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The Ewere leaves are extraordinary leaves in Benin - Edo land, the leaves personify love, peace, unity, community cohesion and deep affection. Do you think we have accorded this leaf its pride of place in our annual celebration?
The Benin people are very distinctive tribe, they can identify their citizens around the world through ukhu na tue vbedo but, what we are not doing as a tribe are countless. I am concerned about the low keyed celebration accorded to Ewere festival in our traditional and cultural calendar. The Ewere festival is a carnival of love that is not celebrated in Benin - Edo land in ostentatious and flamboyant form by the custodian of this unique culture. The Ewere festival is not related to any deities or occultism. The Ewere leaf itself is an adorable and serene leaf amongst leaves, it grows only in a virgin thick foliage and shrubbery of uncultivated green rain forest, the aroma of calmness the Ewere leaves induces in the tropical rain forest or in the river side is magnificent. The origins of Ewere, Ewere nor yo yo festival is shrouded in mystery but the idea and purpose are indeed overdue for collective discussion, I think it was introduced due to political upheaval, perhaps a member of this forum can tell us the inception and purpose of Ewere festival and how it compliment igue festival; but what can we do to add colour and glamour to its exceptional role in Benin - Edo land, can we elevate it to a carnival status like the Notting hill and Rio de Janiro carnivals?
‘everything that is our heritage have been left to aliens and alien cultures to desecrate, some of our sons and daughters who have been indoctrinated that alien religion and way of life are superior than the Benin civilizations are community workers for foreign civilization and way of life lamented Benson Osayomwanbor Ibude. Now our highly rated ancestral architectural buildings along Akpakpava road, Mission road, forestry road, Sapkoba ooad and Sapele Road have been sold to alien financial institutions so providentially, my grand father’s house with four Oteghodos is still intact along Igbesanmwan street.’
The Ewere festival is the only festival of love that is not properly celebrated, everything that is our heritage have been left to aliens and alien cultures to desecrate, some of our sons and daughters who have been indoctrinated that alien religion and way of life are superior than the Benin civilizations are community workers for foreign civilization and way of life. Now our highly rated ancestral architectural buildings along Akpakpava, Mission road, Forestry Road, Sapkoba Road and Sapele Road have been sold to alien financial institutions, providentially my grand father’s house with four Oteghodos is still intact along Igbesanmwan street, it is a shame that some of my uncles houses have been sold to this manacing alien culture, Benin City ancient mud family homes should be left alone; stop destroying our ancestral homes, create financial street along Ikpoba river. What about the Biniman’s apparel, our traditional dresses and our distinctive fanciful beads are not related to any culture on earth, we also have special cuisines, vegetables, root crops that are only ever exclusive to the Benin people.
I am not saying here that we are superior to any tribe but the Benin people have a responsibility to preserve what has been bestowed to us from time immemorial. Again two years ago, I complained about the dearth of probity and good governance at Oredo local government and other Benin local government – Egor, Ikpoba Okha, Orhionwon, Ovia North East, Ovia South West and uhumwinde LG. I wrote later that we should establish a distinctive socio-political association that would train Benin leaders and assigned them, since then that wish has been gathering momentum under the auspices of Edo associations.
I will not write about what i cannot attest to in this forum, the Ewere festival is a harbinger of peace, the maiden who are the messengers of peace would wake up early in the morning to collect fresh Ewere leaves, they would dance and sing sonorous traditional praise songs from house to house to wash away the past ills and they would sing and dance to eulogize God almighty - Osanoghodua or Osanudazie not any deity or idol; the Benin man is not an idol worshipper as regularly misrepresented by many of our critics, a highly civilized Biniman who knows his culture worship Osanudazie by being morally upright or through adopted alien gods, most deities and mini gods adopted by the Binis are alien to the Benin people. The songs of praises of the Ewere maiden dancers would change to crave God Almighty to bestow peace, progress and prosperity for their host who will give them a token for their prayers in exchange for a portion of the Ewere leaf. After the Ewere procession my late grand mother madame Iyegbekokun Osaigie nee Ekhator Ugboma would make or re Ewere presence of 42 native and hausa kolanuts to our neighbours, uncles and well wishers – top on the list were the Omoguis, The Ighodaros, Uduevbo, Aburimen, Osagie, Agharevbo, The Fadakas, Noruwa, Odia, Ehanire and all the known Ugbomas at Ogbe. My brothers and i who were the gift bearers are affectionately called oviedede - the child of an old woman to these days.
The uniqueness of our civilization and our way of life are preserved in our culture and Edo vocabularies. The Biniman is liberal, equitable, reasonable, fair and a very good administrator, you may laugh if i opined here that Oba ya oto se evbebo- Our king own the land that stretched to the whiteman’s land, it depicts that we have always lived independently, we never migrated from any place; Edoesiagbon – that Benin city some people deliberately made impoverish is the beginning of the world; so any councillor or the chairman of Oredo local government should be a seasoned administrator, somebody that knows our history, values and the authority of that office, not a thief or some migrants whose father’s house is not within the radius of Oredo or a personality who will not be mindful of bringing shame and disrepute to their family names and our people but only interested in amassing wealth and powerful status that is not relevant to Oredo and the Edo people. Those who could have taken the rein of leadership from a very tired Dr Osaigbovo Ogbemudia bought the position and brought shame and disrepute to their family and the Edo people; it is not really safe to say that most past Edo politicians were not really interested in performance and preserving their good name by engaging in meaningful development, but they don’t have the intuitive political knowledge. Politics is meant for those who have political vision to make contemporary changes. If the people’s governor takes the searchlight to other Edo south senatetorial local government, the level of treachery and dishonesty are even higher than Oredo, like the Ping-Pong or pepper soup politics current being politically made correct by Edo state House of assembly, every development project in the State has been frustrated by members, we are aware that they do not use the same road as us as 4x4s and hilux deeps would fly on our pot-hole dotted roads effortlessly but what about our children, they need that Universal primary Education fund money? Silient you! our honourable members will not send their children to our dangerous primary schools, not even our UNIBEN that has been conquered by aliens, all their children are in private schools abroad.
Finally, the Ewere festival will be bigger than Notting Hill and Rio de Janiro somedays because, Benin people have every reason to bring their people together, celebrate and take stock of their progress.