscape suggest that this case will continue to attract scrutiny, shedding light on the intricate power dynamics within the state.

Governor Obaseki's administration withheld statutory allocations to Edo traditional institutions amid the controversy, citing unresolved administrative issues between the government and the Benin Palace. However, the subsequent disbursement of these funds separately to the Benin Traditional Council and other newly created traditional councils across Edo South LGAs raised eyebrows and fueled speculation.

The decision by the Edo State Executive Council to create traditional councils especially in Edo South Senatorial District further exacerbated tensions, leading to legal challenges from the Benin Enigies. The ongoing legal dispute underscores broader questions about governance and political allegiances within the state.

The matter concerning the repatriation of artifacts presents another aspect in which Governor Obaseki's actions have been subject to criticism. It is widely acknowledged that Governor Obaseki enlisted the services of undisclosed consultants without the prior knowledge of the Oba. In doing so, the governor deviated from the agreed-upon strategy established in conjunction with the Palace, of which he was initially a participant. In response to the Palace's reservations regarding Governor Obaseki's unilateral approach, characterized as "hasty," the governor proceeded to mobilize his Chiefs to explore alternative avenues for asserting the Benin Kingdom's claim to its ancient treasures.

In conclusion, the unfolding events in Edo State underscore the delicate balance between governance, tradition, and political realities.  In navigating these intricate power dynamics, Governor Obaseki faces the challenge of balancing governance, tradition, and political realities. While Governor Obaseki's designated candidate for the forthcoming September 2024 Gubernatorial election, Dr. Asue Ighodalo, and Osarodion Ogie Campaign Council the Campaign Council  have formally articulated their stance, expressing profound disapproval towards any actions perceived as disrespectful towards the esteemed person of Oba Ewuare II and the revered Royal throne of the Great Palace, the ongoing legal dispute underscores the need for careful consideration of historical precedent, legal frameworks, and the aspirations of the people of Edo State. As the situation unfolds, it remains essential to monitor its implications on the political landscape.

Osayande, PhD, contributed this piece from Abuja via austinelande@yahoo.com

Post a Comment