The Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole has said that it was a big privilege for him to present the staff of office to an Oba of Benin.
The governor made the statement when he addressed State House correspondents shortly after he paid a thank you visit to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Recall that the historic coronation of Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Ewuare II took place in Benin on Thursday with Nigerians and people of other cultures in attendance.
“On my part, I felt very privileged.
“In my eight years of stewardship in Edo State that assignment of having to hand over the staff of office to the Oba of Benin is the most singular important event that God has given me the privilege to preside,’’ Oshiomhole said.
He said that the first time in the 1930s when Oba Akenzua ascended the throne that same staff of office was presented by the Queen of England when the country was under British colonial rule.
He added that in a recent time, the other time the staff was handed to an Oba was in the 1980s through a military governor who was not an Edo indigene.
“This is the first time an Edo man, full-blood son of the soil, decked in Edo costume, presented the most important staff of office to the man we all celebrate as the Oba of Benin,’’ he said.
Oshiomhole said that the attendance to the event by the Sultan of Sokoto,Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III and a host of other traditional rulers from across the country, was “extremely significant’’.
He said the Sultan was not only of Sokoto but the head of the Islamic Council in the country and was at the ceremony as the utmost religious leader in Nigeria.
“To have the Caliphate across the Niger, extending that hand of fellowship and brotherhood and bringing the Durbar from the Caliphate to Benin to celebrate the coronation of the Oba was historic.
“Those royal handshakes and bonds not only speak to history that had existed before the political amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria.
“It shows that our people, regardless of those interventions by the British authority, that the bonds have always been there and that even today those responsible for our tradition are doing their part to sustain those bonds.’’
He said this was so important at this time that the political class was preaching to primordial sentiments in a manner that threatened the country’s unity when they were frustrated.
“I think that royal handshake and bonding shows that at that level of leadership, Nigeria is one and we are committed to one and indivisible Nigeria and those royal fathers have led us by example,’’ he added.
The governor observed that one of the weaknesses of our country “`is that we don’t celebrate our tradition.
“What was unique was that the Oba observed all the cultural rites in the installation, including the most tedious of trekking certain distance to his palace.’’
He said that the exercise was to enable the monarch to place himself in the position of the common man in order to administer the domain well.
“Seeking for those traditions was extremely important because if you do not understand the pains the people under you go through you can’t have empathy and cannot do justice to them.’’
The governor commended the Bini people for behaving in a mature and orderly manner during the coronation of the Oba in spite of the large crowd.
He said the disposition of the Bini and the attendance of many from across the divide elevated Edo to an uncommon height adding that it could not have been better than that.