Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A King's divine responsibility

Obokhian! (Welcome)

It was claimed by the British colonists (1890s) eager to annex Kingdom of Benin in order to get at its riches and open a trading route for themselves that 'No white man has been allowed to go any distance away from the Ethiope River;’ and that the Oba  ‘had kept the Whiteman away from his people.’; and therefore not much was known about the kingdom.

It was the case in many cultures and civilisations before worldwide Western influence, that it was taken for granted that a king had the divine responsibility to prevent barbarian influence on his people and to stop secrets of the kingdom getting out. At its height, the Kingdom of Benin had the best trained army which used cutting edge scientific tactics in warfare and for this it was revered by all its neighbours,who sought its prtection against foregner invaders. However when the British arrived on the scene, they chose to refer to these skills as savagedom; without getting to see them in action with their own eyes but instead relying on hearsay and there were many about with colourful tales to tell and no doubt it all suited the Britsh intentions perfectly well. This was contrary to previous European traders stance (the Portuguese and Dutch) who traded with the kingdom on equal terms and respected their way of life.

With history judging His Majesty Omon'Oba n'Edo Oba Ovonramwen, it is quite clear that he performed his duty of safeguarding his people against barbaric influence (richness at all cost); he along with all his ancestors had ensured good provision of food and other amenities for the people. As far as we know no Benin king ever demanded that their statues are erected in all their cities for self glorification sake. They instead,  along with their Chiefs safeguarded their cultures and way of life; passing these on to the next generation. Thanks to this sedulousness, the Benin culture survives today in spite of all that has taken place.

                                                                  Oba gha'to; Okpere!

                        Long Live the King!

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