…He’s a liar, late Oba’s grand daughter
From EBEN ENASCO KINGSLEY, Benin City
THERE is palpable tension in Benin City, the Edo State capital over comments credited to a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Godwin Obaseki, prompting a move by the ancient palace to explore ways of sanctioning him.
The aspirant, said to be the favourite of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for the 2016 governorship race in the state last week sparked off a heated controversy among the Bini people by his statement that the Benin Kingdom under Oba Ovonramwan N’gbaisi suffered defeat in the hands of the British because they did not heed the advise of his grandfather, Chief Agho Obaseki, who many people in Benin believe actually betrayed the Oba.
According to Mr. Godwin Obaseki who is also the Head of the failing economic team of the discredited Oshiomhole government, Bini indigenes suffered humiliation in the hands of British colonialists in 1897 because they failed to listen to the advice of his grandfather, Chief Agho Obaseki.
Mr. Obaseki recalled that when the British entered Benin Kingdom and attempted to do ‘business’ with Bini people , his grandfather advised the then Oba of Benin, Oba Ovonramwen N’gbaisi, to sign a treaty with the foreigners.
But people familiar with what transpired during the 1897 invasion have since countered that all available evidence suggests that the British did not intend to do business with any of their eventual colonies rather they were on a colonial mission as they did also with Jaja, Nana, Attahiru and Kosoko, among others.
However, Obaseki regretted that the Binis did not heed his grandfather’s advice hence the war of 1897 otherwise called Benin Massacre and Benin Punitive Expedition.
According to Mr. Obaseki, the result was Britain’s invasion of Benin Kingdom, burning down of the Benin civilisation and the looting of its prized treasures and artefacts.
Obaseki, who is also the Oshiomhole-endorsed APC gubernatorial aspirant spoke yesterday in Benin City, the Edo state capital, when he hosted some of his family relatives.
This statement by Obaseki, at a time when the Bini people are trying to come over the backwardness that that defeat of 1897 caused the people, has reportedly provoked many people, including the palace and sparked off bitter memories and many people have termed the statement arrogant and insulting.
According to Princess Roberta Williams (great-great grand daughter of Oba Ovoramwen) , “Mr. Obaseki lied to the people because Chief Agho Obaseki deceived Oba Ovonramwen to go on exile to Calabar where he eventually died 0n 13th Jan, 1914!”
Speaking further, Princess Williams claimed that Chief Agho caused a lot of chaos to Oba Eweka II because “Chief Agho Obaseki wanted to be crowned as the Oba of Benin, an attempt to truncate the millennia old primogeniture tradition of succession of father to son in Benin Kingdom. But loyal chiefs & the vigilant Edo people kicked against that sacrilege & insisted that Ovonramwen’s son should succeed the throne.
“The British had to succumb to the people’s demand and forced Oba EwekaII to make Chief Agho Obaseki the Iyase of Benin, but he (Obaseki) never paid homage to the Oba because he felt he (Obaseki) deserved to be king. It’s good to tell history as it is no matter how bitter!!”
Venting her angst at the effrontery of Obaseki to make such provocative revision of history, Princess Williams, who made more statements in Edo State’s most popular social media platform, Edo Political Forum (EPF), the Benin princess over the weekend blasted the Obaseki family.
In her words: “It’s not true that, “the binis rejected Chief Agho’s (The Obaseki of Benin) advice. Matter of fact, it’s most likely Chief Agho Obaseki plotted the death of Oba Ovonramwen as well because history has it on record that whilst the Oba was on exile in Calabar, Chief Agho sent his son to serve the Oba. Chief Agho Obaseki’s son returned to Benin after Oba Ovonramwen’s death. A lot of deception was at play during that sad period in Benin Empire.” (153)