The very rich Benin culture and tradition was on display right from the domestic wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, where sons and daughters of Edo State, as well as other ethnic groups came in their hundreds to welcome the Benin Monarch. The Airport was agog as various cultural groups performed to give the Oba of Benin a befitting welcome. For the first time in many years, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport witnessed such a glamorous display of culture and tradition.
There were array of Palace Chiefs, politicians, businessmen and captains of industries, diplomats and even the airport functionaries had to troupe out not only to catch a glimpse but to give the Oba of Benin a rousing welcome.
On arrival at Abuja, the first point of call was the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, where Oba Ewuare II paid a historic Royal visit to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Mohammadu Buhari GCFR.
Addressing the President, Oba Ewuare II said the purpose of the historic visit was to specially thank Mr. President for his support before, during and after his coronation on 20th October, 2016. The Benin Monarch said the kind gesture of President Buhari meant a lot to him, the Royal family and entire Edo people, and it speaks volumes of the cordial relationship that existed between the Palace of the Oba of Benin and the presidency. The Omo N’Oba used the opportunity to draw President Buhari’s attention to the deplorable state of infrastructure, insecurity, human trafficking in Edo State as well as the need for federal government to complete the on-going dualization of the Benin-Auchi-Lokoja Highway. His Royal Majesty specifically called on the federal government to assist Edo State Government to establish low and medium scale industries in Edo State to reduce unemployment, which has been responsible for increasing rate of youth migration, human trafficking and criminality. The Oba of Benin also informed President Buhari about the relentless effort of the Palace and Edo State government to ban the activities of Community Development Associations (CDAs), which hitherto destroyed the normative and value system of the society.
Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, recalled the roles of traditional rulers in the country, which has helped in no small measure in stabilizing and developing the grassroots. His Royal Majesty wondered why traditional rulers have not been so recognized by the Nigerian Constitution. The Omo N’Oba said as a country deeply rooted in cultural values and norms, traditional institutions will continue to serve as instrument to strengthen the unity and development of Nigeria.
An evening with Edo Community resident in Abuja at a grand reception to honour Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, His Royal Majesty stressed the need for unity and peaceful co-existence among them and strive through collective efforts and interest to develop Edo State. Oba Ewuare II assured them that the Palace would continue to offer prayers to God Almighty and the Ancestors for their guidance, protection, promotion and well-being.
The post-coronation thank-you visit also took the Oba of Benin to Sokoto, the seat of the Caliphate, where he met with His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto. The visit no doubt was used to build bridges across, social, cultural and religious divide, and to re-enact the historical and cordial relationship existing between the Benin Kingdom and the Sokoto Caliphate over the years.
According to the Oba of Benin “It is my hope and sincere desire that this visit will further cement that warm and cordial relationship existing between your people and my people”.
In appreciation of the Royal visit, the Sultan of Sokoto showered encomium on the Oba of Benin for his sense of friendship and unity. The Sultan, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III gathered all the district heads that made up Sokoto Sultanate Council, where Oba Ewuare II addressed them and harped on the need for them to foster peace, unity and co-existence in their various domains. The Oba of Benin also visited the Sokoto State Governor, His Excellency, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, where the Benin Monarch was eulogized for promoting national unity and enriching the cultural values of Nigeria.