‘My walk to Uselu with Oshiomhole’
By Simon Ebegbulem, Benin-City
Benin Kingdom has been bubbling with traditional activities in the past four months and a major significant one was the visit of the Edaiken N’Uselu, Crown Prince Ehenede Erediauwa, last Thursday, to the governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, at Government House, Benin-City. That was his first appearance in Benin-City since he moved to his new aboard in Uselu following the ongoing traditional rites in Benin-City.
On this occasion, the crown prince stormed the Government House with top chiefs in Benin Kingdom, who are not always seen unless when the crown moves. He broke his silence on several traditional and political issues when he addressed members of the state Executive Council and the state House of Assembly. He described Oshiomhole as the messiah that God gave the people of Edo, saying those angry that the governor enjoys close relationship with the Benin royal family should have a rethink. While acknowledging the responsibilities and support of the Benin chiefs, the Ediaken declared that the Benin traditional institution “shall not fall, cannot fall, we can only go further”. The Edaiken had recently walked from Benin to Uselu where the traditional ground is located and, on that very historic day, the Comrade Governor volunteered to walk with him.
While addressing members of the state Executive Council, Erediauwa explained his recent visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, saying it was to inform the President of what he described as his moves to embark on a historic traditional journey. The crown prince also expressed his gratitude to the President for receiving him while thanking Oshiomhole for facilitating the visit which he described as very successful.
The crown prince stated: “ Oshiomhole started very well and my prayers is that may God and our ancestors bring his tenure to unblemished end in Edo. He is the messiah in our state. I have not seen anything to change my mind up till now. I said it that anybody who has anything to contradict what I said should do so but I have not seen anybody to contradict me up till now.
“I just want to say that my visit here today is basically a thank you visit for many reasons. I want to thank our governor for many things he has done in the state. He has laid a very strong foundation for democratic process, democratic development, he brought one man one vote to the fore. He also initiated the campaign against god fatherism, while instituting infrastructural development to make Edo the destination for health care, roads, lightening the streets. He changed the concept of the ancient kingdom, the way it was once interpreted because of the darkness you see everywhere and everybody thought ancient kingdom meant darkness but they forgot the historical background of it. That ancient kingdom meant because it was really ancient going back to the 12th centuries, beyond the 12th century. But people started to look at Benin City the capital of Edo, once the capital of Midwest region, as ancient in terms of dereliction. But our indefatigable governor came to light it up. I really could not believe when I went round the streets of Benin and everywhere was bright at night. I was in Rome when he was doing all the work. When I came in from Rome in one of my visit, I just could not believe this was Benin. For that reason, I want to thank you for introducing this new face of Benin.
Visit to Mr President
“I want to also thank you for making it possible for me to visit the President before I embarked on this traditional journey. I appealed to you that I was about to make a mile stone. The milestone is not personal to me but in the life of the institution, in the life of the historical nature of the kingdom. I don’t think I should make such a move without first informing Mr President because I believe there was a need for that. Like I told Mr President, this is an important part of Nigeria which he is watching over. So I thought that it was imperative that as the crown prince, the responsibility that God and my ancestors have placed on me to inform Mr President first of what was about to happen, that I was about to relocate to Uselu and I wanted him to understand what that meant. So I appealed to our governor here and he arranged the meeting. We know the President’s schedule is a bit tight but he was able to receive me privately and I want to use this opportunity to thank Mr President for receiving me. And he found it amazing that I came to inform him that something was about to happen here in Benin. I want to thank Mr President for that wonderful gesture and for also giving me assurances that he will support the ancient traditional institution in Benin. Upon my return, I invited the Iyase, the Esogban, and other departmental heads of the palace and it was then I told them that I was now ready to relocate to Uselu. I want to thank God and our ancestors, I want to thank my father for making that move possible and successful.
Oshiomhole’s love and respect for Benin tradition
“The Comrade Governor always thinks of what to do for the palace, what to do for the Benins to express gratitude that he has never received any such support anywhere else. He has always said that the fatherly support he received from my father, is more than he received from his biological father. He said if he has any god father, it is the Oba. I want to thank him again for this wonderful recognition which has made some section of the society not too happy. The Comrade Governor has expressed this sentiment so much. But he has expressed it in the right quarters and may God and our ancestors bless him. We wonder why some sections should criticize the Comrade Governor about it, is it because he is not anti-royal? I am not worried about those who are anti-royal, I don’t sweat over them because it is part of life. I try to get philosophical about life so that one can move on. I like exhibiting stoicism in some of the things I do. I thank Mr Governor for unifying everybody in the state and we have enjoyed peace and we want it to continue.
Walking to Uselu
“”But I cannot end my address without mentioning this. When I was going to Uselu, the Comrade Governor came all the way from the village to meet me in the palace and he said he heard that I was moving to Uselu. He said he was going to walk with me from Benin. The governor had earlier sent a message asking if I was actually going to walk to Uselu and I told people to tell him that, that is the tradition and that my ancestors are in charge now, that I will do the walk, it will be a piece of cake”.
In his response, Oshiomhole noted that the visit was a rare privilege. “I have had a very close relationship with HRH as Ambassador. You have always been nice to me from the time I informed you of my desire to run for governor. You have always been generous to me with your advice and all of which has been helpful. I can never thank the Oba of Benin enough for his fatherly role in my life.
I feel extremely humbled that you decided to pay what you call a thank you visit. Whatever development that has taken place in Benin and across the state has been the result of the uncommon support that I have enjoyed. Our commitment to renewing the city remains firm and we are clear of what needs to be done in the next ten years, if those are sustained Benin City would be back to what it was described as some hundred years ago, when i am told that some Europeans came to look at the city and they described it as the best planned city on the black continent. We must get back there”, the governor added.