On Thursday 20th October 2016, Governor Oshiomhole of Edo State presented the new Oba of Benin with staff of office. Oba Ewuare II is the 40th Oba of Kingdom of Benin.
The Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari did not attend the ceremony but instead sent his prime minister.
The issues that smack one in the face are:
1) The Governor of Edo state presented the staff of office to the Oba.
2) The president of Nigeria did not see the ceremony as important enough for him to attend.
The above show the position of the Oba of Benin in the current Nigerian system of government which was introduced by the British in order to dispose of and to curtail the powers of the reigning monarchs they met in place in their colonies.
In Britain the Prime minister does not present the monarch with the staff of office. Instead the Head of the Church of England which the monarch is head of performs the ceremony. No government position is head of the British monarch.
Note of fact
The Benin treasures, bronzes plaques and others were commissioned by the reigning Obas who were then Head of Government of the Kingdom and had sole authority over matters of state. The Obas and their chiefs only ruled their kingdom when these works were commissioned.
Points to consider
Could those in authority in present day Nigeria want to exercise their powers over the debated treasures and where does that leave the legitimate owners of the works?
How would the treasures fare in a political landscape different from the one they were commissioned in?
Who would their judicial protection lie with?
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