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Edo Community Celebrates 288-year-old Festival



By Patrick Ochoga, Benin City

The traditional ruler of Igarra in Edo State, Oba Emmanuel Adeche Saiki, the Otaru of Igarra, has called for unity among the families and people of Igarra as the community gears up activities to celebrate the 288 years old Aba festival.

The monarch was reacting to a publication on alleged headship of clans in the community which he said was a ploy to distort history. He said the Otaru of Igarra is the paramount ruler of Igarra/Akuku clan and not head of Ezi-Ezu only as reported in the said publication.

In a statement by the Palace Secretary, Elder Folorunsho Dania and made available to journalists, he said the issue of chieftaincy mentioned in the said write up have since been settled through various court judgements and Commissions of Enquiry dating several years ago and recent court rulings.

The statement said the interview granted by the Otaru of Igarra which generated the reaction did not in any way undermine the rights of any family in Igarra with regards to the custodianship of Aba Drum and any other drums in Igarra.

He said the truth of the traditional ruler of the community could be confirmed from “Declarative Judgement of Native Court at Auchi case No 4/34 of 1934; Halim Commission of Enquiry of 1968D.B. Partridge Chieftaincy Report in Bendel State of 1977; Justice Ighodaro Chieftaincy Review Commission of 1978; Declaration of Customary Law Regulating Succession to the Traditional Ruler Title of Igarra 1981; Judgement of Libel Case in favour of HRH Oba E.A. Saiki II (JP) the Otaru of Igarra in July 2010; Omosun Commission of Enquiry Episode through Court of Appeal in Benin 1981.

Others are the Western region of Chief Law  1957; Akoko-Edo District Council Declaration of 1959. In all these, there is nowhere it was said that Otaru is the clan head of Ezi-Ezu as believed but rather affirmed that Otaru is the Paramount Traditional Ruler of the entire Igarra land irrespective of all families in Igarra.”