The Benin Traditional Council has officially announced the transition of the Oba of Benin, Omo N’oba N’Edo Uku Akpolopkolo Erediauwa I.

The announcement was made on Friday by the Iyase of Benin, Mr Sam Igbe, with significant breaking of the native chalk at the Ugha Ozonolua pavilion within the palace in Benin City, the capital of Edo State.

After the official announcement, the Crown Prince, Eheneden Erediauwa, returned to Edaiken in Uselu for the continuation of the ceremonial rites that must be performed before he would ascend the throne.

Oba Erediauwa was crowned Oba of Benin on March 23, 1979.

He died at the age of 92.
Breaking of the native chalk is a significant part of the rituals performed when an Oba of Benin joins his ancestors.

The Leopard Is Ill

In early 2015, his death was rumoured, but the Benin Traditional Council dismissed the rumour.

It, however, announced that the Oba of Benin was indisposed and would not be available for public engagements until further notice.

The announcement was contained in a statement by the Secretary of the Benin Traditional Council, Mr Frank Irabor.

The statement read: “It is hereby announced for the information of the general public that in the Palace parlance, ‘Uhunmwun ve Ekpen vb’ Ato’, meaning the Leopard is ill in the Savannah bush.

“The explanation is that Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Erediauwa, CFR, Oba of Benin is indisposed.

“Public engagements including courtesy visits, hearing of complaints from individuals, families and communities, and in particular, complaints over inheritance and land disputes are therefore suspended until further notice”.

The rumour spread further after former President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign train tried to reach the Oba but could not.

Friday’s announcement of the Oba’s departure showed some traditions that most young Benin indigenes had not seen in over three decades.

With a small local gong, the members of the Traditional Council, whose duty it was to announce the Oba’s departure, moved around specific areas of the city, making the news known.

A chief in Benin Kingdom with a local gong announcing the death of the Oba of Benin Omo N’oba N’Edo Uku Akpolopkolo Erediauwa I

In Africa tradition, a Kings departure is not made known immediately, but delayed until the Traditional Council reaches a decision on it.

His Royal Majesty Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Erediauwa I was the 38th Oba of Benin.

Oba Erediawua took on the title and duties as traditional head of state and rightful heir of the extinct Benin Empire when he was crowned, succeeding his father, Oba Akenzua II, in a ceremony held in Benin City.

Before he was crowned, he was known as Prince Solomon Aiseokhuoba Igbinoghodua Akenzua.