Sunday, January 12, 2020 4:59 pm
By Jethro Ibileke
The Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, has called for the establishment of a memorial site in Calabar, Cross River State, in honour of his ancestor, Oba Ovonramwen N’gbasi.
The Monarch stated this last weekend, during his thank you visit to the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V.
He noted that he visit will also strengthen the brotherly relationship and affinity between the people of Benin and Calabar.
Oba Ovonramwen was deported to Calabar in 1897 by the British imperialists, during their invasion of Benin City. He later joined his ancestors there in 1914.
According to the Benin Monarch, the proposed Oba Ovonramwen memorial site will highlight the impact and significance the colonial authority had on the people’s indigent cultures and traditions.
He added that such site would become a guide and educational resource for Nigerians as well as the people of the World.
“Your Eminence, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am here in Calabar today (Saturday), 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 grand father, our father, Omo N’Oba Ovonramwen.
“Thirdly, to strengthen the brotherly relation and close affinity of our people. Therefore, we must give all gratitude to God Almighty, the geometrician of the universe, for making today’s visit possible.
“The people of Benin and Calabar have a rich history and affinity that has not only been defined by trade and shared co-existence. 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 for the establishment of a befitting memorial site in honour of our father, Omo N’Oba Ovonramwen. We would 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 and significance the colonial authority had on our indigent cultures and traditions and become a guide and educational resource for Nigerians as well as all people of the world, including the generations unborn to be educated and enlightened on the impact of our contact with the Western World,” he stated.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, commended the visiting Monarch, describing the visit as historical.
He said: “History has been made for you to come and 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 the Efik Kingdom would be very happy that this history and re-enactment would continue.
“Your coming would definitely restore the traditional glory and the old relationship between the Benin and Efik kingdoms.”
High point of the visit was the presentation of gift, special masquerade and a bag containing chewing sticks, which symbolises the traditional culture of the Efik people.