28 November, 2022
Coalition of Bini Socio-Cultural Group’s Press Conference of November 22, 2022 On The Coronation of The AGADAGBA of Egbema Kingdom, His Royal Majesty Meshach E. Ubabiri: The Position Of Egbema Youth Council
The attention of the Egbema Youth Council (EYC) has been drawn to an online publication by a group of apparently disgruntled, self-seeking persons under the name ‘Coalition of Benin Socio- Cultural Organization’ headed by one Osazee Amas Edobor, a group earlier denounced by the Governor of Edo State. The group who are more like young school leavers practicing the art of writing, sacrilegiously referred to The Agadagba of Egbema Kingdom, Bini Pere IV, His Royal Majesty Amb Meshach E. Ubabiri as “one Meshach Ubabiri”
The Egbema Kingdom cuts across Delta and Edo states with one ancestry, an indivisible kingdom in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State and Ovia South-West and Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Areas of Edo State. Specifically, we are indigenous to Delta and Edo states. Before the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria in 1914, we were in this land and also, when the Mid-West was recreated into Bendel State, till 1991 when Delta was created out of the defunct Bendel State. However, to subjugate and dominate our people, the neocolonialists balkanized us by using the river-line delineation in what they called political and administrative convenience to put us in two states.
The press conference of the Coalition of Bini group is the the hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob. We are not surprised. When HRM Godwin Ogunoyibo, Alagbabunafa III, the Agadagba of Olodiama Kingdom was crowned, the Bini Traditional Council forced the Government of Edo State to issue a similar statement to take position against its own citizen of Ijaw ethnic nationality in Edo State. The Ijaws and Nigerians condemned the government position on the matter. It was rightly regarded as outrageous that government could take side and exhibit such unwholesome conduct in the 21st Century and in a democracy.
Realizing the security implications of the incongruous statement, the government of Governor Godwin Obaseki opted for dialogue with Ijaw leaders. The meeting finally took place in the Edo state Government House on 19th December, 2017. When asked by the press what his thoughts were on the demands of the Ijaws for recognition of their five kingdoms, their kings and the creation of an homogeneous local government council, he acknowledged that Ijaws are part of Edo State People. By implication, they’re citizens of Edo State who can have their kings including a local council of their own. Therefore, we referred these misguided group to Galaxy Television, Nation Newspaper and Vanguard Newspaper of December 20, 2017 to get the full statement of Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State.
A kingdom is territorial and everyone is governed by their king except where it is not in practice and for the conquered. We have never been conquered, not even by the British, unlike the Binis. This imperialist attitude contributed to the downfall of the kingdom in 1897, a lesson they are yet to learn from. Having been profiled by their imperialist and domineering activities, they have been unable to realise their occupation agenda of Ijaw territories so far. This is not the age of imperialism and cannibalism.
For the purposes of further enlightenment of the self-acclaimed group, and for the undiscerning public not to be left with a false impression of the overlordship of the Oba of Benin and the status of the Ijaws of Edo State, we wish to state as follows:-
- That the Ijaws are Aborigines of Edo State. The great Bini historian, Chief Dr. Jacob Uwagboe Egharevba of blessed memory (1893-1981) in his book, A Short History of Benin Kingdom, made it crystal and emphatically clear that the Binis met human inhabitants in the places now called Ijaw Ancestral Lands when they escaped from Oduduwa Kingdom in Ile-Ife.
Chief Dr. Jacob U. Egharevba demonstrably pontificated that the Binis came across several rivers and streams and met people whose daily livelihood was tied to these rivers and streams. These people are the Ijaws and, according to Chief Dr. Egharevba, these people helped the hordes of warriors from Ile-Ife to cross over the areas in the present Benin Kingdom.
Chief Dr. Egarevba of blessed memory was a Bini man, a member of the Iwebo society, a custodian of the Bini tradition, a highly celebrated historian of his time, the first and the best Curator of the Benin Museum told the truth. It is possible that most of these Binis leaving Ile-Ife were coming in contact with streams and rivers for the first time in their lives. The Binis are a very aquaphobic people while the Ijaws live nearby or on rivers and streams where they conduct fishing and other activities connected to their livelihood.
The Ijaws have a distinct culture and tradition that is diametrically opposed to that of the Binis. There are five Ijaw kingdoms in Edo state namely Egbema, Okomu, Furupagha, Gbarain, and Olodiama. The Ijaws are the aborigines and original owners of the lands where they are domiciled in Edo state. The Ijaws are the indigenous owners of their ancentral land and rivers of Ofunama, Ajakurama, Gbeoba, Bolou-Jamagie, Jamagie, Abere, Ugboama, Safarogbo, Gelegele, Inikorogha, Okomu, Gbelebu, etc with a population of approximately one million five hundred thousand people. Unfortunately, they are balkanized into three local government areas of Ovia South-West, Ovia North-East and Ikpoba Okha Local Government Areas.
- The Kingdom of Egbema, under the leadership of Agadagba, is gazetted by the government of the defunct Bendel State with reference Section 8 of the Bendel State Traditional Rulers and Chief Edict 1979. This gazette gave legal backing to the status of the Agadagba of Egbema Kingdom. Before the formal recognition of the government, we have had several kings spanning over 400 years. We have lived in our present location for over 1000 years (since about 1170AD) and no force on earth will change it or relocate us.
- Nevertheless, at the core of the inordinate ambition of the Bini people is the desire to control the oil and gas resources in the form of rent, royalties and tributes, which heightens the oppression and marginalisation and intimidation of the Ijaws of Edo State by the state government. The obsolete idea of subjugation is long gone. All over the world, regardless of social and cultural differences, small and big nations co-exist side by side. But Bini imperialism will not accept that reality.
Peace is crucial to the success of every government and the prosperity of her people. Government both at the state and the Federal and indeed all security agencies are therefore, enjoined to call these recalcitrants Bini group to order. We have endured the yoke of Bini imperialsm by denying us our rightful place in EDOSOPADEC representation in NDDC and in the state Executive Council. We would conclude by alluding to the famous quote by J.F Kennedy, the former president of United States of America,
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” A word is enough for the wise.
COMR. CITY KELVIN EFERUSUOA.
PRESIDENT GENERAL, EGBEMA YOUTH COUNCIL (EYC)
COMR. GOVERNOR EKPOKEMI.
GENERAL SECRETARY, EGBEMA YOUTH COUNCIL (EYC)