His majesty Oba Ewuare II during the press conference this afternoon in Benin
The Governor of Nigeria’s midwestern State of Edo is in the news again. Obaseki is set for a collision course with the Benin monarchy over artefacts looted from the palace of the Benin monarchy during the punitive destruction of the city by the British in 1897. These artefacts have been subjects of discussion in recent times as various museums across Europe contemplate their return to Benin.

Enter Obaseki who has been touting the idea of a private trust to take custody of, and manage the ancient precious artworks. The palace disagree with this idea and instead would want the artworks to be returned to the palace where they were looted.

At a rare press conference this afternoon in Benin, his royal majesty Oba Ewuare II, while maintaining his stand to promote peace in the land, reiterated the palace position on the matter, stressing that the artworks should be returned to the place they were looted originally.

According to the revered monarch the palace had concluded plans to build a museum within its grounds to host these artworks, adding that the museum would be managed by the federal and state government.

But Governor Obaseki has other ideas. Hear him shortly before he jetted out to Germany with the Minister of Information Lai Mohammed to negotiate the batch of the artworks to be returned by that country:

“I intend to work with the Oba of Benin in an arrangement that would be led by the federal government,” adding that he was working on a tripartite arrangement, involving the federal and state governments, the Oba of Benin and a private trust that would manage the artefacts on behalf of the palace and the people. The Oba is not in support of a private company appropriating what rightfully belongs to him and his people.

Obaseki has been fighting dirty war with political and interest groups in the state, including his now estranged godfather Adams Oshiomhole, elected members of the state House of Assembly, members of his new party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, among others. He is about or has just added the monarchy to his lengthy list of adversaries.