After a few hard years for the Benins worldwide, signs of a truly great revival now beckon. The Oba of Benin (Omo N' Oba N' Edo Uku Akpolokpolo ,Oba Ewuare II) has revived the Benin pride and traditions, and the Benin people, renowned for their celebrating their culture and traditions have taken to the Oba’s cue. The potent Benin revival machine is truly up and running, as my friend would put it "E don set".
This year's Igue festival from Benin city has been a joy to watch. The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, began this year’s festival on the 14th of Dec 2018 with “Otue Ugierhoba”. In the diaspora, Benin’s celebrated “Igue Edohia” in London, Belgium, Netherland, Austria, Spain, Germany and in many other countries worldwide.
The Igue Edohia (which is the day set by The Oba’s Palace for all Edo people to perform their individual worship) was slated for Dec 23. 2018). Edo Connect was at the London Igue festival celebration/ Inota/ end of year party organised by the Odionwere Council of The United Kingdom and Ireland, held on the 29th of December 2018.
The Chairman of the planning committee, Pastor Monday Ibude, confirmed the date chosen was after the Igue Edohia date, because of planning logistics and to enable as many Benin people to attend. On the day, there were Benin guests, professionals, Entrepreneurs and Benin members of associations from all over England in attendance. There was an extra VIP, Hon. Osaze Osemwegie-Ero, the Edo State’s commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, who flew into London the night before and attended the event with his family.
Celebration Proceedings were conducted by Kenneth Edomwande (Odionwere Ibieka). Dr Taiwo Idemudia (a member of the Odionwere Council) brought “The Benin Monarchy”: An anthology of Benin History. This book was shown to all guest in attendance who were informed of the versions available and where to buy them. The Odionwere Council were in full attendance. Pa Bernard Woghiren performed the traditional rites and prayers. Ewere leaf was placed on everyone’s forehead. The Eruogun Cultural group took the night away with some scintillating performances of Benin traditional Igue songs.They had the right traditional costumes, the right traditional instruments and made all the right noises: one felt the Igue festival was in Benin-city and not London. All the Benin women and men took part in the singing and dancing. Dr. Loretta Ogboro-Okor did a reading from her book “My Father’s Daughter” and the night carried on with Inota, singing and dancing. Pure bliss and happiness.
Benins from other countries, on seeing video clips of the event, have been captivated by the UK celebration and are already calling to ask questions on how such a celebration was done in London. Well I told them our Odionwere Council of the United Kingdom is well respected and very keen on Benin Traditions.
The only thing, that would have improved the day is, if the planning committee had been timely and adequately informed the Commissioner would be attending, then they would have ordered the right traditional outfit from Sakpoba road, Benin city for him and his family. Then the occasion would have been 100% traditional. Not that it mattered as the Benin’s were happy to see the commissioner and ask questions about developments at home which he did his best to answer.
Special prayers and praise were said for his Royal Majesty Oba Ewuare II who has truly reawakened Benin unity worldwide
Next year will be bigger, which is what the Odionwere Council of the United Kingdom wants, all Edos to come together. Special appreciation must go to the planning committee for what was a very successful night.
See you next year.
Full Photo Gallery will be out next week.
Obaghtor kpere. Ise.