THE GOVERNORSHIP OF BENIN RIVER – THE GOVERNORSHIP OF CHIEF IDIARE (1851-70)

THE GOVERNORSHIP OF CHIEF IDIARE (1851-70)

We have mentioned earlier that the Governor of the Benin River was a Royal appointee. Now that there was no OLU, who had the right to appoint one?

Naturally, IYE with her National Council which had been intimidated by the slaves thought that it was their right to appoint one.
IDIARE on the other hand, coming from a Family which had twice held the post, could have thought that he had a legitimate right to the position.
His Family was responsible for Crowning the OLU and although the OLU was responsible for the appointment, the decision was generally that of the Council of Chiefs of which the UWANGWE was Chief Spokesman.

The conflict between the Royals headed by IYE and the OLOGBOTSERE-UWANGWE Group headed by IDIBOFUN and IDIARE could best be seen from the fact of the absence of the Royals from the Conference in which IDIARE was adopted as the Candidate for the Governorship.
*Could IDIARE wait and allow the British to make Ebrimoni, a slave, the Governor of Benin River? The Royals were not in a position to present any Candidate. The Chiefs operating in the Benin River had a stake and they were present.

‪#‎The‬ first duty of the Governor soon after his appointment was to Sign a one-sided Treaty with the British in which he guaranteed the protection of all the White Traders operating along the Benin River.
1. He agreed that if he and the other signatories of the Treaty for any reason detained or molested any of these, they would court the anger of Her Britannic Majesty who would send Naval Force to offer protection.
2. While Traders were to pay the Comey (Custom Duties) but if at any time the Governor refused to receive it, the White Merchants could trade regardless.
3. If for any reason, the Trade was stopped by the ITSEKIRI Chiefs, they would pay a fine.

The first problem created for IDIARE was that he would have to patrol the whole of the Coastline to ensure that British Merchants were not ill-treated.
He did not receive any pay for this. The Comey was generally shared out and the Royals had some claim to part of it. From his own personal resources, he would have the to fortify his War Canoes, employ a large Naval Force to enforce his rule.

He could not stop trade to force the White Merchants to obey his rule. He was denied the legitimate right open to him for controlling Trade within the ITSEKIRI Territorial Waters.
*The British Merchants believed that he had been appointed by them and therefore hoped that he would act in their interest, if not they would recommend his removal.
*At the same time, he had to contend with the activities of the Royals who were not prepared to accept his authority.
The need to control trade in order to obtain enough wealth to carry out his duties, soon brought him into conflict with the members of the OLOGBOTSERE-UWANGWE Group some of whom moved out of JAKPA.

We shall see in this episode the various conflicts which made his Governorship a turbulent period. In his attempt to safeguard ITSEKIRI Interests, he had conflict with the British.

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