Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has described as historic the coronation on Thursday (today) of the Benin crown prince, His Royal Highness, Eheneden Erediauwa.
Oshiomhole, who spoke on Wednesday when he received the British High Commissioner, Paul Arkwright, at the Government House, said it was the first time an elected governor and an indigene of Edo would present the staff of office to the heir apparent.
He said only military administrators and foreigners had performed the ceremony.
Oshiomhole said, “Thursday (today) will be the first time that an elected governor will have the pleasure, and somebody from Edo State, to formally present the staff of office to His Royal Majesty, the Oba of Benin.”
According to him, the reverence accorded the Oba of Benin is such that his permanence as the chairman of the Edo State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs is not questionable.
“Every Edo person, including those who may not be directly under the (Benin) kingdom geographically, sees the oba as our paramount traditional ruler, which is why we have declared a public holiday for tomorrow (today), because every Edo person, regardless of his location in the state, has some strong positive sentiments about the coronation ceremony,” he added.
While welcoming the British high commissioner, the governor expressed hope in deepening the relationship between the United Kingdom and the state.
“We are also keen on how we can deepen and strengthen relations, particularly in the sphere of economic areas between the United Kingdom and Edo State Government.
“I think we are all clear that the challenge of government, whether federal or state, will have to focus more and more on how we can become less dependent on oil revenue by creating the necessary enabling environment to attract investors,” he said.
Earlier, Arkwright, who was accompanied by his wife, Tricia, explained that he was in the state to attend the coronation on behalf of Her Majesty, the Queen of England and the British Government.
He also congratulated the governor as he concludes his term in office on November 12.
He said, “This is the very first time I am visiting this state in Nigeria with my wife, Tricia. So, it is a particular pleasure for me to be here. I am here for two main reasons: I am here for the coronation of the new Oba of Benin, His Majesty, tomorrow (today), and I am very much looking forward to the ceremony and to give the greetings of the British Government and Her Majesty, the Queen, to the new Oba of Benin.
“So, I want to hear more about the successes. I want to hear more about how the United Kingdom can continue to support and help Edo State. And in particular, I am interested in some of the business opportunities that British companies may be able to find by coming here and investing here and creating employment opportunities and jobs here in Edo State.”