Benin agog as monarch’s coronation rites progress
Activities in several parts of Benin City were grounded on Saturday as residents trooped out in large numbers to witness the beginning of coronation rites for the Crown Prince, Eheneden Erediauwa.
He would be the 39th Oba of Benin and 70th king from the time of the Ogisos dynasty.
The crown prince started the process with a 10-kilometre trek from his temporary palace at Uselu, to Eko-Ohae, in the present-day Oredo Local Council area, where he had been since March last year. He also symbolically climbed a palm tree said to be 500 years old.
Various cultural troupes, like the Iten Edo Theatre Group and the Benin Royal Dynasty Trust Dance entertained the crowd in the procession.
The Iyekeagbon of Benin, Osarobe Orue, who claimed to have witnessed the coronation of Oba Akenzua, said the reign of the new oba would bring peace than those of his predecessors.
He said: “This is the third time I am witnessing the coronation of an oba of Benin. I witnessed the coronation of Oba Akenzua, Erediauwa and that of Edaiken N’Uselu. I joined in the trekking, even though I am 100 years old now.”
Also, the Ohanwan of Benin, Egharevba Igbinehi, said his forefathers were among the chiefs who came with Prince Oranmiyan from Uhe (Ife).
He said his function is to pray for the monarch before he begins any ceremony.
Mrs. Omouwa Omoregie said the three months spent by the prince in Uselu brought peace and tranquility to the people of the community. She said it was her first time of witnessing the coronation of a new monarc h of Benin, adding that she is now in a better position to relate the story to her children.
The Aiyebahan of Benin, Osamede Adun, who is now a palace chief, said he was 25 years old when the late Oba Erediauwa was crowned king in 1979. He added that he stood among the crowd to watch the procession and coronation then.
He described the crown prince as a man who abhors lies and derives pleasure only in truth.
On the personality of the crown prince, he said: “The Edaiken does not like lies. If you want to be his friend, tell him the truth. Once he found out that you were not truthful, he would no longer be happy with the person. I am advising my fellow chiefs to give him the true picture of things.”
Before the trek of about four kilometres from the palace, the crown prince had visited some shrines in the palace, before taking his seat at a prepared space where his wives and siblings came to pay obeisance.
Women groups adorned in Benin traditional attire, drummers and entertainers, youths, politicians and government officials led by Governor Adams Oshiomhole, defied the scorching sun to await the arrival of the royal father.
The crown prince was clad in white and red traditional regalia with a pair of dark glasses. First-class Benin palace chiefs accompanied him.