No matter how anyone, especially we, the beloved of Edo State choose to paper over the diverse ‘katakata’ in the state, there is no missing the point that Edo is troubled. For a state that prides itself as the CRADLE OF BLACK CIVILISATION (during the old Bendel State era,) and THE HEART BEAT OF THE NATION today, the sad stories currently emanating from Benin does not add up.
Its people blessed with intelligence, ever bubbling with the zeal to identify with the progress of the state; never having a second thought about what is good for the state and its people in spite of their peculiar diverse ways, holding their own proudly in various endeavours at home and offshore, will never identify with some mirage of ideas that will soon fizzle out.
For a people almost totally united via culture, tradition and spoken language, unity should be the bedrock of their interactions just as meaningful progress should signpost every step we take. Alas, things are not so today in the state; no thanks to the politics of the day and antics of partisan politicians. The later underscores the trouble with Edo State.
If not, I do not see any reason why in their bid to effect leadership change in the House of Assembly, brigandage, thuggery, violence and gun shots must be employed. I am not in support of the development in the House yesterday; and neither am I in any way sympathetic to any of the political gladiators in the Assembly’s brouhaha before, now and in the future. Same applies to the larger politicking in the countdown to the state governorship election coming in a matter of months.
If actors in the Tuesday incident inside the hallowed chamber of the state legislature were not blinded by their self-serving agenda, they ought to have known that this period in the entire Edo land should be peaceful and all should be prayerful. With the announcement of the passing on of the great Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba n’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, a few days ago, there is no better time to sheathe their swords and let peace reign. And to think that the state House of Assembly is a stone throw away from the revered Oba’s palace rubbishes every excuse that the feuding lawmakers may have had prior to the death of the monarch. It was as nonsensical as it was selfish.
Tribute to an iconic Oba
Earlier yesterday, the Edo State Government declared five days mourning period in honour of the late Oba of Benin. Governor Adams Oshiomhole reportedly announced the declaration during the State Executive Council meeting in the state capital, even as he directed that the nation`s flag should be flown at half mast during the period of mourning. He had paid a condolence visit on the Crown Prince, Iheneden, on Monday.
The announcement of the death of Oba Erediauwa was one that jolted many people across and beyond the ancient city last Friday. The news was broken by the Iyase of Benin Kingdom, Chief Sam Igbe, in company of other traditional chiefs, following the traditional breaking of native chalk at the entrance of the palace.
The late traditional ruler apart from being the political and spiritual head of the Benin Kingdom, was also a father to not only his subjects, but also to many people across the country. He was known as a promoter of peace and quality leadership during his lifetime.
Edo State Government in a statement on Friday, described the late Benin monarch as, “A distinguished Edo numero uno, an accomplished Nigerian, a seasoned bureaucrat, quintessential unifier, unique personage and exemplary Omo N’Oba, whose reign brought distinction, immense class, finesse and integrity to the traditional institution in Edo State and the country at large.
“His uncommon courage was symbolic of the can-do spirit of the Edo mind. His unity of purpose was not in doubt even as he used his revered position to promote constructive engagement amongst all shades of opinion and culture.
“As a thorough-bred bureaucrat, he understood the dynamics and intricacies of governance. He was the alternative voice to the many voiceless in our society, calling government’s attention to issues of development and transparent governance, without minding whose ox was gored. He was brave, fearless, punchy and instructive in his verbal and written messages.”
Born in 1923 and formerly known as Prince Solomon Akenzua, the late monarch was the 38th Oba of Benin after succeeding his father, Oba Akenzua II on March 23, 1979.
Erediauwa attended the Government College, Ibadan, Oyo State, between 1939 and 1945, before proceeding to Yaba College, Lagos, and later King’s College, Cambridge, United Kingdom, where he studied Law and Administration.
The iconic monarch later joined the Eastern Nigeria Civil Service in 1957 as a District Officer on graduation from the university before moving to the Federal Civil Service where he retired as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health in 1973.
His robust career also saw him becoming the regional representative of Gulf Oil for a short while after which he was appointed Commissioner for Finance in the then Bendel State in 1975 as a result of his exceptional qualities.
While on the stool, the late traditional ruler on several occasions mediated in disputes involving politicians across the country. Many presidents and public office holders regularly visited him for counsel and prayers during his reign as a result of his vast knowledge on various issues.
Benin Kingdom under his watch witnessed tremendous growth across all spheres while peace constantly enveloped the area throughout his time. Against all odds, he maintained the sanctity and respect associated with the Benin traditional stool. An author of international repute, he helped promote the rich cultural heritage and history of the Edo people.
The Oba was the embodiment of cultural beliefs and practices. In fact, Bini Kingdom is one of the few in Africa where the advent of Christianity and Islam has not obliterated long-held beliefs, traditions and practices.
The title of the Oba of Benin was created by Oba Eweka I, the Kingdom’s first monarch, who is believed to have ascended to power around 1180 and 1300. It is one of the most revered traditional stools in Africa and the world.
Task for the Crown Prince
In condoling the kingdom’s Crown Prince, Oshiomhole urged him to sustain the legacies of his father. He said the sad news of the Oba’s transition came to him as a huge shock.
“The crown prince has sufficiently gone through the rigours of life and royalty. We believe that the late Oba has prepared him as he has what it takes to step into his shoes and face the challenges that may arise.
“The late Oba was not only a unifying factor to the people of the state, but to the nation in general. I therefore, appeal that the legacies and national respect he commands be sustained.’’
Though his heart was obviously heavy to reply the governor, the Crown Prince being a product of the revered culture and tradition of the Kingdom would do the needful to continue the good works of his late father. And unlike the self-serving lawmakers, he would make peace, progress and upliftment of Edo nation his priority; just like his father.

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