The Benin Traditional Council (BTC) has taken steps to address misconceptions regarding the structure of the Benin Traditional Institution. In a recent statement by its solicitors, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George, SAN, and Prof. Edoba Omoregie, SAN, the BTC affirmed that the Oba of Benin holds the sole position of traditional ruler in the entirety of the Edo South Senatorial District, encompassing the Benin Kingdom.
The statement provided comprehensive clarification on the organization of the traditional institution within the district, which comprises seven local government areas: Oredo, Egor, Ikpoba-Okha, Ovia South West, Ovia North East, Orhionmwon, and Uhunmwonde.
Emphasizing the exclusive role of the Oba of Benin, the BTC outlined key points to rectify misunderstandings:
- The Oba of Benin is the sole traditional ruler in the entire Edo South Senatorial District, encompassing the seven local government areas of the Benin Kingdom.
- Other traditional title holders within these areas are designated as chiefs appointed by the Oba of Benin and do not share the status of traditional rulers.
- Notably, the Enigie (chiefs) within the seven local government areas represent the Oba of Benin in various communities, acting under the authority of the Oba.
- The Enigie maintain a subordinate position to the Oba of Benin and are required to communicate with the Oba through the Palace Chiefs, the designated traditional channel.
The BTC clarified that this established traditional hierarchy is well-defined by Benin Customary Law and further affirmed in the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict 1979 (as applicable in Edo State). The council urged the public to understand and acknowledge this structure, dismissing any misleading information regarding the status of traditional title holders in the Benin Kingdom.
The statement underscored that the Oba of Benin maintains the sole status of traditional ruler within the Edo South Senatorial District and the well-established structure remains in accordance with prevailing laws and cultural traditions.
In sum, the Benin Traditional Council reiterated that the unique status of the Oba of Benin as the paramount traditional ruler is deeply rooted in the region’s history, culture, and legal framework.