Although the activities to celebrate the first anniversary of the Coronation of His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II has been concluded, the memories will linger for many years to come. The two weeks long ceremony started with musical performance on 3rd October, 2017 at the Palace ground with Ambassador Osayomore Joseph, the Ulele Power Sound exponent taking the lead. The music performance was on everyday, with different musicians taking their turn to play and entertain the people.
On Thursday 12th October, 2017 there was the proclamation of the Benin Customary Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee by His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II at the Palace ground. According to the Oba of Benin, the Palace has not been happy to observe the frustration the people were going through to obtain justice from the Palace Panel System that was formally in place. The age-long tradition, coupled with the vision and mission of Oba Ewuare II is to provide justice, equity, sense of belonging and ensure tolerance, transparency and accountability in Palace administration.
The Oba of Benin said what the people want when they bring matter before the Palace is justice and what the tradition and culture say on the subject matter. This of course necessitated the establishment of the Benin Customary Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee (BCADRC).
Members of the committee are made up of erudite jurists and other personalities with proven records of achievement and integrity. They include, Hon. Justice Samson Uwaifo (Rtd), who is the Chairman; Prof. Gregory Akenzua, former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma; Chief EdionweOliha, the Oliha of Benin; Hon. Justice Samuel Elaiho (Rtd), former judge of the High Court of Edo State; Hon. Justice Joseph Olubor (retired), former President of the Customary Court of Appeal; Mr. Daniel Inneh, former Secretary to the Oba of Benin and a retired Permanent Secretary, Edo State Government; Chief Abel Ehigie, the Olaye of Benin and Surveyor James AmadinOsazuwa.
Their role in the main shall be to arbitrate and mediate on disputes brought voluntarily to the Palace for attention of the Committee. In the event that anyone or group is not satisfied with the decision of the BCADRC, a window does exist for requests to be placed before His Royal Majesty for a re-evaluation of the merit of such cases.
The Oba Ewuare II Foundation was launched on Friday 13th October, 2017 at Urubi in Iyaro, Benin City. The Foundation has different components, such as the Farm produce discount project, Scholarship scheme, Foundry at Ogonerie and Benin Royal Academy for Performing Arts. The Farm produce discount project will be a Sunday-Sunday Market and it is aimed at providing opportunity for those whose purchasing power has been reduced by the prevailing economic reality in the country, and to reduce hunger among the people.
The Oba of Benin solicited the cooperation of farmers, market women, local government authority, Enigie and Edionwere to ensure the success of the programme. The Scholarship scheme is for indigent and less privileged children, especially those who exhibit uncommon knowledge and interest in Benin Language. According to Oba Ewuare II, about 12 children are already enjoying the scholarship at different levels of education.
The Foundry at Ogonerie in Upper Sakponba Road was established to help train young ones in art, craft and bronze casting. It will also help improve the work of Igun Guilds of Bronze Casters, and the Oba of Benin said the Palace has been concerned about how to encourage and enhance their trade. The Benin Royal Academy for Performing Arts which is headed by Mrs. Josephine Abbe is in charge of training young ones in the various aspects of arts, and Oba Ewuare II pointed out that the support of international artists are been sought to help get the academy on its proper footing, and it will be a Diploma awarding institution.
The novelty match played on Saturday 14th October, 2017 at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City was quite uniqueand innovative being first of its kind in the history of Benin Kingdom. The first match was between the Enigie and Palace Chiefs which ended one goal to nil in favour of the Enigie. The second match was between All Stars which featured the state Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu and the Old Bendel Insurance players such as Augustine Eguavoen, and Roland Ewere. His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II displayed his skill in football when he took the kick-off with a left footer placing the ball above the heads of spectators like Austin Okocha, Lionel Messi and Christiana Ronaldo. The second match went in favour of the All Stars, with the Deputy Governor scoring the winning goal.
The Benin Monarch expresses gratitude to all who participated and made the event a success. The Oba of Benin also expressed satisfaction that the Enigie and Palace Chiefs are still very fit to perform their duties in the Palace and in their various dukedom.
On Sunday 15th October, 2017 there was an inter-religious service where prayers were said for the Oba of Benin, members of the Royal family, Palace Chiefs and other Palace functionaries, Governors, and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Specifically, the President of Christian Association of Nigeria, Edo State Bishop OrinamenOyonude Kure prayed that God Almighty should grant the Oba of Benin wisdom, good health and protection to continue to rule over his people. He also pray for the unity, peace and progress of Nigeria.
The very rich cultural heritage of Benin Kingdom was showcased on 17th October, 2017 at the Palace ground as various cultural groups took turn to perform before the Omo N’Oba, members of the Royal family, Chiefs and others present. It featured the Inneh theatre Group, Ebohon Cultural Group, Edo State Arts Council, The Benin Royal Dynasty Trust Theatre Troupe, SouthPoint Royal Academy, Paulson British International School among others. At the end of the performances, His Royal Majesty offered each group a Cow, a bag of Rice and One Hundred Thousand Naira in appreciation of their performance.
The Special Durbar that featured on Friday 20th October, 2017 was quite unique and commemorative of the celebration. The Special Durbar was provided by the Sultan of Sokoto, AbubakarSa’ad III, the EtsuNupe, AlhajiYahayaAbubakarand the Emir of Kano, SanusiLamidoSanusi in honour of the Oba of Benin.
The event took place at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City. In the evening of that same day, was Gala Night that featured musical artistes such as MajekFashek, Tuface,Davido and Akobe. It was a fun filled night for all the guests that came from far and near. They include former Governor of Bendel State, retired Lieutenant General TundeOgbeha, former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his amiable wife, Betsy, State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, Senators and members of House of Representatives, the Oba of Lagos, RilwanAkiolu, captain of industries, politicians, ministers, clergy, traditional rulers, members of the diplomatic corps, friends and well-wishers.
The event featured Beauty Pageant and it saw the emergence of Miss Ifueko as the winner and she went home with the Star Prize of a Brand New Car and the sum of Two Million Naira. With this victory, she has become an Ambassador of the Oba Ewuare II Foundation for the next one year.
On Saturday 21st October, 2017 there was cultural display and street carnival. It featured cultural groups from within and outside Benin Kingdom, while the Calabar Carnival float were on hand to add colour as well as entertain the people with their specially designed costumes and dance steps choreography.
The Coronation anniversary climaxed with a special thanksgiving service at the Benin National Church, the Holy Aruosa Cathedral at Akpakpava Road, Benin City. The presiding OhenOsa, Harrison Okao centred his sermon on truthfulness and honesty. He stressed the need for people to eschew lies and embrace truth at all times. OhenOsa Harrison Okao said the king only deserve the truth from his people in order to lead well and that there is greater reward for honesty both from man and God.
The clergy said anyone who lied against his or her neighbour must get the reward, if not on earth but from God Almighty. High point of the service was a special thanksgiving by His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, accompanied by members of the Royal family, Palace Chiefs, friends and well-wishers.