Oba of Benin wants memorial site for Ovonramwen in Calabar

ALMOST 116 years after Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi joined his ancestors in Calabar, Cross River State, where he was exiled after the invasion of Benin Kingdom by Britain, the  Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba Ewuare II, has made a case for the establishment of a befitting memorial site in honour of Oba Ovonramwen in Calabar.

Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi, who was deported to Calabar in 1897 by the British imperialists, joined his ancestors in 1914 and was buried in the Cross River State capital.

The Oba of Benin, who stated this during his thank you visit to the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, said that the proposed Oba Ovonramwen memorial site would no doubt highlight the impact of colonial authority on the people’s cultures and traditions.

The Benin royal father added that such a site would become a guide and educational resource for Nigerians as well as the people of the World.

He said: “Your Eminence, distinguished ladies and gentlemen. I am here in Calabar first to follow the footsteps of my father who came on a thank you tour after his coronation.

“Secondly, to honour the memory of my great great grandfather, our father— Omo N’Oba Ovonramwen. Thirdly, to strengthen the brotherly relation and close affinity of our people. We must give all gratitude to God Almighty, the geometrician of the universe for making today’s visit possible.”

He continued: “The people of Benin and Calabar have a rich history and affinity that has not only been defined by trade but shared coexistence. It is our belief that the choice destination in 1897 being Calabar was no mere coincidence.

“We are aware of the reception and hospitality accorded to our father in those days which we shall not forget.

In this regard, we like to propose the establishment of a befitting memorial site in honour of our father, Omo N’Oba Ovonramwen. We will like to request the Cross River State government to donate a piece of land for this memorial project.

“This memorial site can also highlight the impact of colonial authority on our cultures and traditions and become a guide and educational resource for Nigerians as well as all people of the world, including the generations unborn.

Obong Edidem Abasi Otu, in his comments, said the visit was a demonstration of solidarity and love for the traditonlal institution in Nigeria.

He said: “History has been made by your coming to  pay a thank you visit after your coronation. You are not a visitor in anyway and this is very unique in our culture.

“I can tell you that Efik Kingdom is happy over the re-enactment of history. Your coming will definitely restore the tradional glory and the old relationship between Benin and Efik kingdoms.”

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