UnityandCulturalHeritageoftheEdoPeople

The president Edo Union Barcelona, The President Nigerian Community Spain, The President Afenmai & Esan Unions of Barcelona, My Brothers and Sisters, All other protocols observed.
Introduction  Why are we here celebrating Edo Culture in far away Europe?  What is Edo Unity?  How can we enhance Edo unity to facilitate socio- economic development of Edo people?  Can we as Edo people ever go back having tasted the forbidden fruits of the foreign land?  It is only by going back or preventing others from coming out can we sustain Edo Kingdom.
When we loose our history, we loose our identity, and when we loose our identity we loose the claim of being truly human. It is in holding on to our identity to keep us being humans that we are here more than 6000 miles from Edo Kingdom and keeping our humanity alive. The foremost cultural identity is language; where there is no longer a unique means of communication of a people; the community can correctly be described as extinct. In view of sustainability of our unique way of life as Edo people, we have a great task in our hand as Pidgin English has permeated the language of the youths in our homestead. We have to fight back and we are fighting back to regain our cultural heritage.
Wa gia gha z’ Edo. Ama ze evbuomwan awiri.An army general cannot wage a war with ‘cripples’ How much can we achieve when the brainiest, the
brightest and the best have left Edo shores for greener pastures in Europe and America. We are here to
introduce or strengthen our link with our home state of Edo and through that umbilical link, we can
render services that will improve our state socio-economically, infrastructural and empowerment of
our youths and reduction of crimes.
Wa gia ya dolor Edo yi; Oya, aghaya simwin evbuomwan.
Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those
who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most that has made
it possible for evil to triumph. Edo People need to speak out always when they observe something
going wrong. Edo Global is doing that presently, but we need more hands and voices to drown the
proponents of the status quo and introduce a new order that will facilitate the progress of our people.
Many hands they say make a light work. We have to support the present Edo State government as it is
striving to remove the decay in the system in Edo State.
As Edo in the Diaspora, we have seen, we have experienced, we have felt the depth and the height of
human ingenuity we can now say collectively ‘this is the way Edo People and Edo State should go’
That is; the way of justice, the way of transparency, the way of collective responsibility, the way of
fairness, the way of honour and dignity in labour, the way of good leadership and accountability and
the way that will reduce youth crimes and stop human trafficking and prostitution by our female
youths.
In the time past, our elders worked in unity. They supported each other during the bush clearing, the
bush gathering, the burning, the subsequent land clearing, the planting, the staking and finally
harvesting and putting the yams in the barn. They helped each other. Why can we not do the same?
They supported each other in building their own homes, in marriage, in burial ceremonies, child
naming and other community celebrations. They all worked together because that is the traditional
way of life. Every child belonged to every member of the village and clan and thus protected from all
harm. When there were wars they fought together with no one shying away from the heat of battle.
Can we ever go back to our roots and develop the way of our fore fathers that kept us together?
There were age groupings, the juniors respected the elders of the clan, and the younger age group
obeyed their elders and carried out their duties according to their age group. The elders also respected
the juniors without allowing insubordination. The clan followed the leadership of the Odionwere who
in turn followed the leadership of the chiefs or Enogie who in turn followed the leadership of the Oba.
The system was foolproof. What is happening today is a far cry from what is our culture. The juniors
want to eliminate the elders by all means possible so that they can take their place. The patience of
our fathers is lost on the youth. The youth wishes to drive a Bentley without working for it. According
to Osayomore the musician, ‘You should also,try and go through the path of the car owner and decide
for yourself; if it is sweet or bitter.’ You all know the path you followed to get here. No two
individuals here have the same story. Our stories are varied as the number of our people here.
Meetings were held in the village square with the Odionwere presiding; all that may have changed as
well. To keep our culture alive, we must keep all the aspects of our culture that enhances socio-
economic growth, peace, helping each other, supporting one another and being each other’s keeper
either at home or in the Diaspora.We must maintain the family unit of father, mother, and children, single mother or single father is un-
African. Those who are not married, they should be encouraged to marry and settle down as that is
our culture. We should enhance the extended family system and continue our morning salutations. On
my mother’s side, we greet La’tose and on my fathers side we greet L’ Emore, with this, my family is
identified anywhere I greet anyone traditionally. This is an important aspect of our culture which we
should ensure we keep. Good morning and La ‘Jesu is not our culture. Our culture does not prevent
you from being a Christian or Moslem. The bible says give that which is Caesar to Caesar and that
which is God to God. You are an Edo first before being a Christian or Moslem.
