The coronation of Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa as the 39th Oba of Benin Kingdom holds today, October 20, 2016.
In attendance of the are: Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; Edo state Governor, Adams Oshiomhole; National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Oyegun, Royal fathers, religious leaders, retired army generals and members of the Edo State Executive Council.
Dignitaries were reported to have started arriving the venue of the coronation, Oba Ovoramwan Square, Urhopkota, as early as 8 a.m. amidst tight security.
The new Oba of Benin will succeed his father, Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Erediauwa I, who joined his ancestors in April.
He is set to rule a kingdom which dates back to the 12th century.
Erediauwa began his 10-day coronation journey 2 weeks ago by trekking a distance of about 10 km from his palace at Uselu to Eko-Ohae.
As part of the coronation procession, he also climbed a 500-year-old palm tree as part of a symbolic rite which dates back to the time of Oba Ewuare who rule the kingdom from 1440 to 1473.
He then moved to the `Iyan-akpan’ now known as the popular five-junction, where Chiefs from Uselu community handed him to Chiefs from Benin.
Various cultural troupes including the Iten Edo Theatre Group and Benin Royal Dynasty Trust Dance entertained as they moved with the crowd to entertainment.
Erediauwa also wrestled with the Chief Priest of Okhuaihe shrine, Osarodion Usuanlele – a traditional rite for the coronation.
The two then proceeded to the sacred forest in the community, where some rites were performed. Both are not expected to see each other until Erediauwa becomes Oba.
Then on Tuesday, as part of Benin tradition, Erediauwa visited Use community in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State – where he picked a name he would bear as the new Oba.
He was reported to have arrived at about 4 p.m. in the company of his royal entourage. He proceeded to the palace, with the Edigin N’Use, Ekpen Kelvin Edigin, where he later played the traditional game of ‘Akhue’, while a large crowd of residents watched with admiration.
He later proceeded to Ugbo shrine where he prayed for God’s guidance and protection.
His title is said to be revealed on his coronation day, and the event is expected to go on smoothly as a public holiday has been declared and security tightened.
Security presence was reportedly evident on Wednesday along major streets and around strategic locations around the ancient city. Security vehicles were seen on patrol blaring their sirens.
No fewer than 5,000 security personnel have been deployed in the state for the event, according to Edo State Police Commissioner, Haliru Abubakar Gwandu.
Also, personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as well as palace security guards have been stationed at the entrance of the Urhokpota at the King’s Square.
Today marks a new day for the new monarch, and for this we wish him a long and prosperous reign.
Long live the Oba of Benin.
Oba Ato kpee!