PRESS STATEMENT DELIVERED BY IMASUEN AMOWIE IZODUWA COORDINATOR GENERAL, GREAT BENIN DESCENDANTS WORLDWIDE – GBD ON APRIL 13TH, 2019. Good morning to all the press men seated here for the press conference of this Association. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen from the academia, civil society and from all works of life, I say welcome most sincerely.
PRESS STATEMENT DELIVERED BY IMASUEN AMOWIE IZODUWA COORDINATOR GENERAL, GREAT BENIN DESCENDANTS WORLDWIDE – GBD ON APRIL 13TH, 2019.
Good morning to all the press men seated here for the press conference of this Association. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen from the academia, civil society and from all works of life, I say welcome most sincerely.
First, before we officially unveil the essence of this press conference permit me to introduce this group to you all appropriately, since the inception of this group we have identified over 36 ethnic nationalities or clans who have enthusiastically traced their roots to Benin, for purpose of time we will hurriedly mention few of them: Esans, Etsako, Owan, Ekpeye, Ogba, Epie Atisse, Iwurhuohna (Ikwerre), Ogbia, Igede (Benue), Ikare Ekiti, aborigines of Eko, aborigines of Itagbolu, Parts of Ika, Onitsha people, Oguta, Urhobo, Isoko, parts of Itsekiri people, Degema, as far as Guinea, Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic amongst several others. It is in this knowledge that we are pained of the injustice done to us by the British and we were the last true resistance to their plans, without our defeat Nigeria as a country wouldn’t have existed and as such we are the parent country which gave birth to Nigeria. Haven briefly established the mandate of our group we can now proceed to the business of today.
We have watched some section of Ogiamien family denigrate the palace of the revered Monarch of Great Benin with abominable act, we have kept quiet in a bid to give these unscrupulous elements a change of heart and a variety of degree of patience so as when we start dealing with them with the appropriate punishment befitting for their sacrilegious act, those who have watched with rapt attention and who continually but surreptitiously support this act, will therefore know that from this day these set of people can no longer be treated as one of us, as the measure of their hostility will be met in even more devastating reaction.
We have earnestly cried for an aggressive Benin Youth Body to have taken this issue up a very long time ago, as these guys are not invisible and we are very much aware of who they are now. It is the failure of these Benin people that we are here once again to do our intellectual role in addressing a lot of fallacies by these semi-illiterate people and also to inform the public that the history being put out to the public is a figment of their imagination which does not have any known historical locus standing and as such we shall demystify those fallacies as the press conference progress. We know that these issues are too trivial for the palace of the Oba of Benin to attend to, hence our mandate as the only socio-cultural organization in Benin kingdom that engages enemies of our history with superior facts of history and intellectualism.
We are not oblivious of the role some ethnic groups are playing notably, the Yorubas and Ijaws, in conniving with and funding these vagabonds called the Ogiamiens in trying to continually tie the history of our people and Oba to Ile-Ife, the goodnews is we have always been aware and moreso that section of the Yoruba people is also well known to us, but the rippling effect will be devastating for them. In trying to tear our history apart and embarrass our monarch, we are going to intellectually strike back, if not now, sometime in the future and they should be aware that these are no longer days of censorship of history and that irrespective of all their devices it will never change the fact that most of their kings are simply “politically orientated Owambe Kings”. Their failure in recent times in matching us historically and haven realized that the Benins truly civilized their ancestors in Ile-Ife through our son Ekaladerhann has made them all desperate to prove and sell fallacious history to the outside world.
The prime suspect in this Ogiamien case is one Arisco that was jailed not too long ago by Edo State government of Adams Aliu Oshiomhole who from recent happenings seems to be more Benin than the present Benin governor called Obaseki, the said Arisco has recruited minnows of internet fraudsters and even went as far as to recruit a homeless destitute in Port Harcourt, an Ikwerre man by tribe to be at the forefront of the agitation of tearing Benin Kingdom apart while he works from the shadows. We demand that Godwin Obaseki should act quickly being the governor of Edo State because we all are aware the role an Etsako man played in dealing with these unscrupulous people and it is that conviction we remember the very words of our king, Oba Erediauwa of blessed memory that only the Benin descendants know the true value of their Beninness in contrast to those who think that they are now Benin, Oba Gha To Kpere… Ise.
As a result of this press conference we call on the Ministry of Art, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs as well as the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to speedily brief the governor of Edo State on the actions necessary for the abominable act committed by these people, as a result of their failure this crises as lingered on whereas during Adams Oshiomhole government the weight of the law was heavily melted on this demented individuals. By the reason of this press conference, we therefore call on the State government to do something about this and failure to do that which we have intellectually asked will lead to us personally dealing with these people in manner befitting the enemies of the Oba of Benin.
