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Oba Ewuare 11 coronation speech as the

40th Oba of Benin Kingdom
Thursday 20th October 2016
Today marks the end of activities described by custom and tradition for my
ascension to the revered throne of this ancient kingdom. I accept with faith
and humility the destiny which ordained that henceforth I shall be the
embodiment and the expression of culture and aspirations and history of
our people.
As the principal actor in the event of several months that led to this
position, I have had the unique opportunity to reflect on the values and
essence of our historical continuum. What royalty represents to our people
are justice, peace and unity. These ideals shall be reawakened and be
sustained in the dispensation that will soon unfold.
The time tested, rancour free succession process bequeathed to us in our
customs and tradition is a great tribute to the far sightedness and wisdom
of our fore-fathers and our people. This collective achievement is a
veritable proof of our ability to manage our own affairs. It makes us very
proud of our heritage.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let me begin by paying deserved
tribute to my illustrious father, Omo N’oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba
Erediauwa, CFR, who joined his ancestors after 37 years of glorious reign.
With all due modesty, I must admit that as a son and heir, that I enjoyed
and benefited from his fatherly love and wisdom more than anyone else.
His visionary leadership, courage and dedication to our cultural heritage
ensured that the legacies of several century were preserved. He was a true
symbol of our cultural identity. Throughout his reign, his palace was a warm
and welcome home for all who had need for good counsel, guidance and
material assistance. Traditional rulers from far and near consulted him for
clarity on touchy issues. Or to resolve a vast range of socio-cultural
problems. Ethnicity, religion and social status were no barriers to reaching
him for advice and support. He was a good and caring father to us all. He
led our common cause with dignity, tact and wisdom. In the community of

royalty, he was exemplary and hence he was revered throughout this
kingdom and beyond. Though for him, our culture and tradition was his
priority but he was open to new ideas and respectful of progress made
through social and scientific innovations. Time constraint will not allow me
to give full account of all my father’s achievement or the benefit his reign
brought to Benin Kingdom, our state, our country and indeed, humanity.
Our responsibility for us now is daunting, but I am confident that with the
blessing of God Almighty, the love and support of my family, my people,
Nigerians in general and my friends in the international community, we shall
succeed in this mission of building upon the legacies of our fathers.
Let me crave your indulgence to also make few remarks about my late
mother, Princess Eghiunwe Akenzua of blessed memory, who passed on to
the great beyond in 1976, when my father was still the Crown Prince. It was
my dear mother who taught me to work hard for success in everything I set
my mind upon to achieve. Circumstances and act of faith did not allow her
to enjoy the status of a Queen in her life time. But she was a Princess in
her own right. By my coronation, today, she is now entitled to be bestowed
with the title of Iye Oba (Queen Mother). Which customs allow us to confer
posthumously. This will be consummated at the appropriate time.
History also reminds us of the importance of the present time which is the
only opportunity we have to take the different and too often fragmented
components of our collective past to prepare the foundation for a unifying
and collective future.
A long line of succession of kings in the Kingdom known as Benin, started
in the 12th century by modern recording. There may be some different
views about the origin of some of our ancestors, but there is unanimity in
the shared heritage between the people of Benin and lle lfe in identifying
Oduduwa as a forebear of kingship in many kingdoms in some part of
Africa and the part called Nigeria today. Historians all agree that Oduduwa
sent his son Oromiyan at the request of elders of Benin to return to them as
ruler of their realm. Oromiyan staying in Benin may have been short, but
before he left, a child was born to him, who was later crowned Oba and he
is known today as Eweka the 1st. Oromiyan’s time in Benin, however shortlived, he was an Oba and so he was the first Oba after the Ogiso dynasty
came to an end. He established Obaship in Benin, by implication the listing

