The 20th day of October was indeed a memorable one in Benin City, the capital city of Edo state; heartbeat of Nigeria. On that great day, we were honored to witness a once in a century, once in a lifetime occasion and that was the crowning of the new Oba of the Benin kingdom, one of the largest Kingdoms on the face of the earth. The crowned Prince, the Edaiken of Uselu, had spent 7 days prior to his coronation performing coronation rites, to ready him for the ascension to the throne of his forefathers.
Among the rites performed were the climbing of the historic palm tree and the picking of a new name, which he came to do at Useh area of Egor LGA Benin city. This area happens to be where my PPA is situated so that day we had a first hand glimpse of the festivities, albeit from a distance. The Edaiken of Uselu after his coronation was to no more be called by his birth name, neither by his title as Edaiken of Uselu (Crowned Prince). The coronation of the Edaiken brought people from far and wide, as the prince himself is well vast, well traveled and well educated. The occasion saw kings from different regions of the world, even Nigeria, the Sarkunan Arewa (Kings of the North) were also present in their finery and array of glamorous horses and regalia. The kings from other parts of Nigeria where also present, including the Sultan of Sokoto. The event was such a great one that all the hotels in the Benin City region, especially the G.R.A region was flooded and fully booked and even the Queen of England had a representative there to pay her respect and homage to the 40th or as some insist the 39th king of the Benin Kingdom.
The king’s square popularly known by the residents of Benin City as Ring road, was adorned in all colors of revelry. The marketers and illegal road side traders were all carted away and the usually traffic congested roads were peaceful and calm in anticipation of the coronation. The incumbent governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was privileged to carry out the sacred act of handing over the staff of office to the new king, this was the first time a sitting governor would have the honor of doing so. Once the staff of office was presented, shouts of Oba ghato Okpere filled the air. This is synanimous to the Hausa chant of Ran KA Ya Dade as we say in the north, or May you live long which is the English translation. The new name of the king is now to be recognized as Omo N’oba N’edo, Uku Akpolokpolor, Oba Ewuare the second (II). We pray that the Almighty God in his infinite mercies would give him a long and peaceful reign in Jesus name. OBA GHATO OKPERE….ISE!!!