PRESS STATEMENT DELIVERED BY IMASUEN AMOWIE IZODUWA COORDINATOR GENERAL, GREAT BENIN DESCENDANTS WORLDWIDE – GBD ON NOVEMBER 16TH, 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 45 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 on this singular purpose that we are poised to unite all these Great Benin Descendants using history as an instrument to foist the common ancestry shared by us all. Haven briefly established the mandate of our group we can now proceed to the business of today
In recent times, we have watch in disdain some fallacies propagated by Yoruba’s, asserting some historical claims that Oba of Benin heads where being buried in a place called “Orun Oba Ado” until 1914 when such practice stopped and he also classified the Oba of Benin as a Yoruba King. This is the basis on which we are all here today, to expose to the world the fallacies of these people with facts and not propaganda
There were series of national historical debates after our revered monarch published his work titled “I Remain Sir, Your Obedient servant” on the 29th of April, 2019 and notable Yoruba Scholars like Prof. Ade Ajayi, Dr. Siyan Oyeweso, Reuben Abati and also Ooni Sijuade became ballistic and insulting in their response to such scholarly work published by our revered Monarch, Omo N’Oba Erediauwa of blessed memory, without any proof of academic works to counter the facts outlined in our father’s work. It is in this light we wish to further puncture those sheer magnitude of arrogance portrayed by some of the Yoruba scholars somewhat 15 years ago, as a measure to correct the young Yoruba monarch that was interviewed by Guardian newspaper few months ago.
In a bid to portray the supremacy of Ooni over Oba of Benin, Dr. Oyeweso wrote “it was in 1903 that, for the first time in Yoruba history, the Ooni traveled out of the traditional territory to Ibadan. All the Yoruba Obas, including the Oba of Benin stayed outside the Palace, signifying that it was forbidden for them to stay in the Palace. They insisted that until he returned, they wouldn’t go back to their palaces” this simply confirms the known fact that Yoruba scholars are more concerned about ethnic chauvinism rather than proper scholarly works, because the Oba of Benin in 1903 was Omo N’Oba Ovonranmwen who was at that point in history in Calabar; a place he later joined his ancestors 11 years later. So the question is, where on earth did such lies of Oba of Benin leaving his palace as a mark of respect for the Ooni emanate from? Unfortunately it was not all the Yoruba kings that left their palaces as many were not even aware or recognised him as their progenitor and it was also not the the first time the Ooni was leaving Ife. He had be been driven out of Ife by Modakeke twice in the 19th century and he became a refugee in Okeigbo in Ondo State.