Benin descendants seek cross-cultural, historical interactions with Itsekiri
Descendants of Benin Kingdom in Edo State have solicited historical and cultural interactions with their filial Itsekiri brothers in Delta State through a synergy between the Institute for Benin Studies and Itsekiri Historical Group.
The youths, under the aegis of Association of Great Benin Descendants who visited the Olu of Warri, HRM Ogiame Ikenwoli in his palace in Warri, recently expressed the desire to participate in all cultural activities of the Warri Kingdom.
The entourage, led by the Cooridinator-General, Imasuen Amowie Izoduwa, thanked Ogiame Ikenwoli for deploying Chief Johnson Atserunleghe, the Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom to represent him at the group’s programme with the theme Aghadaghada which was held recently.
“Our group will love to, henceforth, participate in all cultural activities in your kingdom, so as to be culturally infused into the ways and practices of your people and we will also ensure that the courtesy is extended to your people should they want to participate in the culture of the Benin people.
“We believe that if we constantly and consciously exchange our cultural affinities, we will start to unconsciously learn and appreciate the bond that had existed between these two kingdoms,” the association said.
It also pleaded with the Olu of Warri to assume the position of grand patron of the association “as it will mean a lot to us as a group where His Majesty’s profound wisdom will be very critical in guiding us through the muddy waters of distractions and propel us into achieving the mandate given to us by God and our ancestors.”
The group expressed its belief in the possibility of the traditional institutions of Benin and Warri to create “an enviable future for generations yet unborn by digging deep into the history of our connectivity and not dwell on the colonialist ideals of separation that has divided us through politics.”
Responding to the requests, the Olu of Warri expressed delight in the courtesy visit of the descendants from the Benin kingdom.
The traditional ruler described the zeal and desire of the Benin descendants to preserve their history and culture as commendable while accepting the mooted cultural interaction between the two kingdoms.
He, however, declined the position of grand patron, but accepted to be just a patron, saying the position of the grand patron exclusively belongs to the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, whom, he said, he holds in great esteem.
“I will like to say that you already have a grand patron which is Oba Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin.
“I respect the Oba so much. I can’t claim his position of grand patron; so I will grant your request by being just a patron and not a grand patron. I will also like to say that you should make this place your home. Don’t be scared of coming to the palace whenever you feel like because it is your home,” HRM Ogiame Ikenwoli noted.