It was all jubilation as the crown prince of Benin, His Royal Highness, Eheneden Erediauwa, emerged the 40th Oba of Benin Kingdom as he receives his staff of office from the Edo State Government on Thursday.
Oba Erediauwa also announced the name he had chosen to bear as Oba Emuare II and would be addressed as Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolopkolo, Oba Ewuare II, after Oba Ewuare I, who reigned in 1440 AD.
Oba Ewuare II, who was crowned in the early hours of Thursday 20 at the Usama palace before he proceeded on foot, accompanied by members of traditional societies, a retinue of Benin chiefs, and thousands of residents to the symbolic Omi River, where he was paddled through a bridge.
The Benin new king later moved to the Urho-Okpota hall, Ring road amidst cheers, drumming, dancing from a mammoth crowd of residents, where he received the staff of office from Governor Adams Oshiomhole at about 4.05pm.
Present at the ceremony were top government functionaries led by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi; and his Osun State counterpart, Rauf Aregbesola, and Gombe State governor, Dr. Ibrahim Dankwambo.
Traditional rulers from across the 36 states were also at the event. Among them were the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi; the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe; and the Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Aliru Momoh, Ikelebe III.
Address the people at the event, Oba Ewuare, said that the two-week coronation activities provided him the opportunity to have a deeper knowledge of the cultural ideals of the Benin Kingdom, which he said, would be sustained during his reign.
He explained that he would pay due attention to matters concerning the uplift of the Benin tradition, welfare of the people, security and palace reformation.
“To that extent, we shall faithfully discharge this sacred responsibility. We shall pay due attention to all matters of tradition and custom, focusing on real issues of security of our communities and the development and welfare of our people,” he added.
Oba Ewuare continued, “We shall carry out reforms in palace administration in order to be adequately responsive to our people’s sincere and deep longing for justice, stability and equity.
“We shall strive to ensure that conflicts are resolved between families, individuals and communities along the principles of social justice. We shall use cultural diplomacy as a veritable tool for the promotion of harmonious relationships with our neighbours far and near.”