The Edo State Government is collaborating with the National Commission for Museum and Monument (NCMM) to create a dynamic cultural hub in the state with the development of the Edo Museum of West Africa Arts (EMOWAA).
Governor Godwin Obaseki disclosed this while receiving the Director General of the NCMM, Prof. Abba Isa Tijani, who was on a courtesy visit to Government House, in Benin City.
Obaseki said a museum is a public good consumed by all and his administration is creating a system that generations unborn will benefit from.
“It would not be ideal to appropriate it to any institution but to create a system for it to be for public good and general use. We want to create something that generations unborn will benefit.
“In my second term inauguration speech, I made it very clear that our developmental efforts will be driven by our cultural past. The Benin Empire is not by accident.”
“Our focus is to create a massive cultural hub and cultural infrastructure that will be a pride to the black race and the Nigerian people. This can’t be possible without partnering and collaborating with others to make the dream come through. We can’t do it alone without the Federal Government as the relationship between the Federal Government and Edo State Government is very deep. This underlines the concept of cooperation and collaboration,” he added.
The governor said the Edo Museum for West African Art (EMWAA) is not a traditional museum but a world-class museum that will attract tourists from far and near to view Benin artifacts and have an experience of the history and cultural heritage of our people.
On the need for recovery of looted artifacts, he said: “Repatriation of Benin artefacts are important because the Benin Empire has a lot of impact on the sub-region. Therefore, whatever we will be putting in place in the museum must reflect the extent of the influence of Edo people on the rest of the continent and the world through the last five to six centuries.
“In Nigeria today, the NCMM is the only institution with the requisite human resources to do the things that we want to achieve on a project like this. As such, we will be collaborating with the commission. We have continued to get support on this project and want to support others to be part of the process.”
DG, NCMM, Prof. Abba Isa Tijani, commended Governor Obaseki for his support in renovating the Benin Museum in 2017.
Tijani said Benin City is endowed with rich cultural heritage, noting that the commission is fully in support of the repatriation of Benin artefacts so that the works will attract tourists to Benin City.
“EMOWAA is a specialist museum. We will support the project in developing a comprehensive collection of Benin artefacts, both home and abroad. We are not only going to support the repatriation of the artifacts from outside the country, but also have large collections of Benin artefacts across museums in the country, particularly in Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu and Jos. We want to complement what is coming from outside,” he added.