On October 10, Oba Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin, celebrated his first year on the throne. Adibe Emenyonu who covered the weeklong celebrations, which coincided with the Obaâ€™s birthday, captured the fun fair that heralded the celebrations
A flurry of activities heralded the one year coronation anniversary of His Royal Majesty, Omo Nâ€™Oba Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, Oba of Benin Kingdom as eminent Nigerians including top government functionaries, the political class, friends, associates, traditional rulers and several top personalities thronged the ancient palace to pay homage to the celebrant and monarch.
Part of the activities started with a novelty football march at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium where the Edo State deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu led the All Stars FC Benin in a novelty match against Austin Eguavoen who captained ex-players of Bendel Insurance FC of Benin City.
As a mark of appreciation, the revered monarch took the spot kick to the admiration of spectators at the stadium, and was physically present to watch the football match which also involved the Enigies (Dukes) who entertained the monarch for 20 minutes.
Trailing this was a gala night which featured performance of top Nigerian musical artistes like Davido, Tuface Idibia, Majek Fashek, the Royal IWEGUAE ONUDO dance including other traditional performances.
There was also a street carnival by a cultural troupe from Calabar, Cross River State who came to solidarise with the Benin monarch. The troupe with its typical Efik dance steps, entertained the people who came out to watch the dancers who are majorly girls before they berth at the palace of the Oba.
Besides these entertainments, eulogies also trailed the celebrations. The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu opened the floodgate of praises. The Oba who came calling with his retinue of Chiefs to pay homage to Oba Ewuare II, ascribed the development strides being witnessed in Lagos State to the blessings given to it by a past Oba of Benin.
Oba Akiolu who spoke during the gala night, said Lagos State is currently enjoying the prayers and blessings of past Benin Obas. The highly elated Lagos monarch added that he is happy to be present at the anniversary of an Oba â€œwho used to be his brother but is now his father.â€
He also described the Benin monarch as a man of integrity that would bring his experience as an Ambassador to rule the kingdom.
The Oba of Lagos however, urged women in the kingdom to desist from traveling to Italy for the purpose of prostitution as according to him, Benin is full of many opportunities.
On his part, Governor Godwin Obaseki poured encomiums on Oba Ewuare II whom he lauded for inspiring partnership with government. Obaseki recalled that the relationship between the state government and the Benin monarch, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, in the last one year, has improved the quality of lives in the state.
He described his working relationship with the monarch in the one year he has reigned as inspirational and unique, noting that the cordial relationship has been instrumental to the successes recorded by his government in the last one year.
Obaseki said that the collaboration has helped the government in addressing some of the concerns raised in His Majestyâ€™s coronation speech last year, which resulted in the state governmentâ€™s new law which outlawed the activities of Community Development Associations (CDAs) as well as the development of the Gelegele Seaport.
“We as a government have collaborated with his Majesty and have put a law in place to deal with miscreants, who still engage in CDA activities in the state. For the Gelegele Seaport, we set up a technical committee on the development of the seaport and the committee has submitted its report to us,” the governor said.
Congratulating Oba Ewuare II on his birthday and one year anniversary on the throne, Obaseki thanked him for being a source of confidence to those in public office by his actions.
The Edo governor while using the opportunity to inform the Oba that the state will be hosting the Alaghodaro Investment Summit in Benin City in November to open the state for investment to secure the future of Edo people, added: “In less than a month from now the first edition of Alaghodaro Investment Summit will hold in this great city. Our objective is to showcase sectors that global business players can invest in, namely, agriculture, energy, manufacturing, tourism, real estate and sports to mention a few.â€
In what looked like a vote of thanks, Oba Ewuare II promised to introduce traditional reforms to curb abuse of conferment of chieftaincy titles in the kingdom, noting that conferment of chieftaincy titles must be in accordance with native laws, tradition and customs of the land.
According to him, the reforms would prohibit excesses of some traditional rulers as well as the wrong use of Bini coral beads in the kingdom.
He disclosed that he has commenced reorientation and in-house cleansing of some palace Chiefs to ensure total justice and sanity return to the kingdom. Oba Ewuare II said the state has witnessed inflow of investors since the dreaded Community Development Association (CDA) was outlawed, and called on security agencies to stop recent resurgence of kidnappings and killings in the state adding that palliative measures have been put in place to rehabilitate the outlawed CDA members.
Oba Ewuare emphasised that as a father to all, he would continue the fatherly roles to all traditional rulers in Edo as well as outside the state. He therefore, urged traditional institutions in the country to partner with government for the good of the society, declaring that he will soon embark on national and international tours which would afford him the opportunity to build stronger ties that will benefit Edo.
Oba Ewuare II thanked the state government for acceding to his request that CDA activities be criminalised in the state, noting that the new law has brought sanity to property management in the state.
The one year anniversary celebrations climaxed with a Thanksgiving service at the Holy Arosa, Benin Traditional Church with the Chief Priest (Ohen-Osa), Harrison Okao, charging traditional rulers on truthfulness. He also advised traditional rulers, palace chiefs, Ohens and community leaders to be truthful and honest while relating with the Benin royal Father so as to promote peace and harmony in the kingdom.
In his message titled, â€˜Truthfulnessâ€™, Okao said people must be truthful and honest in their dealings with their fellow men. He said they should remain truthful even when the odds are against them noting that God in His wisdom founded the world in truth.
The Ohen-Osa in driving home his sermon, told the congregation a parable of the king who in a bid of knowing who was honest among his subjects decided to give them grains of maize to plant and nurture to test truthfulness and honesty.
“A King who in a bid of ascertaining who is truthful among his subjects decided to give grains of maize to them to grow and nurture but unknowingly to them that the grains of maize were parboiled.
“Some of them having waited for their maize to grow and did not germinate, went to buy grains from the market and planted them.
“Those bought from the market were planted and germinated. So, when the king came to find out how the sowers were doing with their crops, some of them showed him their maize planted already growing while one of them cried out to the king that his own has refused to grow.
“It was right there that the King told them that the grains of maize given to them were already cooked and that the one whose own refused to grow and came out to say it was the person who was honest among them all,” he ended his parable.
Okao however told them that God did not make mistake in His doings for creating the only two kingdoms in this world, the Benin Kingdom and the United Kingdom as he exclaimed, ‘Oba-gha -to- kpere! And the people responded: “Ise”.
L-R: Former governor of Old Bendel State, Lt. General Jeremiah Useni (rtd.); former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, wife of Edo State governor, Betsy Obaseki; Governor Godwin Obaseki, Oba of Benin, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewaure II and the Oba’s wives, at the one year coronation anniversary of Oba Ewuare II, in Benin Cityâ€¦recently