of past Obas should therefore begin with Oromiyan as it is listed in the line
of Obas. This actually made my revered father the 39th Oba of Benin, if the
listing is counted from and should be counted from Oromiyan. I therefore
stand before you today as the 40th Oba of Benin. A direct descendant of
Oromiyan, the son of Oduduwa who the Benin people of that era knew as
Ekharaderan, their self exiled Prince who later became ruler in IIe Ife, the
Benin people recognized Oduduwa and his origin but it is not in our place
to force this recognition on others outside our boundaries. The history of
the world, is a shared one and there will certainly be unexpected
connections in future.
This is a time for unity and not divisiveness’. A time for mutual respect,
recognizing that our wholeness as equals is so much more than the sum of
our parts.
Now, what does the new dispensation hold for us? The Oba remains the
channel through which the powers of the ancestors continue to guide and
protect the kingdom and its people.
To that extent, we shall faithfully discharge this sacred responsibility, we
shall pay due attention to all manners of all our customs and traditions,
focusing on real issues of security of our communities and welfare of our
people.
We shall carry out our reforms in palace administration in order to be
adequately responsive to our people’s sincere and deep longing for justice,
equity and stability.
Using culture as unifying factor, we shall strive to ensure that conflicts are
resolved between individuals, families and communities along the
principles of social justice.
We shall use cultural diplomacy as a veritable tool for the promotion of
harmonious relationship with our neighbours far and near.
I also strongly advise my Benin people, we should strive to maintain our
culture, especially our language by insisting on its use in communicating
with our children and each other.
You will agree with me that the Benin empire which encompasses part of
Lagos, across to Asaba, even to the then Dahomey, has now reduced to

one state. To survive, it is imperative that we maintain our culture which is
now the only unifying force for our people. Our culture and tradition remains
the grand main factor that the entire country and the international
community respects us for. And I appeal to our Benin people to uphold and
respect our traditional institutions at all times. I employ government to also
include Edo language and Benin history in our schools curriculum.
We shall forge links with other traditional institutions here in Nigeria, in
Africa and beyond. We must especially acknowledge how honoured and
gratifying we are to have in our midst today, representatives of monarchs
from other parts of the world. The Zulu King in South Africa, the Kabaka of
the Kingdom of Bugunda, as well as the Queen of England and the
monarchs of Sweden, Denmark and Norway are all represented in this
event by the Ambassadors of these countries.
I hope this will provide an opportunity to strengthen contacts and build
linkages and will compliment and enhance excellent bilateral relationships
that already exist between our countries.
We shall uphold and maintain the principle of neutrality and none
partisanship in political party activities.
While our people remain free to play politics in the political party of their
choice, we shall however continue to pray for and always support the right
kind of political leaders who will safeguard the welfare of our people,
provide for their basic needs and who will accord due recognition to the
traditional institution.
We will initiate a cultural renaissance that will focus on tourism promotion,
through arts and craft.
To drive this initiative, we have already established two purpose vehicles,
namely the Benin Royal Family Trust, in collaboration with the Benin
Traditional Council has established an office in Igun, Iguewon quarters to
enhance the productivity of the bronze casters.
The Benin Royal Academy for performing arts will train youths and develop
their talents. They will reach out to international choreographers in different
parts of the world for the purpose of transforming Benin dance into an
international brand.

Through this initiatives, we hope to attract tourism to our land and provide
jobs for our teeming youths.
We shall also support efforts to build partnership and seek international
assistance for the restoration of Benin monuments including revival of the
creative and artistic talents of the Binis, which are already globally
acknowledged through our rich artifacts.
It is pertinent at this point to express our deep concern about poverty and
the rise in crime and juvenile delinquency in our society. The problem is
both a consequence, and it is aggravated by wild spread youth
unemployment.
The solution will require a well-articulated and structured youth
development and empowerment programmes with active support of
government at all levels.
We shall partner with government to attract domestic and international
resources for the establishment of clusters of agro based industries in each
of our seven Local Government Areas. In this regard, the transformation of
Gelegele into an export processing zone. Agro allied industries shall remain
one of our major projects in the state.
With the support of the Federal Government, we shall join forces with
government at all levels and other well-meaning individuals in pursuing
poverty alleviation strategies which will be driven by the Royal Dynasty
Trust.
We will also partner with relevant government agencies to pursue
programmes for the preservation of our forest endowment. To this end, we
will establish a prize for the local government in Edo state that is best in
annual tree planting competitions.
Today is an important day for us. It marks a turning point in our lives. We
will therefore do two important things to mark this day.
First, to honour the memory of our illustrious father. We establish today
Oba Erediauwa Annual Lecture series. For this, the sum of N10million will
be invested in a Trust Fund and the proceeds will be used to support an
annual well researched work on any subject in Benin history, public
administration or Edo language.

Secondly, we will unveil a new crest which states my motto, meaning no
reward without industry.
Finally we appreciate your presence here today especially those who have
supported us in various ways. We remain grateful to the multitude of people
who lined the roads everywhere we passed and all those who worked
tirelessly to ensure the success of this event. The show of support and
affection for me in particular each time I step out of any outdoor traditional
activity since I was initiated into Ewebo up till now has been very amazing.