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Oba’s coronation historic, says Oshiomhole

Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has said today’s coronation of the Oba of Benin is historic.

The governor said it will be the first time an elected governor and an indigene of the state will perform the formal presentation of the staff of office to the frontline monarch.

He recalled that only military administrators and foreigners had done son in the past.

Oshiomhole spoke yesterday in Benin, the state capital, when he hosted the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright at the Government House.

He said: “Before this Oba, the other obas but one, I believe Oba Akenzua, was the one who had to be presented the staff of office, according to him, by the Queen of England, in 1933. Since then, I think the next Oba was crowned in 1979. Then, Nigeria was already an independent country and the state was under military rule. The staff of office was presented by a military governor.

“Thursday (today) will be the first time 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.”

Oshiomhole added: “I’m sure you probably already know that this is one of the very few states, particularly in Southern Nigeria, where the issue of the paramount traditional ruler is not in dispute; where the chairman of the Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs is permanent. He is the Oba of Benin. In some states, particularly in the West, they rotate the position.

“There are issues about who comes before the other. Every Edo person, including those who may not be directly under the kingdom, geographically, see the Oba as our paramount traditional ruler. This is why we have declared a public holiday for tomorrow (today). This is because every Edo person, regardless of his location in the state, has some strong positive sentiments about the coronation ceremony.

“So, I want to thank you for taking time out, for travelling all the way to participate and to observe the coronation ceremony. We are very grateful.”

Oshiomhole added: “We are also keen on how we can deepen and strengthen relations, particularly in economic areas, between the United Kingdom (UK) and the 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.”

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