Alexander Okere, Benin
The crown prince of Benin Kingdom, His Royal Highness, Eheneden Erediauwa, on Tuesday visited Use community in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State, where he picked a name he would bear as the new Oba.
The ceremony was part of the traditional rites ahead of Eheneden’s coronation on Thursday.
When our correspondent visited Use at about 2.30pm, many residents were seen rushing towards the palace, while those that arrived earlier were seen around the perimeter fence of the building.
Various traditional groups, including Benin chiefs, were also present.
Eheneden arrived at about 4pm in company with his royal entourage and received a rousing welcome from a large crowd, who showered praises on him.
He proceeded to the palace with the Edigin N’Use, Ekpen Kelvin Edigin.
The heir apparent later played the traditional game of pebbles (Akhue) while a large crowd of residents watched with admiration.
Although, the name chosen by the prince was not announced after the game, it was learnt that it would be made public on Thursday.
Eheneden later proceeded to Ugbo shrine where he prayed for God’s guidance and protection.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Government has declared Thursday as a public holiday.
According to a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, the public holiday was declared in honour of the crown prince.
Ihonvbere added that the holiday would give residents of the state the opportunity to witness the coronation and ensure a hitch-free exercise.
Also, in preparation for the coronation of the new Oba, an adjustment has been made in traffic flow within the state capital and alternative routes provided for motorists.
The coronation planning committee said the adjustment would take effect from midnight of October 18.
In a statement signed by the Chairman of Media and Publicity Sub-committee, Josef Omorotionmwan, the committee listed some of the affected roads as Airport Road, Sapele Road, Sakponba and Akpakpava.
…5,000 policemen to be deployed for coronation
The Edo State Police Command has said that no fewer than 5,000 policemen would be deployed on Thursday in Benin for Prince Eheneden Erediauwa’s coronation.
The Commissioner of Police, Haliru Gwandu, said the deployment became necessary due to the large number of personalities expected to attend the event and the need to provide adequate security.
Gwandu spoke on Tuesday while parading 44 suspects arrested for various offences including kidnappings, pipeline vandalism, cultism and communal land tussles.
The Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Operations, Joshak Habila, had prior to the September 28 governorship election promised that the police would provide adequate security during the coronation.
Gwandu said that the police had decided to remain proactive to make sure that the peace in the state was not disturbed by unwanted individuals.
He said, “We have information that the occasion is attractive to the international community, ambassadors from the USA, ambassadors from the UK, our neighbouring countries, our paramount rulers, and of course, the crème de la crème of the society.
“So, we have to ensure that the society is safe (and) our people are protected. We will do everything humanly possible to protect the citizens, prevent the influx of misguided elements because of these important dignitaries that are coming.”
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Alexander Okere, Benin