Emir of Kano commissions DiDi Museum Annex at the jewel bathed by an emerald in Asaba; Governor’s representative absent

Emir of Kano commissions DiDi Museum Annex at the jewel bathed by an emerald in Asaba; Governor’s representative absent


Asaba, Delta State capital on Saturday recorded another milestone with the unveiling of the prestigious Didi Museum Annex by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, whose late father, Alhaji Ado Bayero unveiled a wooden sculpture by late master artist, Erhabor Emokpae in London in 1985 to commemorate Nigeria’s 25th independence.

Shortly before unveiling the art and exhibition to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Didi Museum with the theme: ‘No Art No History”, and the official opening of Nelson Mandela Gardens & Resort, the Kano monarch called for support from all levels of government for private initiatives such as that of Chief (Dr). Newton Jibunoh who has taken up the challenge of preserving the rich cultural heritage and history of the peoples of Nigeria with the establishment of DiDi Museum in Lagos and the annex in Asaba.

The Emir said giving such support has the benefit of not only displaying the cultural heritage, and history of Nigeria, it also has the potential to create employment opportunities for people and boost the nation’s tourism industry.

At the event, which held at the Nelson Mandela gardens & Resort, whose serene beauty can be described as “a jewel bathed by an emerald” were other notable monarchs including the Obi of Issele-Uku, Agbogidi, Obi Nduka among others, and representatives of the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare, the representative of the Emir of Bichi, representative of the Asagba of Asaba, Chief Nwanze, the Odogwu of Asaba, among many notable others.

Oba Eware, the Oba of Benin, in his goodwill message delivered by the Obasogie of Benin, congratulated Chief Jibunoh for the milestones achieved, especially for “showcasing artifacts representing our identity.”

Chief jibunoh, while welcoming the guests requested for a one-minute silence in honour of the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade and the late Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa I for the support they gave to him 40 years ago that made Didi Museum possible.

Calling attention to the photograph on page three of the 40th anniversary brochure, Chief Jibunoh said: “In the photograph was the late Emir Of kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, late Ooni of ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, the late Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa 1. But today, even though they are late, they live among us. Because their offsprings, those they brought into this world are with us to celebrate the journey that started 40 years ago.”

He then called for one minute silence in honour of those that “started this project, those that supported me, those that encouraged me and those that that made it possible for Didi Museum to be what it is today.

“So, I plead that we observe one minute silence in honour of these wonderful monarchs that brought about a ceremony like this. And I tell you that without them, I don’t think that the journey that Didi Museum made 40 years ago would have been possible.”

With the one minute silence observed, Chief Jibunoh began protocol recognitions, saying: “Your Excellency, the Governor of Delta State, fully represented by the Festus Agas, the Chief of Staff.” But obviously seeing that the governor’s representative was not around, said: “I think he is either on his way because he called earlier to say he would be coming late. Nevertheless, I am grateful to His Excellency, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State.

All through the event, the Governor’s representative never showed up, neither did the guests and the organizers of the programme have the benefit of knowing the mind of Delta State Government as regard the significant event, but the personalities of the monarchs added colour and made the ceremony grand and eventful. For observers, the absence of the governor’s representative at the event that brought prominent figures from across the country to Asaba was a significant disappointment.

Yet, Chief Jibunoh went ahead to tell the story of what informed the setting up of DiDi Museum. He said: “The journey that I’m talking about started 50 years ago. It was when as a student in London, we were made to visit the British Museum as part of our orientation. It was at this British Museum that I saw the history of Nigeria on display. I saw this wonderful bronze from Ife; carvings, ivory carvings from Benin; wood works from Igbo-Ukwu. Not only were there these works, those works were the most attractive section of the British Museum.

“They told us the history of our country in narratives. Then I wondered how come we were told that it was Mungo Park that discovered Nigeria. Because what I saw was development; was history; was preservation of our culture and tradition.

“Different types of civilization that took place in this wonderful country were on display at the British Museum. And that stayed with me; it stayed with me for a very long time.

“As a student, I started writing back home, telling them never, never give away some of the objects that we had in our different civilizations,” Chief Jibunoh said.

On his return to the country, he set out to acquire collections and late Dr. Ekpo Eyo, the then Director General of the National Museum encouraged and guided him to start a private museum. “He advised me to go to the traditional rulers for their support. First was the Emir of Kano, then the Ooni of Ife, the Oba of Benin, the Obi of Onitsha. Not only did they support me, they backed up their support by providing me with artifacts their palaces,” the famous Desert Warrior said.”

Highlight of the 40th anniversary of Didi Museum and the unveiling of art exhibition and official opening of the Nelson Mandela Gardens & Resort was the reading of a long and interesting poem by Odediran Poet who reminded the people about the importance of knowing their history, and that art represents a peoples’ history and identity.

Guests were treated to lavish entertainment.

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