For our unity to thrive in the Diaspora we should work together, progress together, interact with one
another more closely, encourage marriage within our ranks so as to sustain our tradition and culture so
that our offspring’s are not lost to the world. A tree without root will wither in no time. We should
work hard to earn a decent living in the most respectable manner as our name is being smeared by
prostitution and human trafficking. To reduce economical cost of rearing too many children, our
families must be planned and spaced as there are effective methods of contraception. The use of
barrier methods of contraception is also encouraged to reduce the likelihood of infection especially
HIV and AIDS.
The purpose of an organization like Edo Global Organization is to sustain our culture, tradition and
socio-economic progress of our people. It is to create an avenue for us to determine the course of
events in our home land. To act as a pressure group and ensure that governmental activities is for the
benefit of the greatest majority of Edo People. By Edo people I mean Edo citizens from the Atlantic
Ocean in the south to Agenebode in the North, from Evbonogbon in the west to Ubiaja in the east as
Edo people are from a single source which is Benin City. An organization is like a seedling which
should be watered and pruned to enable it thrives so that it can grow into a tree and flower and bear
fruits. You cannot reap from a seedlingss, you have to wait patiently for it to grow and develop deep
tap root and then you can cut branches for propagation. Those who are in a hurry have selected out
themselves from our organization which they will regret doing in the future because as our people say
ai zeto khe enorowa.’ You cannot barb or style the hair of the one not available.
When we also plant too many seeds too close together, it results to too much competition and over
grazing and none of the seedlings will thrive. That is why all organizations should support and feed
into Edo Global so that it can continue to blossom to achieve the original aims and objectives of its
Founder. Smaller organizations today want to use our resources to grow and stunt us in the process,
but no sensible person will allow that. Secondly, some organizations that came in seven to eight years
after us want us to join them rather than they joining us. That is also not possible because the tail
does not wag the dog. It is the dog that wags the tail. All these unhealthy competitions come because
of lack of good follower ship and good leadership. A leader is as good as the aggregate of its
followers. There are always too many critics in the house. Leaders want suggestions on how to move
from point A to point B. in the direction of progress.
Today one can say we have been encouraged by several and sickened by some, sincerely, we
can only make impact when we get involved. The scripture says the Righteous are the salt of
the earth, how can the salt sweeten the soup without being involved through the fire of
cooking and preparation? if indeed we qualify as righteous within the Edo or Nigerian
context, since we profess to know what is wrong by our commentaries and criticisms, we
should also know what to do, but we are not sufficiently empowered in that we don’t have the
executive power to right the wrongs hence we need a viable organization to act as a spear
point for Edo in the Diaspora.WHAT
IS
EDO
UNITY?
Edo are now a minority in Nigeria and if well thought out, this
status can be used to the best advantage of our people if we
present a unified front. The Edo are a monolithic unit in linguistic
terms, in terms of worship of traditional gods, physique, ancestral
origin, customs, and traditions and in being in a defined area of
the Nigerian Nation. The Edo like the Nupes, Tiv and Kanuris in
the north and the Usobo/Isoko, Ijaw and Ibibios in the south were
distinct as at the 1953 national census in Nigeria.
The concept of Benin-Edo, Esan-Edo, Afemai-Edo as espoused by
Prof. Omo Omoruyi should not really exist because there are only
one indivisible Edo people with different Edo dialects as in
Central and North senatorial districts of Edo State. The
phonetics, proverbs nuances, and phraseology are the same. The
names, their meanings and attitudes are the same. Why is this
disunity then?
We all can recall that all the Enogies in Edo Central and Edo
North senatorial districts are princes of the Benin Kingdom with
the Okaigiesan as their leader They were required at sometime
point in our history to administer these lands on behalf of the Oba
who is our spiritual leader and custodian of our customs and
traditions. The desire of one section of Edo State to seek another
traditional council stimulates disunity, the desire to create
another kingdom within Edo kingdom is seeking disunity. The
creation of a political Iyase of Esan to subjugate all the Enogies of
Edo Central senatorial district; a title unheard of in our many
centuries of history is courting disunity.
