Sunday, May 20, 2007
The Move Has Begun
There has been a wish held by all of Edo origins to relive the glory days of when the empire was flourishing. Contemporary Edo nation encompasses the majority of modern day Edo state, Delta state and most parts of the Western region of Nigeria up to the boundaries of Lagos state.
It is wishful thinking to believe that the old boundaries of that great empire could still be redrawn but the present Edo speaking peoples of Bini, Esan, Afenmai, Akoko Edo etc all belong to that great family who hitherto had the Oba sitting in Benin as the unifying factor and rallying force.
Though the present population of this people is as yet to be confirmed due to the various controversies that has plagued prior attempts at a population census, it is estimated that all Edo indigenes within the geographical delineation of the nation Nigeria and in the diaspora total over five million and this is being very modest.
There exists nations of the world today who have their sovereignty and can boast of less than half our population and that is a fact.
For over a hundred years, our valuables and cultural legacies pillaged during the punitive expedition of 1897 has been all over Europe, aside the financial behemoth that we have bequeathed to the globe, it is a travesty of justice that in this day and age where states and nations seek to live within the confines of our common global village, that certain vested interests are still holding on tight to those artifacts which were wrongfully wrested from our forefathers in the guise of a punitive expedition.
Meanwhile, it is a well known historical fact that these expeditions carried out in far flung places such as Japan and much closer to us here in Ghana were as a result of the need for conquests and more exactly arose during the scramble for Africa.
Now that the world has been civilized by these same interests, it behooves on all lovers of justice to seek for a reparation of these artifacts. There is no gain saying that were it to be in the present day, the perpetrators of the acts in Benin in 1897 would have been made to face war crimes charges of genocide for the acts done against the Bini people.
A hundred years have come and gone and no answers to the questions that were raised, rather we have seen the systematic erosion of historical values and norms.
We do not need another hundred years to elapse before we are given our due. Our cultural heritage must come home. With you as a part of our efforts, we shall not fail in this regard, and we will live to see that those our brothers who were sacrificed on the alter of colonial dominance and conquest did not make that sacrifice in vain.
We must one and all face this challenge as a united and Great Edo Nation...