Palace Watch

Provide whereabouts of Ogiamien, Oba of Benin tasked.

By Gabriel Omonhinmin

The Ogiamien Royal Dynasty of Utantan in Benin Kingdom has once again granted a press briefing in its Palace in Benin City where they addressed three key issues raised by the Benin Traditional Council some weeks ago, especially as it concerns the whereabouts of the 23rd Ogiamien Utantan, Osarobo Okuonghae, who suddenly disappeared and has not been found till date.

The Director of Information and External Affairs for the Ogiamien Royal Dynasty, High Chief Monday Wehere, JP, pointedly asked the Oba of Benin and his Palace Chiefs to help the Nigerian Police with all the necessary information that will invariably help to find the whereabouts of Ogiamien Osarobo Okuonghae.

The statement reads in part: “Our attention has been drawn to some conflicting stories propagated in some quarters which bothered on the followings: The paternity of our revered king, His Imperial Majesty, Rich Arisco Osemwengie JP, OOS, the current 24th Ogiamien of Benin, (Utantan) Kingdom, Benin City, Edo South, Igodomigodo land of Edo State. The Whereabouts of Ogiamien Osarobo Okuonghae and The Mode of Succession of Ogiamien Royal Stool.”

Wehere said the press conference was called to put the records straight;

“The Great Ogiamien Royal Stool and the Great Ogiamien Royal Palace predated the colonial administration that gazetted the Great Ogiamien Royal Stool and the Great Ogiamien Royal Palace as National Monuments in 1959.

“It will interest you to know that this is the only Royal Palace gazetted by the Colonial Masters, which they handed over to the Federal Government during independence in 1960. The OGIAMIEN stool/Ogiamien Palace was also recognized by UNESCO contrary to the beliefs that the Oba of Benin Palace was also a national monument, which is not true due to the Armageddon that befalls the palace in the 1897 invasion.

“In addition, the Great Ogiamien Royal Stool is recognized in the Midwestern State of Nigeria Gazette No 59 Vol. 5 and M. S. L. N. No 37 dated 7th day of November 1968 tied to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Constitution (Suspension and Modification) Decree, 1966 Chiefs Law (CAP 19), which is also protected by Part V Sections 38 and 39 of the Bendel State Traditional Rulers and Chief Edict of 1979. The Appeal Court judgment by Justice Jimi Olukayode Baba of Appeal Court in the Appeal Case No: CA/B/99/2016 also confirmed that the Great Ogiamien Royal stool is a recognized instrument. Hear Justice Jimi Olukayode Baba of Appeal Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State.

“It is my humble view that the Ogiamien of Benin Chieftaincy is one of the recognized instruments (M.S.L.N 37 of 1968) (See page 37 of the Judgment delivered by Jimi Olukayode Bada, JCA) dated Wednesday, 16th day of November 2016 in Benin City, Edo State.

“The issue of paternity, His Imperial Majesty, Rich Arisco Osemwengie JP, OOS, the current 24th Ogiamien of Benin (Utantan), Kingdom, Benin City, Edo South, Igodomigodo land of Edo State is a direct scion of the Great Ogiamien Royal Dynasty. His biological father, late Prince Daniel Osemwengie Orumwense, is the direct male child of late Prince Orumwense Ogienor; late Prince Orumwense Ogienor is the direct male child of Prince Ogienor Ekunwe; while late Prince Ogienor Ekunwe is the direct male child of Ogiamien Okhuanhenzuwa.

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“The aspect of maternity, Ogiamien Rich Ariscos, mother late Mrs Victoria Aimwenyeke Iroegbetin Osemwengie (Nee Ediagbonya Osawe) of Ilobi Village in Uhunmwonde LGA of Edo State hails from the family of Iyase of Udo in Ovia South West LGA of Edo State.

“It is on record that the Oba of Benin known as Oba Eweka, the First and the area known as the Benin Kingdom was leased to them by Ogiso/Ogiamien Erebo via the Memorable Ekiokpagha Treaty in 12:00AD.”

On the whereabouts of Ogiamien Osarobo Okounghae, Wehere said, when it became evident that Okuonghae was missing, we wrote to the then Commissioner of Police, Edo State to alert them of the missing Ogiamien.

“On Tuesday, 6th August 2015, the then PPRO of the Edo State Police Command, DSP Stephen Onwecheo, published a Police Press Release about the missing Ogiamien Osarobo Okuonghae.

“But in a swift reaction, the Benin Traditional Council published a rejoinder on Saturday, 8th August 2015, signed by the secretary, Mr Frank Irabor, querying the use of HRM for Ogiamien Osarobo Okuonghae instead of condoling with the bereaved families.

The Benin Traditional Council did not send a formal condolence message till this very moment, but they kept saying that Ogiamien Osarobo Okounghae is alive even when the Police appealed to any person with useful information about his whereabouts to come forward and contact the nearest Police station or the family, then the question now is this, since the BTC know the whereabouts of Ogiamien Osarobo Okuonghae, they should please go to the police and give them the information and stop raising unnecessary dust about the whereabouts of Ogiamien Osarobo Okuonghae.

After all the preliminary investigations we have done so far and based on the recent press conference of Iyase of Benin thus indicates that they are behind the disappearance of Ogiamien Osarobo Okuonghae, all these dramas are to circumvent the Ekiokpagha Treaty to further reenact their dominance in the state.”

Wehere noted that since there is no vacuum in nature, after following the traditional due process, we installed Prince Rich Arisco Osemwengie JP, OOS, as the 24th Ogiamien of Benin (Utantan) in accordance with our native laws and custom.

“On the mode of selecting a new Ogiamien whenever there is a vacuum, note, the Ogiamien Royal Stool is not only hereditary by Primogeniture but through ruling houses.

“What is today known as Ogiamien Royal Stool came into existence in the 9th Century AD. At inception, it was known as Ogiso Royal Stool. The first occupant was Pa Idu Ogiso the progenitor of Igodomigodo. He was known as Ogiso Igodo.

“From the Era of Ogiso Igodo to the present era, the Ogiso Royal Stool has passed through 4 different traditional transitions namely:

“The Era of Primogeniture;

The Era of Gerontocracy;

The Era of Second Son and

The Era of Grand Son.

“Historically speaking, the Ogiamien Royal Stool traditionally has been moving from one Ruling House to the other. The way the ancestors designed the transition, it is therefore difficult for anyone Ruling House to lay absolute claim to the Stool.

“It is therefore misleading to say that the Ogiamien Royal Stool is ONLY hereditary by primogeniture.

“For record purposes, the Ogiamien Stool can be inherited by any direct male child from any of the Ruling Houses.

“We know the Ruling Houses. At the appropriate time, we shall publish the list of the Ruling Houses indicating details of the Family Tree. The Ruling Houses are in the Family Tree. Any time there is a vacuum or vacancy, we use our internal traditional mechanism to fill the vacuum.

“Every transition is unique. The prevailing circumstances always determine who should be installed as Ogiamien hence the various modes of transition: Primogeniture, Gerontocracy, Second Son, and Grandson. But the truth however is that only direct Male Children are qualified to sit on the throne of Ogiamien of Benin (Utantan) stool.

Wehere added that, recently, the Chief and Enigies under the Benin Traditional Council requested that the OGIAMIEN should tender an apology in three national newspapers for an offence we don’t know anything about. We find such requests appalling and outlandish. He concluded.

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