Enigie of Edo South Senatorial District Back Banning Of Okaegheles


Enigie of Edo South Senatorial District Back Banning Of Okaegheles

 

By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City

The Association of Enigie in Edo South Senatorial District has put its weight behind the ban placed on Okaigheles by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

The Enigie in a statement signed by its President and Secretary, Prof. Greg Akenzua and HRH Edomwonyi Iduozee Ogiegbaen, stated that
the need to curb the excesses of the Okaegheles is one that should elicit the support of all right-thinking citizens.

They noted that there is no room for indifference on this matter, or the making of political capital out of it.

“We call on all decent people of our land, to play our respective roles, to put an end to what has become the brigandage of the youth under Okaegheles, in desecration of our cherished tradition.

“We, members of the Association of Enigie join in expressing our concern about how the traditional role of Okaegheles has in recent times become a monster in Edo South Senatorial District of Edo State.

“We recall that it is because the excesses of the so called Community Development Associations (CDAs) had reached such an alarming proportion, that their ban was greeted with such popular acclaim, when His Royal Majesty, Oba of Benin, Ewuare Il in his Coronation Address about 8 years ago, pronounced the ban of Community Development Associations (CDAs),” the statement said

They further said that, this was followed by and given legal backing by the enactment of the Private Property Protection Law by Edo State Government.

Clearly that, the ban on Community Development Associations (CDAs) is what paved the way for the re-emergence to prominence of Okaegheles as the Head of the Youth Age Grade in Benin Traditional System.

“Having derived his authority from the Elders, the Okaeghele (Head of the Youths) was strictly supposed to be under the control and supervision of the Elders. Unfortunately, in a matter of a relatively short period of time, this has tumed out not to be the case. ”

According to them, With the immense resources derivable from sale of community land at their disposal, Okaegheles and their supporters, like the Community Development Associations (CDAs) of old, have become a law unto themselves. It has become a case of the tail wagging the dog. Okaegheles now decide policy, and sometimes choose who should be Odionwere and who should not.” they stated .

The Enigie alleged that, they corrupt the corruptible, and put at their beck and call lawyers, Policemen, Soldiers, other Security Agents and Palace Functionaries who are amenable to being corrupted.

Also, to maintain their hold, they acquire sophisticated firearms, create their army of armed thugs and find solace and strength in membership of secret cults with local and national spread, which they put to use as they deem fit. Little wonder, the wanton needless taking of lives that is now the order of the day in Edo Land. They dispose of huge parcels of land cheaply, and sometimes in exchange for cars and invariably end up living lavishly, building hotels, vast estates, promoting and funding cult rivalry. They stated.

Invariably, as available land is not inexhaustible, they (Okaegheles) start to resell land earlier disposed of, and instigate boundary disputes between communities that before now had lived in peace and good neighbourliness.

In this sordid tale, the Elders in the community lost control and often play alor 2 crumbs and out of fear in self preservation.

They further alleged that contrary to the well planned system of road network, for which our ancestors received accolades from time immemorial, today, new areas are characterized by narrow roads that cannot accommodate two vehicles driving side by side, roads that come to abrupt ends, cities with no provision of land for public schools, markets, playground, parks or cemeteries. In the planiessness and land grabbing that define the role of the Okaeghele, every piece and parcel of Community land is available for sale, to fill their private pockets.

It is with all of the above in mind that we can understand the reaction of the Governor of Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki, following the last Edo State Security Council meeting, wherein the decision was taken to ban the position of Okaegheles in our society.

Initially we observe that there were shared concerns over the excesses of Okaegheles between the Government and the Palace of the Oba of Benin, as was the case when Community Development Associations (CDAs) were banned. But this was until those who seek to politicize all issues went to work.

Concluding that, the Enigie of Edo South Senatorial District, joins the need to curb the excesses of the Okaegheles is one that should elicit the support of all right thinking citizens. There is no room for indifference on this matter, or the making of political capital out of it. We call on all decent people of our land, to play our respective roles, to put an end to what has become the brigandage of the youth under Okaegheles, in desecration of our cherished tradition.


  • joshua

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