Abimbola Akosile in Lagos and Omololu Ogunmade
Former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, Saturday joined other personalities to mourn the passage of the late Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Erediauwa.
In a statement titled ‘Farewell to a widely revered Monarch’, Anayoku said “The passing of Oba Erediauwa represents a landmark in the epoch of revered monarchy in the ancient kingdom of Benin.
“As a well-educated Prince Akenzua, he had distinguished himself in the public service in many parts of Nigeria having attained, strictly on merit, the rank of Permanent Secretary. And when he succeeded to the historical throne of his ancestors, he served his people and his wider nation with unequalled dignity and devotion.
“I recall his unrivalled patriotism and deep sense of caring for the well-being of Nigeria in his communications with me as Commonwealth Secretary-General during the national crisis engendered by General Abacha’s dictatorship. My wife and I join his family and our compatriots in the Benin Kingdom in mourning the passing of this rare and much respected Monarch”, he added.
Meanwhile, Saraki and his predecessor, Senator David Mark, also commiserated with the government and people of Edo State over the passage of the monarch, describing him as an epitome of culture and tradition of Benin kingdom.
Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media & Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, described the late king as a just, fair-minded, courageous, benevolent and people’s monarch who lived his entire life in the service of his people as a prince and king while also serving the nation as a bureaucrat and diplomat of high repute.
He prayed God to grant Oba Erediauwa eternal welcome and bliss in the midst of his ancestors and make his successor-designate a greater king and worthy successor who will positively advance the commendable legacies of progress and development exemplified by him.
In his own condolence message signed by his Media Assistant, Mr. Paul Mumeh, Mark described the demise of the monarch as a monumental loss to the nation. According to him, the late monarch was a leader who distinguished himself in many respects, especially in the preservation of African culture and tradition to the admiration of historians and political scientists globally.
He condoled with the government and people of Edo State, noting that the late Erediauwa’s reign was a unique era in the contemporary history of Nigeria “because his reign was characterised by peace, unity and progress in the kingdom and beyond.”
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State also expressed his deepest condolences to the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the people of Edo State on the passage of the Oba of Benin.
In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, James Eze, Obiano described Oba Erediauwa’s passage as a huge loss to Nigeria, and described the late monarch as “the last of the titans”.
Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola also commiserated with the people of Edo state over the translation of the monarch. In a statement by his Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, Aregbesola, described the era of the departed monarch as golden, saying he brought glamour to the throne while adding development to his people.
According to the Governor, the great monarch demonstrated through his peaceful and development-oriented rule that monarchs still have very important roles to play in governance in the country.
The immediate past Governor of Abia State, Senator Theodore Orji, has described the demise of Oba Erediauwa as a monumental loss to the country. In a press release, by his media adviser, Mr. Don Norman Obinna, the Senator representing Abia Central, said his heart grieved on hearing the death of the Oba, whose 38 years reign personified leadership.
Orji also sympathised with the government and people of Edo State, praying God to give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.