Indigenes of Obateru village, near Ughoton in Ovia North-East Local government Area of Edo State, have petitioned the Oba of Benin over the planned installation of Mr Afona Aimuamweran Otasowie as Priest (Ohen) of Obagbeni village in the same Council area.
In their letter of protest, signed by the Uzukpogieva (second most elderly man), Mr. Emmanuel Uwagboe and Secretary Mr Kevin Okunzuwa on behalf of elders of the village and cited by our correspondent, they claimed that there was neither a shrine nor a Priest (Ohen) in Obateru village to warrant such position.
According to the people, Otasowie and his cohorts, in their deceit and desperation to claim affinity to Obateru, a village they had earlier claimed does not exist, clandestinely chose another name, Obagbeni, to refer to the same Obateru village to deceive the palace.
The Obateru people,who described themselves as the original settlers of the village, with affinity to Ughoton, said only one Priest, (Ohen Okun), was recognisable even by the palace.
They appealed to the Royal father to investigate Otasowie’s deceit and sacrilegious activities.
In the petition to Oba Ewuare II, the people appealed for the suspension of the planned installation, alleging that Otasowie, in connivance with some influential individuals in the palace, had manipulated facts to also deceive the palace and drag Obateru name in the controversy, which is currently a subject of litigation before an Appeal court in Benin.
The petitioners wonder why Otasowie, who has been parading himself as an Ohen Oriaza, as contained in several documents in public domain, now wants the palace’s approval for something he has self imposed on himself?
Arising from Otasowie’s alleged deceit and cunning maneuvering to misinform and mislead the palace on the position of the Priesthood, the elders and the people of Obateru, humbly urge the Oba to suspend his installation forthwith not to drag the palace into disrepute.
“Your Majesty, may we quickly add that Obateru is in court with its neighbouring village, Evbuorokho, over the same contentious issue of its existence as an autonomous village.
“While a Benin High Court has given judgment in suit No.HOCK/45/2008, in favour of Obateru village, the matter still pends at the appeal court in suit No. CA/B/609/2015,” the petition said.
Speaking before the Palace chiefs, Uwagboe, noted that traditionally, the Ohen Okun of Ughoton, is the only recognised priest within the Ekenwan axis.
“This is the reason why Otasowie deceitfully corrupted Obateru to Obagbeni to get Oba Ewuare II approval to be installed as Ohen where non has never existed.
“Your Royal Majesty, Otasowie and his cohorts at several occasions attacked members of Obateru with armed thugs to cause fear and overun the leadership of Obateru for his selfish and pecuniary gains to further advance his haulage business.
“Otasowie and his sibling, Osazee, have severally boosted that they will use their connections to some influential individuals within the palace to achieve this desire after their failed attempt to arrest elders of Obateru village with operatives from the Police Zone 5.”
The people have therefore appealed to his Majesty to suspend the planned installation, investigate the alleged devious actions of Otasowie and his cohorts and call them order in the interest of justice.