By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, has assured other ethnic communities of their hospitality, describing the Benin kingdom as a home for all to coexist.
Oba Ewuare gave the assurance when the executives and members of the Igbo Community paid a post-coronation visit to his palace in Benin City at the weekend.
The oba who described the visit as surprising and overwhelming, urged all ethnic communities to feel at home and contribute to the development of the host communities they find themselves and the state in general.
He commended the Igbo community for recognising and deeming it fit to pay their respect to the traditional stool and urged them to support the state government in the realisation of the Gelegele seaport project which would bring economic fortune to people of the state.
“We want to assure the communities amongst us of our hospitality.
“We want to express our gratitude to all the communities in our midst. We want to expresses our gratitude to communities and ethnics groups in Nigeria that recognise Benin Kingdom and that show a lot of respect for our culture.
“They have shown a lot of understanding for their host communities and within the ethnic group which they reside, and in retrospect, we would reciprocate to accommodate all the ethnic communities within our group,” the oba said.
He continued: “You should all feel at home. We are aware some of you were born here; many of you probably will speak Bini by now.
“We remind you of our commitment to develop the state, for you to give support to the state government to continue to respect the culture of the people.
“You must have heard of our desire to develop the Gelegele free zone area, whatever consideration the Igbo can make will be well appreciated. The invitation is open to all the communities residing in our kingdom and in our state to present their proposals and contribution to how we can actualise what we have made commitment about.”
Earlier in his speech, the President of the Igbo Union, Professor Nathaniel Aniekwu, disclosed that the Oba is the grand patron of the Igbos in the land and described his succession of the ancestral throne as the divine work of God.
He urged the oba to wade into the leadership problem of the Evbareke Spare Parts Market where he alleged that they have been sidelined.
Also, Aniekwu urged the oba to look into the land dispute at Ute community where getting land for business purposes has practically been halted by top members of the community.
He presented gifts of a cow, different brands assorted drinks and kolanuts to the Omo N’Oba who used it in praying for their progress.
Present were, His Royal Highness, Igwe Goodluck Ezea, Igwe Obi of Nsuka, Enugu State, Chief George Igbokwe, Ambassador Uchenna Okoro, and others