Oba of Benin gets staff of office, unfolds development agenda

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Oba of Benin crowned, unfolds development
agenda

Alexander Okere, Benin

It was all jubilation and glamour as the crown
prince of Benin, His Royal Highness, Eheneden
Erediauwa, emerged the 40th Oba of Benin
Kingdom and received his staff of office from the
Edo State Government on Thursday.

Erediauwa also announced the name he had
chosen to bear as Oba Emuare II and would be
addressed as Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolopkolo,
Oba Ewuare II, after Oba Ewuare I, who reigned in
1440 AD.
Oba Ewuare II, who was crowned in the early hours
of Thursday at the Usama palace before he
proceeded on foot accompanied by a retinue of
Benin chiefs, members of traditional societies and
thousands of residents to the symbolic Omi River,
where he was paddled through a bridge.

The new king later moved to the Urho-Okpota hall,
amidst cheers, dancing and drumming from a
surging crowd of residents, where he received the
staff of office from Governor Adams Oshiomhole at
about 4.06pm.
Present at the ceremony were top government
functionaries led by President Muhammadu Buhari,
who was represented by the Vice-President, Prof.
Yemi Osinbajo; Oyo State Governor, Abiola
Ajumobi; his Osun State counterpart, Rauf
Aregbesola, and Dr. Ibrahim Dankwambo the
Gombe State governor.
Traditional rulers from across the 36 states also
graced the event.
Among them were the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye
Ogunwusi; Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar
III; the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi; the Obi
of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe; the Etsu Nupe,
Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, and the Otaru of Auchi,
Alhaji Aliru Momoh, Ikelebe III.
In his maiden address, Oba Ewuare, said that the
over nearly two-week coronation activities
provided him the opportunity to have a deeper
understanding of the cultural ideals of the Benin
Kingdom, which he said, would be sustained
during his reign.
He explained that he would pay due attention to
matters concerning the uplift of the Benin tradition,
security, welfare of the people and palace
reformation.
“To that extent, we shall faithfully discharge this
sacred responsibility. We shall pay due attention to
all matters of custom and tradition, focusing on
real issues of security of our communities and the
welfare and development of our people,” he added.
Oba Ewuare continued, “We shall carry out reforms
in palace administration in order to be adequately
responsive to our people’s sincere and deep
longing for justice, equity and stability.
“We shall strive to ensure that conflicts are
resolved between individuals, families and
communities along the principles of social justice.
We shall use cultural diplomacy as a veritable tool
for the promotion of harmonious relationships with
our neighbours far and near.”
The Oba said that having shrunk to one state from
parts of Lagos, Asaba and even Dahomey, it was
imperative to sustain the Benin Empire by
promoting the language from one generation to the
other, through its enshrinement in the school
curricula.
He also said that to promote tourism, through arts
and crafts, two special purpose vehicles – Benin
Royal Dynasty Trust and Benin Royal Academy for
the Performing Arts, in collaboration with the Benin
Traditional Council, had already been established.
The new monarch, who paid glowing tributes to
his late father, Oba Erediauwa, and mother,
described him as the true symbol of the Benin
cultural heritage and added that he enjoyed and
benefited from the late Oba’s love more than
anyone else.
In his honour, the Oba announced the
establishment of the Oba Erediauwa Annual Lecture
Series, through the investment of N10m in a trust
fund, adding that the proceeds would be used to
support an annual and well researched ýoration on
any subject in Benin history, public administration
or Edo language.
Oba Ewuare II also bestowed a posthumous title of
Iyoba on his late mother, Princess Ikuoyemwen
Akenzua, and lauded her efforts in teaching him to
work hard in order to succeed.
He added, “I therefore stand before you as the 40th
Oba of Benin, a direct descendant of Oranmiyan,
the son of Oduduwa, whom the Benin people of
that era knew as Ekaladeran, their self-exiled
prince who later became ruler in Ile-Ife. The Benin
people recognise Oduduwa and his origin but it is
not our place to force this recognition on others
outside our boundaries.
“The history of the world is a shared one and there
will certainly be unexpected connections in the
future. This is, thus, a time for unity and not
divisiveness, a time for mutual respect, recognising
that our wholeness as people is so much more
than the sum of our parts.”
The monarch, who unveiled his new royal crest,
also urged well-meaning Nigerians to contribute to
the development of the state.
While congratulating the 40th Oba of Benin,
President Buhari expressed confidence that he
would build on the legacies of his later father,
whom he described as a man of integrity.
We are gratified that with your meritorious service
as ambassador to various nation and you sterling
work in the oil and gas stand you out in fulfilling
the obligation of your ancestor.
He said, “All those who know you are convinced
that you will discharge your responsibility with
great wisdom and integrity that your great
ancestors have always displayed.
“On behalf of the President and government of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria, I congratulate you on
this historic occasion and assure you of support,
especially the Royal Dynasty Trust, for youth
employment and poverty alleviation.”
On his part, Oshiomhole, who was the first civilian
governor to present a staff of office to an Oba of
Benin, said that Oba Ewuare emergence was a
unifying factor among the different political divides
in the state.
He also pledged the support of the state
government to ensure the continuous development
of the state.

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