By Osa Amadi, Arts Editor
The Oba Ewuare II Foundation, a nonprofit organization was established for the purpose of upholding and reviving the cultural values and dignity of the Edo people.
The foundation organizes programs that promote Edo culture through education and entrepreneurship. Its vocational trainings and investments in human capital are similar to the free skills acquisition programs pursued by the Director-General of National Council for Arts & Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe which features consistently in every edition of NAFEST
The Oba Ewuare II Foundation has made successful interventions in several areas such as in Edo Language Education and Scholarships, Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration Campaigns, Vocational and Skills Acquisition Training and Feeding the needy.
The cultural displays interwoven in various performances by the foundation on October 23 at the Oba Akenzua II Cultural Centre was part of activities of EDO NAFEST 2019. After the Edo National Anthem, there was a performance foundation music troupe – women adorned in red costume. Shortly after, the state governor, Godwin Obaseki arrived and the Nigerian national anthem was taken. Interestingly, the Oba, like everyone else, stood up for the Nigerian National Anthem, showing that the country is greater than everyone, including the Oba.
The fashion parade was the next on the item, first by little girls, and then older girls paraded on the elevated white stage directly in front of the Oba.
The high point of the performances was a Benin traditional music military drama comprising two forces – the royal forces with red military uniform belonging to Idia, Queen mother of Esigie, the Oba of Benin who ruled from 1504 to 1550. Idia was a great warrior, like Queen Moremi of Ile Ife, who fought relentlessly before and during her son’s reign as the Oba of Benin.
The invading Idah army wore blue top/black skirt uniform. Idah was the traditional capital of the Igala people, which was brought under the jurisdiction of the kingdom of Benin by Oba Esigie (likely through the war exploits of Queen Idia) in the early 16th century. In the music drama, as it was in history, the Benin royal forces overran and defeated the Idah army.