By: Desmond Agbama, CPS to Oba of Benin
The Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba of Benin is the paramount
traditional ruler in Edo State. The Oba of Benin remains the permanent
chairman of the Edo State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs.
This position was vested on the Oba permanently, in recognition of the
fact that the Oba of Benin is both Spiritual and Administrative Head
of Traditional Institutions in Benin Kingdom in particular and Edo
State in general.
In Benin Kingdom, there is only one Monarch that is, the Omo N’Oba
N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, the Oba of Benin. There are Enigie, Igie-Ohen,
Edionwere and Ikao who are either dukes or heads of the various
villages in Benin Kingdom. All of them are under the authority of the
Oba of Benin Kingdom.
The Enigie, Igie-Ohen, Ikao, Chiefs and Edionwere in Benin Kingdom
pay obeisance to the Oba of Benin, and they revered the Monarch to the
highest level. All sons and daughters of Benin extraction irrespective
of social, economic and political status in the society are under
obligation to respect, dignify and pay unalloyed homage to the Oba.
The reason why this is so is not far-fetched. Historically, the Omo
N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, is God’s representative on earth, which
means that the Oba is both a traditional ruler and spiritual leader of
That of course explains why anyone coming into the presence of the
Oba, especially when the Oba is on the throne, must greet the Oba in
the most acceptable manner as prescribed by Benin custom and
tradition. For instance, it is the tradition that everyone must kneel
down to greet and address the Oba of Benin by chanting “Oba ghato
kpere ise” meaning “Long may you reign our King, Amen”. There is no
exception to this rule, except with some other Royal majesties across
the world. Even members of the Royal family greet and respect the Oba
in the same manner.
Furthermore, culture and tradition are the ways and beliefs of the
people, and it is the way a particular tribe, race or ethnic group is
known, it represents their identity, and symbol of unity. The Oba of
Benin is the custodian of the rich culture and tradition of Benin
people. In other words, the Oba of Benin helps to promote, propagate,
and preserve the culture and tradition of the people of the Kingdom.
On the other hand, the people in turn protect the image of the Oba of
Benin and preserve the sanctity of the Palace and the revered throne
of the Monarch at all times. Any attempt for anyone or group of
persons to disrespect the Oba is viewed as sacrilegious and
abomination which is forbidden and highly detestable by the people,
while such a person or persons will be regarded as “Okhion-Oba” that
is, an enemy of the Oba. Such an individual usually incur the wrath of
Since the coronation of the 40th Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Oba
Ewuare II, Ogidigan, a lot of transformation have taken place in the
traditional administration of Benin Kingdom, which has brought sanity
to many villages and towns in the Kingdom. For instance, the abolition
of the Community Development Association (CDA), which hitherto
prevented people from acquiring and developing their landed property,
the introduction of the open mediation at Ugha-Ozolua in the Oba
Palace, which is first of its kind in the history of the Palace, aimed
at providing opportunity for people, especially women to personally
present their complaints to Oba of Benin who graciously and
painstakingly seat on the throne to resolve problems presented before
the Palace in an unprecedented manner. Since the commencement of the
open mediation, many men and women have got justice, many have had
reason to rejoice due to the open and fair nature of the resolutions
by Oba of Benin. This is being done out of the fatherly love and mercy
Oba Ewuare II have for his people.
Therefore, the people must reciprocate this gesture by approaching
the Palace and the revered throne of the Oba in the most appreciative,
respectful and dignifying manner. This will gladden the heart of all
Palace functionaries and also encourage His Royal Majesty to continue
to do more better things for his people. Oba Ewuare II no doubt meant
well for the people. The vision and mission of Oba Ewuare II is for
the Kingdom to witness high level of development and for his people to
be healthy and prosperous.
That explains why the Oba of Benin has been working closely with the
state, and federal governments as well as other well-meaning Nigerians
and members of the international community to attract development to
Edo State. In due course, the Oba of Benin would be unveiling his
boxes of Royal gifts for his people, especially the less privileged
members of the society.
With the first coronation anniversary of the Oba few weeks away, it
should be placed on record that His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II has
changed things for the better in Benin Kingdom. His Royal Majesty
deserves commendation, appreciation and respect from the people.
The magnanimity and benevolence of the Oba must not be taken for
granted, rather the Oba should be revered by all in accordance with
the custom and tradition of Benin. Moreover, as the Oba is a legendary
hero of Benin Kingdom.
May the reign of Oba Ewuare II be long to usher in the desired
blessings for the people.