The Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Omo n’Oba n’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, and Olu of Warri, His Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli, have vowed to explore the common historical and cultural affinity between Edo and Itsekiri people and use it to promote peace and unity among the kingdoms and the country.The Benin monarch visited his Warri counterpart in continuation of his country-wide tour to appreciate traditional rulers for their love and support during his coronation as the 40th Oba of Benin.
He arrived Warri, Delta State, on Saturday evening in a white limousine, accompanied by his chiefs, family members, traditional rulers and Edo citizens and was received by Ikenwoli.Both monarchs offered traditional prayers through their senior chiefs using kolanuts to symbolise the social and cultural affinity both kingdoms shared for over half a millennium. They prayers were for the continuation of the bond between both kingdoms.
The Ologbosere of Warri, Chief Ayiri Emami, collected the kolanut on behalf of the Warri king.In his welcome speech, the host said: “Your presence here today gives us great joy because of the uniqueness and the exclusive significance of the affinity between the Edo and Itsekiri peoples.
“Knowing that this has been so for 538 years, our keen sense of history keeps motivating us to cherish its value on a growing basis. That is what propels us to quickly recognise, deeply appreciate and extol the values of nurturing this special relationship whenever the occasion arises. Your august visit of this day is one such occasion.”
He noted that despite growing population and challenges of globalisation, coupled with the paradoxes of polarisation, the Itsekiri people preferred not to forget those with whom they share common ancient links.
According to him, though the people were separated by geographical boundaries, the boundaries won’t divide them.The Olu congratulated the Oba on his ascension to the throne of his forefathers, noting that he travelled to Edo with his people to witness the grand coronation, and prayed for his reign to be long and peaceful.Ewuare II, in his response, thanked the Olu and his people for upholding the cultural affinity between them. He equally expressed gratitude for the “overwhelming” gifts from the Olu and his people.
Said the guest: “I am delighted to be here today with the same entourage to convey my deep and sincere appreciation to you and the entire Itsekiri nation for the uncommon, yet spectacular, support accorded us during the period of my coronation as Oba of Benin Kingdom. I recollect fondly the colour and pageantry added to the ceremony by your presence and those of your chiefs. The occasion further brings to mind the close affinity of the Itsekiri and Benin peoples.”
Urging both kingdoms to continue developing “the ethos that reinforce our cultural unity and harmony”, the Oba stressed that both peoples share a lot in common ranging from their cherished culture to mutual respect for hard work and human dignity. These, he added, are the core values the country needs to surmount the mirage of challenges facing it.
Edo people will be delighted to welcome the Olu of Warri to Edo and Benin kingdom anytime he wishes, the Oba said, promising to reciprocate the gifts to him from Warri.At the occasion were Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, former Governor of Delta; Mohammed Abali, Managing Director, Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (WRPC); Chief Brown Mene, Hon. Daniel Mayuku, Prince Yemi Emiko, among others.