Oba of Benin, Erediauwa joins his ancestors

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    oba_of_beninThe traditional ruler of the Benin Kingdom, Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, has died.

    The monarch’s demise was officially announced by Adams Oshiomhole, the Governor of Edo State, on Friday.

    “Our hearts are heavy, laden with pains and grief, at the announcement of the passing to glory… of our highly revered Oba…,” Mr. Oshiomhole said in a 431-word statement announcing the ‎king’s death.

    Oba Erediauwa was aged 92.

    Almost one year ago, the monarch, who ascended the throne in 1979, was rumoured to have passed on after an undisclosed illness.

    The rumour became widespread after the campaign trail of then president, Goodluck Jonathan, landed in Benin in February 2015, and the Oba was conspicuously ‎absent.

    Frank Irabor, Secretary of the Benin Traditional Council, quickly moved to dispel the rumours.

    “They have been peddling that rumour for more than a year now, because the Oba has not been coming out,” Mr. Irabor said in a statement.

    “If there is anything like that, there is usually a statement from the palace or from the Benin Traditional Council.

    “The fact that he has not been coming out, even when the President came last week, does not mean that there is anything like that.”

    One month later, a delegation of princes and chiefs in the Benin Kingdom, led by Ada Erediauwa, visited Abuja to convey the King’s assurance of his victory at the polls.

    However, a few days later, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom, Eheneden Erediauwa; the Iyase (Prime Minister), Sam Igbe; and some traditional chiefs ‎declared that the monarch had not endorsed any candidate for the election.

    Eheneden had been formally installed as the Edaiken of Uselu, the heir apparent to the throne on March 7, 2015.

    One of the last public appearances of Oba Erediauwa was his handing of Red Egbeigben, the highest Benin traditional attire, to Mr. Jonathan.

    Prince Solomon Aiseokhuoba Igbinoghodua Akenzua (later known as Oba n’Oba Erediauwa) was 56 when he succeeded his father, Oba Akenzua 11, on March 23‎, 1979.

    Born‎ on June 22, 1923, the young prince attended Government College, Ibadan, in 1939, from where he gained admission into Yaba College six years later.

    Afterwards, he was admitted into King’s College, Cambridge, to study Law and Administration.

    In 1957, he returned to Nigeria to join the Eastern Nigeria Civil Service as a District Officer.

    He retired from the civil service in 1973 and became the regional representative for Gulf Oil Company. Two years later, he was appointed the Commissioner for Finance by the military administration of Major-General George Innih‎.

    Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, the 38th Oba of Benin, was an author, peace advocate, father, grandfather, and great grandfather.

    In his statement, Mr. Oshiomhole described him as a thoroughbred bureaucrat who was “brave, fearless and punchy”.

    “Edo people will miss our inchoate royal father of the great Benin Kingdom,” Mr. Oshiomhole said. “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.” (The Cable)

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