Edo Declares Five Days of Mourning, Public Holiday over Demise of Oba of Benin

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
As a mark of respect for the Oba of Benin who recently transited to immortality, the Edo State Government has declared a five-day public holiday with effect from May 3, 2016, to mourn the revered royal father.

The announcement came just as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and the former President of Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Edo State APC governorship aspirant, Peter Esele, consoled Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa on the passing of the Oba.

In a government special announcement signed by the State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Kassim Afegbua, only those on essential services in health centres, the fire service and others are exempted from observing the public holiday.

According to the announcement, the Nigerian flag is expected to be flown at half mast across the state during the five-day mourning period, while work is expected to resume on May 9, 2016. All government offices, establishments and parastatals are expected to fully comply with the directive.

Meanwhile, Oyegun in a condolence visit to the Edaiken N’Uselu and Crown Prince described the late Oba as a royal colossus, whose exploit in the annals of governance brought honour, dignity and candour to the traditional rulership in Nigeria and beyond.

 Oyegun who was accompanied by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on the visit, revealed that the Oba of Benin was a great inspiration to all those behind him during his civil service years.

 The APC national chairman who disclosed that their visit to the Edaiken and other members of the royal family was meant to console and reassure them of the support of the people, however posited that as grievous as the exit of Oba Erediauwa maybe, there was consolation on the fact that the great king left a well equipped, vibrant and articulate successor.

 According to him, “With regard to the pedigree of the Crown Prince as an accomplished diplomat and administrator, there is no doubt that he has the ability and preparedness of His Royal Highness to pilot affairs of Benin kingdom to the desire destination.”
Also, in his condolence message, Esele said he decided to halt his campaign for seven days in honour of the departed Oba.

 Esele whose condolence message was issued by Sylvester Ikuvbogie, Head Administration/Protocol, Peter Esele Campaign Organisation (PECO), described the 37-year, reign of the departed Oba as very eventful, peaceful and rewarding.

 According to the statement, “The leadership style of Oba Erediauwa was second to none. We are therefore consoled by his everlasting legacy of consistency in policy formulation and evaluation as well as his administrative prowess.”

 While praying to God to give the Crown Prince, Ehenede Erediauwa, Edaiken N’Uselu, the wisdom, good health, knowledge and understanding to pilot the affairs of the great Benin Kingdom, the Esele Campaign Organisation said though campaign had started in the Edo North district of the state, it has suspended all further campaign activities for seven days as a mark of honour for the revered monarch.