The people of this Nigerian kingdom, love and value their traditional ruler, the Dein of the Agbor Kingdom
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country. Since 1963, the traditional rulers or kings of Nigeria, who reigned over vast areas of the county, have had no constitutional power. This included the traditional ruler of the Agbor Kingdom.
His Royal Majesty Benjamin Ikenchuku Keagborekuzi the First (Keagborekuzi I) is the traditional ruler of Agbor. The town is in the oil-rich Delta State in southern Nigeria. It has a population of about 67,000. His Royal Majesty goes by the name of The Dein of Agbor Kingdom. Dein is the name of his ruling family, but he has another unique title. Suddenly, in 1979, the king died and Benjamin, who was only 28 months old, became king. The Guinness Book of World Records (1980) featured him as the youngest king in the world.
The Young King
After his coronation, the young king was taken to England. A regent was installed to look after the traditions and culture of the people of Agbor. Since Benjamin was a baptized Catholic, he attended a Catholic school in Kent. Later he went to a college in Surrey and enrolled to study at Birbeck College in London. He returned to Nigeria after his graduation in 2000 and took up his duty as a traditional leader.
Sadly his busy schedule has not allowed time for any romance. This the Agbor Kingdom has no Queen. But, the kingdom does have a Queen Mother. Queen Victoria Nkem Egun Ikenchuku, who is also referred to as the Ojeba of Agbor, is the Honourable Commissioner for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Delta State. These Eight MDG have been agreed by all the member states of the United Nations organization and focus on eradicating poverty, reducing disease and improving the lives of the poor. Queen Victoria is loved and respected for her continued commitment to her people on the international stage.
The Dein values education and has been appointed Chancellor to universities and sits on a range of councils and committees in his community. He is outspoken about the problem of violent youth in Nigeria and believes education needs to be used more effectively to tackle this growing issue. He has said, “There is no child that does not want to learn. But let’s also have teachers that are interested in their jobs. I am an apostle of discipline and education.”
The Dein of Agbor has also condemned kidnappings and hostage takings in the area, voicing his concerns about the impact these incidents have on investment and job creation in the region. He places huge emphasis on the development of infrastructure, agriculture and technology. As Grand Master Protector of the Order he can acknowledge and award individuals who have made significant contributions to the Agbor Kingdom.
But his personal passion is horses. No matter what his diary says, he always makes time to ride and spend time at the stables.
Benjamin, the traditional Ruler of the Agbor Kingdom, is a charming man, who respected and valued by his people. His Catholic values have formed the foundations of his reign:
“I truly love my people from the depth of my heart. But I do not like lies. I do not like it when people say bad things about their own brothers and sisters. If you see your brother or sister doing something wrong stop him or her. If you see your brother or sister in trouble, do something to help him or her. As long as all these are done, Agbor will continue to grow from strength to strength. There is no need for the people to work against each other.”
As a traditional ruler, with no constitutional powers, Benjamin Ikenchuku Keagborekuzi takes his role of custodians of culture very seriously and the people of Agbor admire his commitment, passion and his desire to have a positive influence on his kingdom.
The tale of Anansi the Spider, although a Ghanaian legend, it is told widely across West Africa.