PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday in Benin called on traditional rulers across the country to continue to build bridges of unity and oneness to promote national development.
Buhari made the call at the official launch of the Book Entitled “The Benin Monarchy, an Anthology of Benin History” held in Benin City on Saturday in commemoration of the 2nd coronation anniversary of the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II.
Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd) also commended the Benin monarchy for the remarkable effort to tell the history of the Benin Kingdom to avoid distortion that may arise from allowing others to seize the narrative.
In his remark, Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki assured on plans to build the Benin Royal Museum to preserve Benin heritage and retrieve stolen artefacts.
President Buhari, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha commended the good relationship that exists between the Sultanate and the Benin Kingdom, saying it should cut across the country.
He said that traditional institutions must continue to stay abreast with the digital changes in the world and should not allow the changes affect the preservation of customs, languages and traditions of the people.
Buhari congratulated the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II and the council of chiefs for preserving the Benin culture, saying that the Benin kingdom is a role model to others.
He further called on traditional rulers across the country to join the federal government in preaching against hate speech and resist money politics as the 2019 elections draw near.
The Chairman of the occasion, Gen Yakubu Gowon, commended the outstanding features of the Benin Monarchy, and described the book as a masterpiece that “tells African history by Africans”
“One of the tragedies of Africa is that our story has always been told by others from their own perspectives and with their own purpose.
“The result is that much of the narratives of our continent have been a distortion. Against this background, we appreciate the impact of this singular effort of telling the history of Benin Kingdom,” he said.
Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan said the Benin kingdom has always made the country proud via its rich history and well-structured governance system.
Jonathan commended the Oba of Benin for his resourcefulness and protection of the Benin people.
In his remark, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, assured that the Benin Royal Museum would be built and completed before the end of 2021.
He said he made the decision recently at a meeting of The Benin Dialogue Group which is made up of all prominent museums in Europe.
“We also got the commitment of the group to return many of the works that were taken from the palace during the expedition in 1987,” the governor said.
In his address, His Royal Majesty Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolo kpolo, Oba Ewuare II, commended all who have supported him since his ascension to the throne, saying his mandate is to prioritise the welfare of Edo people.
He said the 7-kg book being launched was a compendium of the great history of a great people and would also be showcased in London, the United States of America, amongst other countries.
He said the Oba Ewuare II satellite Town which is also being built in commemoration of his 2nd coronation anniversary was modelled to booster youth employment, create jobs in the agro-allied industry as well as cater for the general welfare of Edo people.
Dignitaries at the event included the Sultan of Sokoto, former governors of Edo State, Chief John Odigie Oyegun and Adams Oshiomhole, as well as the Vice Chancellor of University of Benin, Prof Faraday Orumwense amongst others.