They have raised multiple questions that the generally accepted history of our land was falsified by Oba Erediauwa of blessed memory when he wrote the book “I remain Sir, Your Obedient Servant” published in the year 2004. In the intellectual argument of such we want to formally educate these misguided people and as well put on public the true history of our land. Umogun Gha To Kpere. Ise.
Gentlemen of the press lets now formally historically deal with fallacies raised by these Ogiamien descendants.
EKIOKPAGHA TREATY: This was the treaty between Oba Ewedo and the Ogiamien of that era, we all are aware that when Oranmiyan returned from Ile-Ife as the rightful heir to the throne of his grandfather, Ogiso Owodo, he was met with a strong resistance from the Ogiamien family haven been given the regency right for about 70 years that our exiled prince Ekaladerhan of which the Yorubas of that era knew as Oduduwa spent at Ile-Ife. When Oranmiyan returned back to his ancestral home to rightfully sit upon the throne of his ancestors but because of the greed of Evian and his progeny they fought earnestly to deny Oranmiyan his rightful place, a move that led the Edion to build a palace at Usama from where Oranmiyan ruled Benin but not for long. His Son Oba Eweka I as well as Oba Eweka I’s sucessors Uwakhuahe and Ehenmihen. Oranmiyan Great Grand Son, Oba Ewedo who later realized that as an Oba, his authority over his people must be absolute and not sectional, in the knowledge of such he transverse into the heart of Igodomigodo from the peripheral Usama quarter (along the present day Siluko road), which the Ogiamien family had already colonized. Ladies and gentlemen, let it be known this day that the last four Ogisos’ palace was not at Uhunmwunidumwun (the quarter Ogiso Ere moved the palace to after his grandfather built the first known palace at Ugbekun) but rather at Ogbe, the quarter that the seat of the Oba of Benin is; till date, hence in history it is called “Ogbe Ogiso” which is as at today the present day Oba Ovonramwen Square. When Oba Ewedo manifestly encumbered in his bid to build the palace in the heart of Benin, a battle broke out which led to Oba Ewedo mercilessly defeating the Ogiamien and his warriors, it was as a result of the wisdom of diplomacy that informed Oba Ewedo to graciously have a treaty with the now humbled Ogiamien so as to allow peace reign in his kingdom. The treaty was of mutual benefit where a portion of the land now being presently occupied by the Ogiamien people for the period that Ekaladerhan went to establish kingship in Ile-Ife as well as the years from Oba Oranmiyan down to Oba Ehenmihen ruled at Usama palace, in totality this period lasted approximately 157 years. This period was enough for the Evian progeny to lay claim over a land that in the first place wasn’t theirs, haven established that earlier on.
Ogiamien’s jurisdiction was therefore reduced to Utantan (Sokponba Road) from the beginning at present day Asoro Street to the Ivbiyeneva moat (present day third junction), when these people currently come out to claim Utantan Kingdom, it therefore means that they are referring to the beginning of Sokponba road at first East Circular to where Sokponba terminate at 3rd Junction, which inherently means that Chief Ogiamien is more or less an Odionwere of Utantan (Sokponba Road), that’s fact.
To further buttress the point that Ogiamien was never much an important figure or a stumbling block in Benin history, Oba Ewedo created the first known title outside the “Edion” called Niyasowa now abridged as Iyase, and that title was referring to the supremacy tussle between the Oba of Benin and the Edion of the Kingdom of which Oliha is the head. So from here you can see that Ogiamien was never in any tussle with the Oba of Benin other than the treaty of the right to hereditary succession and not ownership of land, to further expatiate on this, Princess Aghayubini, the first child of Oba Osemwede who felt she was denied of the throne later struck a deal with his younger brother, Oba Adolo to make the title of ‘Osula” hereditary when the title was bestowed upon one of her sons, the same issue played out between the Ogiamien and Oba Ewedo, when the Ogiamien realized he has lost his relevance as the Odionwere of Utantan, he therefore struck a treaty with the Oba to allow him retain the title of Ogiamien as an hereditary title, hence the Ogiamien title was traditionally and officially created by Oba Ewedo and in later years was added to the Uzama N’Ibie (a group of lesser Uzama of which Ogiamien is the 5th in significance) by Oba Esigie. The reason Oba Esigie added Ogiamien to this junior Uzama was a move to spite the Oliha, because Oliha and Ogiamien are sworn enemies dating back to the 12th century, the enmity was as a result of Oliha leading other delegates to retrieve Ekaladerhan from Ile-Ife and finally place the Ogiamien family where they rightly belong as blacksmiths from Eyaenugie, because of that act Ogiamien himself retaliated by creating his own Oliha.
