There is palpable tension and outrage in Edo State over suspected execution of Islamisation agenda by some northern elements planning to install one Idris Adanno as Sultan of Shuwa Arabs in the state on Saturday August 21. Already, a widely circulated invite to the coronation ceremony is trending on social media. Shuwa Arabs are an ethnic group from Borno State. The scheduled event, according to the invite, would take place at the Rialto Hotel, Eyaen, in the outskirts of Benin City, owned by a Duke in Benin Kingdom, Osazuwa Aiwerioghene Iduriase. Iduriase has however distanced himself from the event.
This development has elicited indignation and condemnation on social media, particularly Facebook, and WhatsApp platforms by various youth groups and individuals, especially in Benin Kingdom, who are challenging the state government and the palace of the Oba of Benin to stop the event, which they perceive as an attempt to balkanize the ancient Benin Kingdom. What they were however oblivious of was that the Shehu of Borno had on August 4, 2021, turbaned one Adam Harun with the same title. This implies a divide in the ranks of the Shuwa Arab community in the state.
Expressing anger at the development, President of Benin Solidarity Movement (BSM), Curtis Eghosa Ugbo, said Benin indigenes would do whatever it would take to resist what he described as “evil act” by persons who are bent on fomenting trouble.
Ugbo swore that “This will never happen in Benin Kingdom, we are Benin”.
In his reaction, the Coordinator-General of Great Benin Descendants (GBD), Imasuen Izoduwa said the organization would meet and lock up the hotel-venue of the coronation for allowing “such nonsense” in the land.
According to Izoduwa, “We will meet later today (Thursday) so we can lock up that hotel by tomorrow or next for allowing such nonsense in our land. Enough is enough; I will no longer take any of this in our Kingdom”.
Reacting in a similar manner, a bewildered Comrade Amos Ehinomen Uagbor said: “Is this obtainable elsewhere? We should now have OBA and Sultan in Edo state? In fact, the venue should be sealed”.
However, in his reaction, the Enogie of Eyaen, in a press statement he personally signed, described the publication of the use of his hotel for the event as “malicious and was done in bad faith”. Iduriase explained that the people in question approached him that they wanted to use the hotel for a party, “and later turned it to a coronation ceremony of Sultan of Shuwa Arab of Edo State without his consent”.
According to him, as a traditional ruler and custodian of the culture and tradition of Benin people, he was very much aware of the implication of such coronation ceremony in Benin Kingdom and that he would never be part of it directly or indirectly.
The Enogie of Eyaen further stated that he “is aware that there can never be two kings in Benin Kingdom in whatever guise and that the Benin Kingdom recognizes the existence of only one Sultan in Nigeria which is the Sultan of Sokoto”. He therefore warned those planning to use Rialto Hotel for such coronation ceremony “to desist immediately”. He said his investigation revealed that the said group had not made any financial commitment to the hotel for the said event “but went ahead to publicise it in the media, a situation he described as “a calculated attempt to bring his name and that of Rialto Hotel to public ridicule and disrepute”.
The mobile phone numbers of the organisers on the online card could not be reached for the purpose of obtaining their reaction as the calls failed to connect.