The Benin Traditional Council has formally announced the translation of the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba n’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, to the world beyond.
His translation was announced Friday by the Prime Minister and Iyase of Benin Kingdom, Chief Sam Igbe, in the presence of other traditional Chiefs and Enigie (Dukes), with the traditional braking of native chalk at the entrance of the palace.
While announcing the translation, the Iyase said: “Osorhue Bunrun. Oba Erediauwa of Benin Kingdom, the Prince if Peace, Ebo, Ayemwirhe, emini mini mini, has returned to his ancestors. May he find perfect peace with God.”
Following the breaking of the native chalk at the main entrance of the palace, all the chiefs and enigie broke down in tears and wailed for the translated Monarch.
In accordance with the Benin traditional mourning rites for a translated Monarch, every male in the kingdom is expected to shave his head throughout the mourning period that may last for up to three months, while all markets in the kingdom are to remain closed for about seven days.
The Benin Crown Prince and Edaiken of Benin, Eheneden Erediauwa, who arrived at the palace at about 1:10 pm from his temporary resistance in Uselu, was formally informed of the translation of his father, before it was publicly announced.
The late Monarch was crowned Oba of Benin in March, 1979.
Reacting to the announcement of the translation of the Monarch, the Obadolagbonyi of Benin Kingdom, Chief Omon-Osagie Utetenegiabi, said:
“Yes, it is traditional. It is customary that when a sitting Oba becomes an ancestor, translates to a greater glory. The Oba of Benin does not die because he is an institution; he mainly translates to a high glory as an ancestor.
“The news is first broken to his eldest son and the immediate family which was done earlier today. And the Iyase of Benin, as the highest ranking Chief now breaks the news to the people of Benin Kingdom and the world. Iyase is the traditional Prime Minister and the bridge between the people and the royalty and that is what he has done today.
“From today until the expiration of ‘Emwinekhua’ all Benin Chiefs, all chiefs that have been entitled by the Oba to wear the round bead round their necks, which is two, will now wear one. It is customary because when you see a Chief wears one bead, it shows that we are in a state of mourning. After today, we are awaiting further instructions on what to do.
“Oba Erediauwa is the Oba of Peace, the Oba who brought prosperity to his people, the Oba who understands his people. He made sure that no one was offended, the Oba who could sit in judgment and give judgment against his own son for a commoner. It is rare. Oba Erediauwa was the best that has happened to Benin Kingdom in the last 1,600 years.”
Meanwhile, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has eulogised the departed Benin Monarch, Oba Erediauwa.
The Governor expressed his profound reverence for the departed Monarch in a press statement he issued and personally signed.
He described the late Monarch as ”an accomplished Nigerian, a seasoned bureaucrat, quintessential unifier, unique personage”
He said; “Our hearts are heavy, laden with pains and grief, at the announcement of the passing on to glory of Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa of Benin, our highly revered Oba, 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 traditional institution in Edo state and the country at large.
“His carriage came with an élan that was peculiar with the reverence of royalty. 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 in Edo state. As a thorough-bred bureaucrat, rising to the pinnacle of his career as a Federal Permanent Secretary, he understood the dynamics and intricacies of governance. He was the alternative voice to the many voiceless in our society, calling government attention to issues of development and transparent governance, without minding whose ox is gored. He was brave, fearless, punchy and instructive in his verbal and written messages.
“To us at the Edo State Government, he was our strongest supporter; both in his uncommon faith in our ability and his readiness to offer uncommon advice to sharpen public discourse in our shared commitment to transform Edo state. It gladdens our heart, therefore, that our revered Oba was alive to witness the positive transformation of Edo state under his reign, and for standing with us through thick and thin in the course of making the Edo economy a treasure to behold. Being part of that eloquent history of transformation before his reunion with his ancestors gives us further reassurance that he will occupy a special pride of place in the hereafter.
“We are enveloped with a deep sense of nostalgia that our great Oba, a great-grandfather, grandfather, father, uncle and iconoclastic royal father of exemplary carriage and conduct, who sustained the dignity of the average Edo mind, has joined his ancestors. We are, however, encouraged by the fact that another great son of the Great Benin Kingdom, His Royal Highness, Edaiken N’Uselu, Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa, who is already showing manifest quintessential attributes of his great father, will step into his father’s big shoes.
“Edo people will miss our iconoclastic royal father of the great Benin Kingdom. Nigerians and Nigeria will miss this great exemplar of a Royal Father, an Oba of distinction and integrity. Adieu until we meet to part no more.”