In a bid to dispel misconceptions, the Benin Traditional Council (BTC) has issued a comprehensive clarification regarding the hierarchy and structure of the traditional institution within the Benin Kingdom. The BTC emphasized that the Oba of Benin is the sole traditional ruler across the entirety of the seven local government areas encompassing the Edo South Senatorial District, which constitutes the Benin Kingdom.
The statement was made by the BTC’s solicitors, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George, SAN, and Prof. Edoba Omoregie, SAN. They stated, “It has come to the attention of the Benin Traditional Council, the only competent traditional council in all the seven Local Government Areas of Edo South Senatorial District, that there is a complete misunderstanding of the true structure of the traditional institution of the Benin Kingdom and invariably the Benin Traditional Council.”
The Benin Traditional Council, with utmost clarity, reiterated the following key points:
- Oba of Benin’s Authority: The Oba of Benin is the sole traditional ruler across the seven local government areas comprising the Edo South Senatorial District in the Benin Kingdom.
- Traditional Title Holders: Other traditional title holders within these areas are regarded as chiefs, appointed by the Oba of Benin. This includes the Enigie, who represent the Oba of Benin in their respective communities.
- Enigie’s Role: The Enigie do not possess the status of traditional rulers but serve as chiefs, acting as representatives of the Oba of Benin. They are subordinate to the Oba of Benin and communicate with him through Palace Chiefs.
The BTC emphasized that this hierarchical structure is deeply rooted in Benin’s customary laws and traditions, as well as the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict of 1979. The Council urged the public to disregard misinformation circulating about the status of traditional title holders in the Benin Kingdom.
The council concluded by asserting that the unique structure of the traditional institution in the Benin Kingdom is well-established in extant laws and cultural norms, and there is no traditional ruler sharing the Oba’s status within the Edo South Senatorial District’s seven local government areas.
With this comprehensive clarification, the Benin Traditional Council aims to set the record straight and ensure accurate understanding of the traditional hierarchy within the Benin Kingdom.