By Desmond Ogudu
The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said that the State Government will collaborate with the Benin Dialogue Group (BDG) to develop the State’s tourism potential to improve, preserve and exploit the State’s cultural heritage for the people’s common good.
Governor Obaseki, who was represented by his Deputy, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, disclosed this at a dinner organised by the State Government for members of the Benin Dialogue Group at Government House in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The BDG is spearheading engagement with stakeholders on the plans to construct a new Royal Museum in Benin.
He said the collaboration on tourism development will enable the State Government attract tourists from across the globe, especially during festivals.
Obaseki noted that in addition to collaborating with the group to construct the Royal Museum, the State Government will partner with the BDG to understudy United Kingdom in fine tuning its plans to generate huge revenue from tourism.
He commended the group for their effort in the repatriation of artifacts stolen from the Benin Kingdom in 1897, adding, “You are welcome to Benin and we are excited that the battle of the repatriation of artifacts stolen from us in 1897 has commenced. Discussions on building a Royal Museum in the Kingdom are ongoing. Our continuous collaboration will foster unity, progress and good life for Edo people.”
The Governor added that the collaboration between the State Government and the Palace of the Oba of Benin has yielded positive results in terms of economic growth and development, noting, “Edo people have continued to benefit from the smooth relationship and collaboration between the Oba of Benin and the Governor Obaseki-led administration’.
“The Oba made a pronouncement against activities of Community Development Associations (CDA) and the Governor supported it, and today, CDA is history. Same goes for curbing the menace of illegal migration and human trafficking in the State”, he added.
Spokesman, Benin Dialogue Group, Jonathan Fine, said members of the BDG from Australia, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom are in Edo State to engage in the process of constructing the new Royal Museum in Benin Kingdom.
He said the move became necessary to provide safe centre to house the historical artifacts from around the world which were taken from the kingdom in 1897, noting that the Museum will display Benin history, creativity, culture and artistic presence.
He added, “It is great to know that we all are united for a common purpose of celebrating and promoting the culture of the Benin Kingdom, the Government and the good people of the State.”