Thursday, October 20th, 2016 was a day that will go down in the annals of history in the Benin Kingdom. Oba Ewuare II emerged as the 40th Oba of Benin in full display of pomp and pageantry that showcased the finest of the Bini culture and tradition before the world.
The Urhopkota Hall, venue of the coronation was greeted with several dignitaries who had flown in from different parts of the world. Titled chiefs, traditional rulers of various hierarchy, members of the diplomatic corps were all present to witness one of the most colourful and intriguing coronation s of all times. When the Oba arrived at Urhokpota Hall to the jubilant crowd, the air that greeted his emergence underscored that a great king that will lead his people has come.
And that inclination was made manifest when the Oba took to his feet to address the mesmerised audience who were clearly fascinated with the culture and tradition on display throughout the process. One thing that stood out was the striking resemblance of the crowd power that followed Godwin Obaseki throughout the campaign period. Like Oba Ewuare II, the people have developed deep attachment to Obaseki and saw him as a sincere and a great leader who has emerged to serve his people.
In his speech Oba Ewuare II spoke admirably about his people and the expectations, setting a development agenda that he will embark upon. The depth of his vision was profoundly remarkable. It highlighted the problems of unemployment especially among the youth and his concerns about living standards.
This bears a striking correlation with the agenda of Edo Governor-Elect, Obaseki who has placed job creation as a major focus of his incoming administration. The Governor-Elect has his mind set on good governance, progress and economic growth with a raft of policy plans to achieve his remarkable vision for Edo people. The policy plans touch on solving the problem of unemployment and empowering women and youth to alleviate their standards, if not achieve their full potential similar to Oba Ewuare’s Agenda.
This correlation between the Oba’s agenda of partnering with government to attract domestic and international resources for the establishment of clusters of Agro-based industries can be seen in Obaseki’s vision to create employment through diversification of the economy; investments in agriculture and establishment of agro based industries. It can be seen that Obaseki has placed emphasis in Agriculture as strategic in delivering his economic policies to transform Edo into the nation’s food basket, enhancing food sufficiency and sustainability.
This in itself would reduce the poverty level, put money in to the pockets of the Edo people and improve their living standards. Consequently, this move will help enhance economic growth and development for Edo and Nigeria at large. Oba Ewuare’s statement to partner with government in order to attract domestic and international resources strikes at the heart of Obaseki’s vision to bring investors to Edo state to invest in Agric businesses, boost economic activities and engender growth and development. It is therefore an interesting development to see how these two leaders, from the beginning struck a cord on how they will use their position and mandate to work for the good of the people. . Undoubtedly, there is a synergy of purpose in the Oba’s reformist agenda of re-enacting a cultural renaissance and Obaseki’s vision of restoring our sociocultural values.
While the Oba is focusing on tourism and production through arts and crafts, Obaseki coincidentally, had pledged during the electioneering campaign to invest in initiatives that would boost tourism and promote the socio-cultural values of the people. Significantly, as Oba Ewuare II has his eyes on carrying out reforms in the cultural world, Obaseki is also set out to make positive changes to rekindle the importance of cultural values and to turn Edo state into a tourist centre for excellence through art and crafts.
To drive this Agenda, Oba Ewuare II had announced the Benin Royal Dynasty Trust in collaboration with the Benin Traditional Council to work together in order to increase the productivity of the Bronze Casters’ Guild.
The Oba also announced the establishment of the Benin Royal Academy for Performing Arts that will train youths and develop their talents. Recalled that Obaseki throughout the campaign said he will set up apprenticeship schemes and skills acquisition to train Edo youths and help them gain the much needed skills and talents for their employability. Here, we see another mutual correlation of Oba Ewuare II and Mr Obaseki both out to ensure the youths garner skills and develop their talents.