As an individual, I do not see disunity in the desire of the people
in the north and central Edo senatorial districts to seek a separate
state as working for disunity so long it is done without frictionand in good faith. The creation of Afesan State as proposed would
bring development nearer the people. The input from the Federal
government would increase into Edo kingdom. In Western
Nigeria, there are several Yoruba speaking states. Like the Egba
Yoruba, Ekiti Yoruba, Ondo Yoruba but they all pay allegiance
to their ancestral home at Ile Ife and the Oni who is the spiritual
head of the Yoruba people. The Edo spiritual head and the
custodian of our culture and tradition is the Oba of Benin no
amount of politics or wealth can rewrite or change our history.
Edo unity is speaking with one voice in dealings within the State
and
importantly the Federal government.
Edo unity is aligning and re-aligning with the government at the
centre for the benefit of our people.
Edo unity is pursuing a common goal for the benefit of Edo
people.
Edo unity is realising that although we are many and varied but
we constitute a part of a single whole which is Edo Kingdom.
Edo unity is those at the helm of affairs using the available
resources for Edo people without damaging Edo economy by
taking the people’s wealth abroad.
Edo unity is Edo in Diaspora taking active part in the issues that
concern Edo State and contributing their widow’s mite to the self-
help development of Edo State.
Edo unity is constructive criticism and the avoidance of smear
campaigns.
Edo unity is disagreeing in harmony without drawing each other’s
blood.
moreEdo unity is all things good for Edo people wherever they may
be.
Edo unity is facing our worst fears and turning our failures into
success.
Edo unity is re-orientating ourselves, our thought processes
towards honour for achievements rather than praise and respect
for ill-gotten wealth.
Edo unity is celebrating our achievements and cultural heritage.
A united Edo State is a bastion and building block for a strong
and united Nigerian Nation.
Edo carvings today rules the world as Edo created the most
popular piece of art work the Queen Idia Mask which is
popularly known as the Festac Mask. This is the symbol of Black
unity, Black struggle and emancipation in the world. It is the
emblem of numerous Black organizations all over the world. We
should not disappoint seekers of their origin from many parts of
the world by presenting a disunited front.
HOW CAN EDO UNITY BE ACHIEVED?
Edo sons and daughters are adventurous and can be found in all
corners of mother earth so they need to be brought together
under a single umbrella.
Edo Global Organization(EGO)was therefore established to
bring all Edo indigenes wherever they may be together so that
they can function as a unit in addressing issues in Edo land, and
in seeking to prioritise the development of the infrastructure,
economy, education, youth emancipation as well as development
of health services in Edo State. As the name implies, it is a globalorganization. It is acting and will continue to act as an umbrella
organization for Edo Associations in Britain, Germany, Italy,
Spain, Canada, USA, South Africa and the Netherlands etc. The
President or Chairman of these Edo Associations will be in the
Board of Trustees of EGO which will liaise directly with the Edo
State governor politically and the Oba of Benin as our spiritual
leader.
In addition, EGO has set up a list of all Edo professionals in
Diaspora which we call the FOCUS GROUP in accordance with
their specialities to act as a pool from which volunteers in
teaching, provision of healthcare, carrying out feasibility studies,
engineering, site inspection, planning and execution of
architectural and engineering projects, forest management,
people mobilization, actuarial projections, accountancy and audit
will be sent to carry out work for nominal fees for Edo people in
the state. In this way Edo state resources will be spent more
judiciously and wisely for the benefit of the people instead of
paying exorbitant consultancy fees to political surrogates and
their companies.
Various standing committees have been committed into specialist
areas like, housing, transportation, education, health, social
welfare, security,
and publicity committees etc.
These committees and governing board will co-operate with the
state government and the traditional council for the good of our
people.
The people of any great nations in the world made sacrifices to
achieve the status they have today. We must make similar
sacrifice to progress and be a source of inspiration to our
competitors in the other Nigerian Nation. If the Oheneze in theeast, Arewa in the north and Aferenifere in the west can be united and present a common front then Edo people must be united to counter these extreme forces. Our forefathers succeeded in their various endeavours, we should and must succeed. Failure is out of the question.
Finally the take home messages are that: the way of our fathers should be emulated Ikpian bor okpa e mu iru vbeto Akugbe oretin Iwane egbe ore udemwen Uma gha gba ni ma, uma gha gba ne Edo
Thank you for this opportunity to discuss these very pertinent issues with you. I wish you all travelling blessings home, a merry Xmas and a very prosperous new year. Remember we shall all meet here in Barcelona from the 18-20th of June 2010 during our annual Edo Global Organization Conference.
Iselogbe Ogbe
ma Oba ghato Okpere Ise
SEO OGBONMWAN. © December 2009.
vbe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s