Vanguard (Lagos)

23 March 2009

Nigeria: Oba Erediauwa Marks 30 Years on Benin Throne

BENIN monarch, Omo n'Oba n'Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa is 30 years today on the throne of the Benin Kingdom which historians say is over 1,400 years old.

The anniversary celebrations which commenced last Wednesday has changed the look of the ancient city as Bini natives celebrate the monarchy and its incumbent. Since his coronation on March, 23, 1979, the Oba, as he is popularly referred to, has defended the Bini tradition with passion.

In addition, the monarch has played the role of peacemaker many times in his long reign, with the most notable being the resolution of the face-off between former Governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu and the former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih. Another instance was when he resolved the face-off between Chief Anenih and former Governor Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State.

Anyone who knows the Kingdom properly knows that the palace is regarded as one of the greatest museums in the world because it still holds a large collection of royal court arts, scriptural pieces of past Obas in bronze and ivory and ancestral shrines.

As a father of all, the Oba who ascended the throne after the demise of his father, Oba Akenzua 11 who reigned from 1933-1978, organises quarterly meetings with journalists in the state. On such occasions, he always requests that none of the journalists should eat in their homes that he has enough to feed everybody.

The occasion affords journalists the opportunity to ask few questions on the kingdom and the Oba never hesitates to give answers.

As a matter of fact, he has tongue lashed some of his Chiefs who got themselves involved in illegitimate deals in the presence of journalists and had stressed on so many occasions that he would not support and cover up any evil in his kingdom.

Because he is also a peacemaker and one who believes in religious tolerance, he has endorsed and upheld that doctrine and as a result, the state has never witnessed any form of religious crisis.

It would be recalled that prior to the Appeal Court ruling on 11, November, 2008, the Oba sensed that the state may be embroiled in crisis, he quickly called on the people of the kingdom to fast in order to avoid bloodshed. And there was relative peace in the state after the judgment which sacked Governor Oserhiemen Osunbor and declared Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of the Action Congress winner of the election.

Consequently, as the world celebrates with Oba Erediauwa today, the general opinion is that he has been able to meet all the challenges of running a kingdom both as a traditionalist and a democrat. He has been able to groom a worthy successor to the throne in the person of Ambassador Ehenede Erediauwa, who is the Nigerian Ambassador to Italy.

The revered monarch is still ageless, strong and purposeful. As he celebrates today, the entire Bini both at home and in the diaspora have sent their best wishes to the Monarch, and they all pray that God will continue to strengthen him and give him more years ahead.

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