The Ogiamiens themselves where opportunist as the land they occupied in those 157 years belong to the Ogisos of which the Obas of Benin are proud extension of. Majority of the Obas didn’t observe the Ekiokpagha mock battle because of the insignificance of the practice, which is more or less a ceremonial practice during the coronation phase of the newly crowned Oba of Benin. The generosity of the Oba of Benin influenced his decision in considering the title of Ogiamien as hereditary and also as his Chief, that was so because we recognized the services of Evian to his Kingdom; otherwise, apart from the osogan myth, it is regrettable that there is beneficial service to the Kingdom attributable to the Ogiamien succession. The general who subdued Ogiamien was known as Odigie Olomi, the then head of blacksmiths who lived in Ogbe Ibuya. The Oba’s army defeated Ogiamien and pushed them to Unueru where the battle ended (Now Asoro Street). Oba Ewedo was at Ekiokpagha where Ogiamien finally surrendered to him. Odigie Olomi for being able to defeat the violent leader was subsequently conferred with the title of Iyase and was installed the first Iyase of Benin in about 1255 AD. How then did the vanquished Ogiamien now determined the terms of the treaty? Evidence point out that the treaty was for Oba Ewedo to mercifully grant him the right to hereditary succession, so as to remain relevant within the sphere of his family nucleus. To finally put to rest that the Ekiokpagha treaty is a complete ruse created from the imagination of this unlearned people. If there was a treaty that was signed, and the consequence of its violation is death as the Ogiamien’s earlier insinuated, why then did the Ogiamien accept the betrothed daughter of Oba Adolo, princess Igbinake in 1848 AD? Knowing fully well a part of the treaty was no inter marriage between both families.
We therefore plead for His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, Ogidigan, as a result of these facts to abolish this Ekiokpagha treaty built on deception and lies so as to completely bury this irrelevant bickering of the Ogiamien people. Oba Gha To Kpere. Ise
EKALADERHAN: The lie they keep telling the public is that Ekaladerhan is a myth created by Oba Erediauwa, this statement really shows how historically shallow these people are and this press conference is set up to educate them the more. Jacob Uwadiae Egharevba in his book: “Short History of Benin” 1934 edition explicitly mentioned Ekaladerhan as the only son of Ogiso Owodo who went on an exile and found himself at a place now called Ughoton. The history of Ughoton is in the public domain on how Ekaladerhan established that village. At the time Egharevba published that book young Prince Solomon Akenzua was only 11 years old, how then did the work Oba Erediauwa later published in 2004 become the genesis of Ekaladerhan? Other later historians like Air Iyare published an article called “Ekaladerhan” in mid-70’s in one of the daily newspapers, O.S.B Omoregie, D. N. Oronsaye in the early 90’s published works on Ekaladerhan, we have Ekaladerhan primary school at Usen in Ovia North East as well as Ekaladerhan grammar school at Erua at Uhunmwonde LGA, these schools were established in the 60’s and 70’s, how come these Facebook champions continually deceive the populace with so much gutted fallacies? There are songs passed down from generations to generations of who Ekaladerhan was and what he represents, there is a day in Benin called “Ede-Ekaladeran” which means a day where it rains and the same time the shining sun high up in the sky, the old Benins remember, that’s how it was the day Ekaladerhan left Benin (Igodomigodo). A paradox of joy and sadness.
DEITIES: Another lie being propagated by these people is that all deities in Edo land are Yoruba deities, this is a far cry from the truth because deities like Ovia, Okhuaihe, Ake amongst several others are of the Benin origin, it was Ekaladerhan who established the Olokun Shrine at Ughoton and Ile-Ife, that’s why it is only the Ife people that practices the divinity of Olokun in the entire Yoruba land, as the term Olokun is conglomeration of two Benin words Ole-Owner and Okun-Sea, which means “owner of the Sea” just like in Oliha too. Some other deities got to this land because of the supremacy Oba of Benin had over the Yorubas, when they were defeated in various wars whatever Oba desired from them was taken and because nobody ever dared us, our deities remain within the control of the Oba of Benin exclusively. Some Iyases of Benin Kingdom came from the Ika territory, a very good example is the Iyase of Oba Orhogbua and because of that, will the Ika people therefore now assume that Oba of Benin came from them? It is common knowledge that Oba of Benin controlled almost the entire southern part of Nigeria and as such he controlled all those within his vast empire whether they are from his origin or not, we call it imperialism. When the Benins lost the unfortunate Anglo-Benin war to the British in 1897, they took everything that made us who we are just as Oba of Benin took charge of every single part of his conquered territory. There was deliberate effort at demystifying the Oba and rendering his powers obsolete. Oba gha to Kpere. Ise.
