The rumour that the Benin monarch, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Okpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, has passed on, has been debunked by the palace with a statement that revered royal father is hale and hearty.
However, apprehension is now all over the kingdom among the indigenes and non-indigenes.
The apprehension is as a result of the consequence of what tradition demands in case the rumour had been confirmed.
Indigenes of the acclaimed oldest kingdom in Africa said that the tradition actually forbids the announcement of the death of an Oba by anyone other than the Esogban of Benin Kingdom, who will go through the traditional rite of breaking traditional chalk on the bare earth in a chosen location close to the market in front of the palace.
This is done about three months after the king’s death, although it is taken that he died on the day the announcement was made.
As soon as the announcement is made, indigenes of Benin are expected to shave their heads clean.
Also, movement around the palace at night is restricted, especially to non-indigenes.
Markets in the kingdom are closed for some weeks after the official announcement of a king’s death.
Another thing expected from residents – indigenes and non-indigenes – is that they should be careful of their utterances, especially in public.
A source in the palace who preferred anonymity, because, “I have no authority to speak on such issues”, appealed to the public to abide by the statement of the Benin Traditional Council, which debunked the rumour.
A call put to the police to know measures that are being put in place to check some excesses that may arise as a result of the rumour was not picked.
However, Benin City, the Edo State capital has remained calm and devoid of any crisis as a result of the speculations over the royal father.
One of the high chiefs, who spoke to Sunday Independent, but pleaded anonymity, said, “There is nothing like anxiety or panic in any where in Benin city,
“Those carrying such rumour are the enemies of this land and they will not go unpunished by the gods of this land because it has been confirmed that our Father is in good health while should some persons will want to be mischievous.”