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.
At Urhopkota Hall, the venue of the coronation was greeted with several dignitaries who had flown in from different parts of the Nigeria and outside Nigeria. 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 of all times.
When the Oba arrived at Urhokpota Hall to the jubilant crowd, the air that greeted his arrival underscored that a great king that will lead his people has emerged. 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 as he ascend the throne. The depth of his vision was profoundly remarkable. It highlighted the problems of unemployment especially among the youths and his concerns about living standards. This bears a striking correlation with the agenda of Edo Governor-Elect, Mr Godwin 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 touches 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 II 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 Mr Obaseki has placed emphasis in Agriculture as strategic in delivering his economic policies and 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 which is the focus of both the Oba and Godwin Obaseki. Consequently, this move will help enhance economic growth and development for Edo and Nigeria at large.
Oba Ewuare II 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 oba Ewuare II reformist agenda of re-enacting a cultural renaissance and Obaseki’s vision of restoring our socio-cultural 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, Mr Obaseki is also set out to make positive changes to rekindle the importance of cultural values and to make 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. It will recalled that Obaseki throughout the campaign has 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 to give them a head start in life. As this mutual correlation is manifest in Oba Ewuare II Agenda and Obaseki’s vision, it is suggestive that the drivers of the initiative work together to develop and harness the opportunities that programme has to offer the teeming youth population; helping them to acquire the much needed skills and jobs.
The Coronation of Oba Ewuare II has no doubt rekindled that cultural renaissance which Obaseki had promised to invest and develop policies that can make Edo State a centre for tourists attraction as well as promote the Bini culture and tradition. Anyone who paid attention to the Oba’s speech will have noticed this mutual correlation between the Oba’s agenda and that of Obaseki. While Oba Ewuare II is poised to forge links with other traditional institutions in Nigeria, Africa and beyond to drive this initiative, Obaseki has promised that his government will develop schemes to encourage art and craft in Edo State with channels for export and exchange with the wider world.
Reforming palace administration in order to adequately respond to the peoples’ sincere and deep-longing for justice, equity and stability correlates with Obaseki agenda that hinged on justice, stability, peace and progress in line with his commitment of citizens first; putting the people’s interests above others, improving living standards and general well-being of the people.
Oba Ewuare II before ascending to the throne is already an accomplished leader. He served as an ambassador for the Federal Republic and as well being the Crown Prince of the Benin Kingdom. Obaseki on the other hand is an accomplished gentleman, an established leader, a technocrat and economic guru who have made his mark before venturing into politics. Both leaders have the passion and vision to advance the progress and development of the people. It can seen that Oba Ewuare II and Obaseki are forward thinking individuals, both not only have the ability to rekindle the culture and tradition, boost tourism, work for the development of the people, they have the capacity to innovate and usher in new ideas in order that Edo state can become a centre of excellence for culture, arts and tourism.
It must be noted that it is not too often that you have a new Oba and a new governor – both focussing on a similar agenda of development. Just like Oba Ewuare II who ascended to the throne of his ancestors, accepted his staff of office to lead his people, Edo Governor-Elect, Mr Godwin Obaseki shall also be sworn into office to lead his people of Edo State. This is a very significant development that will bring positive change for the people of Edo State. Certainly, with Oba Ewuare II and Mr Godwin Obaseki at the helm of affairs, piloting their positive vision and agenda for the people, there are bound to be sustained progress and development in Edo State. This mutual correlation is a blessing to the people of Edo State.