They also raised that Ogiso Owodo had no child hence Obas of Benin have no royal blood relationship with the Ogisos, another moonlight tale. The Ogiso family are still alive till date and they all acknowledge that the Oba of Benin is an extension of them. In other to show respect to this Ogiso dynasty by the Obas, they have continually allowed the Ohen Iso to be the only Chief with right of the Cowry crown that was once used by the Ogisos. They blatantly came out to say Ogiso Arigho had two sons of which the eldest became Ogiso Owodo and that they Ogiamiens came from the lineage of the second son of Ogiso Arigho. Well ladies and gentlemen of the press, that wouldn’t have been true because first, Ogiamiens greet “Laire” and not “Laiso” the implication is that they came from the older family of Eholor N’Ire one of the Edion Nene and not the Ogiso family, otherwise they will have to come out and explain to the world the meaning of “IRE” in their family root which the Eholor family knows. Secondly if Ogiso Arigho had a second son of which Evian was his off-spring why did the elders of the land made Evian a regent(Edaiyi) knowing fully well that he has a blue blood in him? This shows that Ogiso Arigho had no other Son other than Ogiso Owodo. Thirdly, Evian had three sons as follows: first, Uzama, second Ogiamien and third Oliha, if truly Evian had a royal blood in him or a natural ruler, rather than being an Odionwere, his first son, Uzama would have taken over or succeeded, rather, his second son was forced on the people. The role Evian played is not different from the role Chief Agho Obaseki played, they were both opportunistic Administrators and it ends there. The public should also note here that Chief Ogiamien is a chief in the palace of the Oba of Benin whose role in the ancient time was to carve and maintain an Ekette to the reigning monarch and he belong to the group called Uzama N’Ibie a junior Uzama, a title that is quite inconsequential. History disclosed that between June 1897 – July 1914, the following chiefs were engaged by the then political resident, Lieutenant Turner and other British Officers at the formation of Benin Native Council:
“Chiefs Oshodi, Osague, Obayagbon, Ehondon, Ine, Ero, Osula, Arase, Obaseki, Imara, Aiyobahan, Ezomo, Uwaifo, Idemudia, Uwangue, Osa and a few others, but certainly without Ogiamien. He was not even appointed as a warrant chief or a paramount chief which lasted between 1899 – 1909 AD. Ogiamien, from the time of Oba Ewedo (1255 AD) has only played a second fiddle at best.”
In the time past they have never ever challenged the Oba of Benin and in the colonial period the Ogiamien was never recognized by the colonial government while then all these unnecessary media charade. We do believe strongly that majority of the true Ogiamien family understand this fact and they strongly condemn this abomination propagated by Arisco and his rented friends from Ijaw and Ikwerre land. Let it also be known that the said Arisco is only maternally related to the Ogiamien family and he thinks the little coins that he has will give him relevance, not when Association of Great Benin Descendants is alive to eduucate all misguided enemies of the revered throne of the Oba of Benin. Oba Gha To Kpere. Ise
In our time we must not fail to crush all the enemies of our land, we must be resolute, we must imbibe the very all conquering spirit of our ancestors with a huge sense of civility and intellectualism, we have not had any support from those who should have supported but we will keep fighting, because this is our heritage and history, and our Oba, is the greatest king on planet Earth. Frivolous activities of some misguided few cannot change the status of “God’s representative on Earth”. This is a time all Benins must rise up and fight for those who wish to denigrate the pride of our Kingdom, let it be known in all corners of the world that in our time we fought these battles and won, and when posterity beckons, our names shall be remembered, that we fought in the true spirit of Patriotism to our Kingdom and our absolute loyalty is to the Oba of Benin only. We are ready for more challenges, it is the sole responsibility of Association of Great Benin Descendants to crush those who dare try to distort and challenge our history, culture and tradition.
Long Live the Oba of Benin
Long live the Great Benin Kingdom that will be reborn
Long Live all Great Benin Descendants all over the world
Umogun Oza Gha To Kpere. Ise.
For GBD: Samuel O. Erhinmwiorose Secretary General Association of Great Benin Descendants worldwide. Institute for Benin Studies, 18 Ezoti street, Airport Road, Benin City. Edo state. +2348068155490.