From Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Benin City, the Edo State capital, literarily stood still yesterday, as the Benin Crown Prince, His Royal Highness (Amb.) Eheneden Erediauwa, the Edaiken N’ Uselu, left Uselu, his temporary abode for the past three months, for Udin Amamieson Amiuwa, as part of the activities signaling his coronation ceremony as the new Oba of Benin Kingdom.
As early as 9am, various cultural troupes, like the Iten Edo Theatre Group, Benin Royal Dynasty Trust Dance, had already converged on Uselu, rendering melodious songs and entertaining guests, even as thousands of residents and onlookers trooped to Uselu to catch a glimpse of the historic event.
The Crown Prince came out at about three minutes past 1pm to acknowledge his guests before returning to his abode.
Dressed in a red cap, royal white top and a golden wrapper, the Edaiken stopped briefly at the sacred palm tree at about 4:30pm for a short ceremony.
He also had brief stopovers at Ekoha where the Uselu chiefs took leave of him for the Benin chiefs to take over, and at Iyaro for some traditional rites.
He was accompanied by Benin chiefs as well as different traditional groups and societies as the prince moved on foot.
There was also a heavy presence of security operatives from the Nigeria Police, Nigerian Army and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
The crown prince arrived at Eko-Ohae at about 6:35, where he is expected to spend three days before leaving for the Usama palace for the coronation rituals to continue on Monday.
Commenting on the ceremony, the Esogban of Benin, Chief David Edebiri, said, “This is the first step of the threshold to the throne of Benin. It is very historic, very important.”
On his part, a commissioner in the Edo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (EDSOPADEC), Mr. Victor Ekhator, said it marks a dawn of a new era in Benin history, as the people get a new king. Mrs. Omouwa Omoregie said the three months spent by the Crown Prince in Uselu, ushered in peace and tranquility to the people of the community. She said this is her first time of witnessing a coronation of a new king of Benin and that she was in a better position to relate the story to her children.
Chief Osamede Adun (alias Bob Izua), the Ayobahan of Benin Kingdom, said he was 25 years old when the late Oba Erediauwa was crowned king but that today, he is a chief in the palace and that he was happy to join in the trek to Benin.
“Today, it is a special day to all the chiefs in the palace that our father, the Crown Prince, is leaving Uselu for Benin. We are very happy for it. That is the reason you can see all the chiefs here dressed in white, to follow him down to Benin.
“When the late king of Benin was crowned, I was 25 years. I was not made a chief of the palace then. I know the history. Today, I am the happiest person on earth because as a chief, I have easy access to the king. Where I am with the king, can you get there? As a press man, you will be some where in front while I will be sitting right with the king. He is now for everybody. He is my king and he is also your king”, he said. He described the Crown Prince as a man who abhors lies and derives pleasure in the truth.
“Edaiken himself as king, does not like lies. If you want to be closer or be his friend, tell him the truth. And ones he finds out that you are not truthful, he will not be happy with you. I am advising all my fellow chiefs, if you are talking with our king, give him the true picture of things and when he later finds out that you are telling him lies, he will never be happy with f you”, he said.
Chief Ada Igbinovia, the Edosomwan of Benin Kingdom, said those who are witnessing the coronation ceremony should count themselves very lucky as it is not what one experience often, adding that he is very happy to be part of the ceremony. He said he very strong to trek to Benin as he had done it before.
A centenarian, Chief Osarobo Orue, the Oba Iyekeagbon of Benin Kingdom, who is witnessing the coronation of the third Oba of Benin, said the reign of the new Oba of Benin will be more peaceful than his predecessors, stressing that since he came to Uselu, there has been a lot of peace in the land.
“This is my third time I am witnessing the coronation of Oba of Benin. I witnessed the coronation of Oba Akenzua, Oba Erediauwa and that of Edaiken N’Usele. I will join in the trekking. I am 100 years old now”, he said.