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The Erediauwa dynasty: Like father, like son

By Josef Omorotionmwan
21 June 2016   |   1:13 am
This is neither a rejoinder nor a biography on Crown Prince (Ambassador) Eheneden Erediauwa, Edaiken N’Uselu. Rather, it is more of an addendum to the brilliant prompting by The Guardian editorial at page 14 of its Friday, May 27, 2016 edition.
Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa

Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa

This is neither a rejoinder nor a biography on Crown Prince (Ambassador) Eheneden Erediauwa, Edaiken N’Uselu. Rather, it is more of an addendum to the brilliant prompting by The Guardian editorial at page 14 of its Friday, May 27, 2016 edition.

For cohesiveness, we feel impelled to recapitulate the major highlights of that well thought-out editorial: It properly captures the life and times of the late Benin Monarch, His Imperial Majesty, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa and proceeds from there to join all people of goodwill in commiserating with the Crown Prince; and the Government and people of Edo State over the demise of the great Oba.

The editorial makes it abundantly clear that from very early in life, the just-departed Oba equipped himself with sound education, acquired largely in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. That also explains why he was a tremendous success in all aspects of life.

After his university education, he joined the Eastern Nigeria Civil Service as a District Officer. He later moved on to the Federal Civil Service where he rose to the apex, retiring in 1973, as a Super Permanent Secretary. He had a short stint as Commissioner for Finance in the military administration of Brigadier George Innih in the defunct Bendel State.

He was a man of stoic discipline and wherever he went, he demonstrated high professionalism and exemplary probity. These were foreshadowing to his reign as the Oba of the Benin Kingdom whose time was characterised by peace and tolerance – without sacrificing the rich tradition and culture of the Bini nation.
Like The Guardian, we sometimes get fascinated by small details. It is instructive that The Guardian editorial dwelt exhaustively on the incident, during the infamous Sani Abacha junta, when traditional rulers were hoodwinked into supporting the obnoxious policies of that administration. The dictator once summoned traditional rulers from across the country to Abuja to extract from them, the support of his proposed tenure elongation. While most traditional rulers remained rather docile, Oba Erediauwa openly criticised the ludicrous plan, even in the face of the killing machines of that era.

The Guardian is right in assuming that the life and times of the departed monarch pose serious challenges for the Crown Prince (Ambassador) Eheneden Erediauwa, Edaiken N’Uselu, who is apparently inheriting over-size shoes from his father. Obviously, The Guardian had no way of knowing that in his life time, the departed monarch prayed fervently, and worked assiduously, for his son to be greater than himself.

Like his father’s, the academic credentials of the Crown Prince are highly intimidating: During the period 1965-1967, he attended Edo College, Benin City. From 1968-1970, he was in Immaculate Conception College, ICC, Benin City. From 1971-1972, the Crown Prince attended South Thames College, South West London, England, for his General Certificate of Education, Advanced level.

In his determination to build up the necessary intellectual robustness relevant to the machinery and process of service to humanity, the Crown Prince proceeded to the University College, University of Wales, Cardiff, where he obtained the Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics.

Between September 1979 and June 1981, the Crown Prince attended the prestigious Rutgers University Graduate School of Public Administration, Newark, New Jersey, USA, where he obtained the degree of Master of Public Administration, MPA. Still achieving, still pursuing… Current turn of events around the Edaiken reasonably dictate that his doctoral thesis in International Administration at the University of London is put ‘on hold’, at least for now.

The Crown Prince has had a lot of post graduate training in International Administration, including one year each of Graduate Internship at the United Nations, UN Headquarters, New York; and the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

At the Diplomatic Level, Crown Prince Erediauwa has, during the period 1997-2012, under Military and Civilian Administrations, been appointed Nigerian Ambassador three times as follows: (i) Nigerian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Sweden, with concurrent accreditation to the Kingdoms of Norway and Denmark and the Republic of Finland; (ii) Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Angola; and (iii) Nigerian Ambassador to Rome, Italy, with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Albania.

Before his Diplomatic Postings, the Crown Prince served meritoriously on the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; and on the Boards of many other companies.

The full biography is for another day – post coronation. The courageous stand of the departed monarch during the Abacha regime has many parallels in the life of the Crown Prince. Space will permit us to re-visit only one recent case:

Before the last general elections, the Crown Prince visited the seat of power in Abuja for issues totally unrelated to politics. Some unscrupulous politicians harped on the visit to make insinuation and innuendos aimed at creating political gains from the visit. This happened at a time when many other traditional rulers were scrambling to attract the attention of the powers-that-be, particularly as this involved a political party that was originally poised to win the elections.

Against the wave of popular acclaim, the Crown Prince addressed the press, and issued a stern warning for politicians to desist from using his visit to Abuja for political adventurism.

What we see in all these are two of a kind – people who would remain courageous, and glued to the truth, even at the edge of doom – like father, like son.
The bold insignia, “My God My Right” in front of the new palace building also speaks volumes. The journey has begun in earnest. We salute the Crown Prince. We salute his courage. Edaiken gha t’ okpere… Iseee!
• Hon. Josef Omorotionmwan wrote via e-mail: joligien@yahoo.com