Oba of Benin, HRM Eheneden Erediauwa, Ewuare II
Raheem Akingbolu, who witnessed the build-up to the coronation of Prince Eheneden Erediauwa as Oba of Benin, writes on how top brands, especially Nigerian Breweries’ Goldberg, used the occasion to bond more with consumers
As a unifying factor, culture has been used extensively by promoters of businesses and great brands to appeal to targeted consumers. Aside from celebrating human values and heritage, sponsorship of cultural activities creates emotional connection between brands and the people.
For Goldberg, this week’s coronation of Oba of Benin, HRM Eheneden Erediauwa, has been keyed into, as an opportunity to celebrate and respect the culture of its target audience.
In the last few years, Goldberg has remained in the forefront of promoting African culture through the sponsorship of major traditional events. As at the last count, the brand has associated with not less than five of such events in Nigeria. However, its annual sponsorship of the popular Osun Osogbo and Ojude Oba festivals in Osogbo and Ijebu Ode respectively appears to be the most celebrated.
As people of the ancient city of Benin commenced coronation rites for the Crown Prince of the Benin Kingdom, Prince Eheneden Erediauwa, Goldberg Lager Beer, again identified with the people and added colour to the occasion. Aside congratulatory greetings on many platforms, Goldberg stands and pictures now adore many locations in the ancient city.
Meanwhile, a senior staff of Nigerian Breweries told THISDAY in Benin during the build up to the event that Goldberg will be available for consumers in many locations where activities were expected to take place.
Considering the place of culture in Benin and the importance of the coronation to the people, the on-going activation to promote Benin heritage will go a long way in repositioning Goldberg as a preferred beer brand among the consumers in the area.
The coronation of the king of Benin is an event that gives a wonderful purview into the rich culture and history of the Benin people. According to available record about Benin, the enthronement of the Edaiken as Oba of Benin and the royal funeral rites known as emwin n’ ekhua, meaning “the big things” is a watershed in Benin history.
As part of the traditional coronation rites, Prince Erediauwa performed a 10km trek from his palace in Uselu through Benin-Lagos Road, Lagos Street to Ekpo-Ohae at Urhokpota Hall. He also climbed a 500-year-old palm tree.
He later moved to the ‘Iyan-Akpan’, now known as the popular five-junction, where Chiefs from Uselu community handed him to Chiefs from Benin.
Corporate Affairs Adviser of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Kufre Ekanem, said Goldberg was happy to identify with the soon-to-be crowned monarch, noting that the Oba of Benin is one of Nigeria’s most revered monarchs and his coronation has to be befitting of such a high-standing ruler.
“As a brand that is rooted in the cultural ethos of the people, Goldberg felicitates with the in-coming monarch and the entire people of Benin Kingdom for this historic occasion in the ancient city,” he said.
He also revealed that the Goldberg team would pay an official visit to the palace of the Oba to register their unflinching loyalty to the Kingdom.
Meanwhile, the heir apparent visited Use forest in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State, where he picked a name he would bear as the new Oba after interaction with his fore fathers. The name, Ewuare II, was made public during the coronation ceremony on Thursday.
The coronation ceremony attracted the international community, ambassadors from the USA, ambassadors from the UK, neighbouring countries, paramount rulers, and of course, the crème de la crème of the society.
This would not be the first cultural activity Goldberg is supporting as the brand is famous for supporting cultural festivals such as Ojude Oba festival in Ogun State, Udiroko festival of Ekiti State as well as the Osun Osogbo festival in Osun State.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has described the coronation as historic being the first time an elected governor and an indigene of the State will perform the formality of presenting the staff of office to the revered traditional ruler. He explained that only military administrators and foreigners had done so in the past.
Speaking while receiving the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright, at the Government House, on Wednesday, Governor Oshiomhole said, “Before this Oba, the other Obas but one, I believe, Oba Akenzua, was the one who had to be presented the staff of office, according to him, by the Queen of England, a couple of years ago in 1933.
”Since then, I think the next Oba was crowned in 1979, and then Nigeria was already an independent country and the state was under military rule and the staff of office was presented by a military governor.
“I’m sure you probably already know that this is one of the very few states, particularly in the Southern part of Nigeria, where the issue of the paramount traditional ruler is not in dispute, where the chairman of the council of traditional rulers and chiefs is permanent and is the Oba of Benin. Whereas in some states, particularly in the West, they rotate, and there are issues as to who comes before the other. Every Edo person, including those who may not be directly under the kingdom geographically, we all see the Oba as our paramount traditional ruler, which is why we have declared a public holiday for tomorrow (today), because every Edo person regardless of his location in the state has some strong positive sentiments about the coronation ceremony. So, I want to thank you for taking time out, for traveling all the way to participate and to observe the coronation ceremony. We are very grateful,” the governor stated.