These are the trends in Benin following the breaking of the news yesterday of the death of Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, one of Nigeria’s most-respected traditional rulers.
He was the 38th occupant of the exalted throne reputed to be about 1600 years old.
The Iyase of Benin Kingdom, Chief Sam Igbe and the Esogban of the Kingdom Chief David Edebiri broke the news, first to the Crown Prince, Prince Eheneden Erediauwa, the Edaiken N’Uselu, at the Oba’s palace at about 1.20pm.
The Crown Prince, soon after arriving the palace, had gone to the Iwebo Oba, accompanied by palace chiefs, where Chief Igbe briefed him and the Royal family on the situation.
Next to be briefed were the Chiefs, Enigies, Igiohen, Edionwere, market women leaders Princes and Princesses of the kingdom who had been invited to the palace for a meeting 24 hours earlier by the Secretary to the Benin Traditional Council, Frank Irabor.
Irabor, in the invitation letter, did not disclose the agenda of the meeting.
Igbe, in announcing the Oba’s transition, broke a white native chalk at the main gate of the palace.
He said:”Osorhue Bunrun. Oba Erediauwa of Benin Kingdom, the Prince of Peace, Ebo, Ayemwirhe, Emini Mini Mini, has reunited with his ancestors. May his soul find perfect peace with God.”
His audience placed their hands on their head as a sign of mourning.
The news soon reached the several markets in the city where the traders were ordered to shut down immediately.
They were given two hours to comply.
Pandemonium followed as people tried to pack their goods and find their way home.
Burial ceremonies were embargoed and all men in the kingdom are required to shave their head.
Chiefs of the kingdom were ordered to wear a single bead as a sign of mourning.
Present as the news was broken yesterday were Captain Hosa Okunbor, the lawmaker representing Egor/Ikpoba Okha, Ehiozuwa Agbonnayima, former member representing Oredo in the House of Representatives, Razaq Bello-Osagie, Chief David Edebiri, the Esogban of Benin Kingdom, former Head of Service, Princess Ekiuwa Inneh, amongst others.