Omo N’Oba Erediauwa …A Good Man in Benin
I came to Benin city in the 80s. Perhaps to fulfill my destiny. I have an emotional attachment to Benin. The attraction sometimes rings on the realm of transcendence. A spiritual emanation. May be it is a natural liking or acquired fixation. But the pull is always there. This never ceases to surprise my friends and relations who ruminate over my age-long romance with Benin.
My Idumuje-unor ethnic Ibo name – Kpomiose (Thank God) has a Bini variant – Ikponwonsa. What a small world of human inter relationship and oneness! (Anthropology must be an interesting study.)
The ancient town of Benin defined my urban life in ways amazing. I had my first university education in Benin. In this old city, ” Uwolo” my iconic uncle, late Philip Chiazor, got me a fantastic job that discovered me!
I met Abiodun on my way to UNIBEN. Together we had beautiful company – Chucks, Amaka, Olise and Ekene. Then we got home,peace and God.
From this cradle of Bendel, I have travelled the world. Life is a journey. We keep traveling in mortal mutation. Man thrives in a maze of motion. Human chance and circumstance differ. We all have our fair share of vicissitudes. We live at the mercy of fate. A force we cannot control but condone in helpless surrender. That is our lot. Our portion. My story. Your story.
I have seen fortune in Benin. I have also seen fire in Benin.
My fair lady was born in Benin. My dandy Dad took his final breath at UBTH. My modest trade nurtured in Benin, has carried me to the global canvass. The divine hand saved me from the jaws of the macabre after a gruesome bathtub fall one morning in Benin that drew rivers of blood from a shattered body.
I have seen Christmas in Benin. I have seen nightmare in Benin. I have watched the sun rise and fall in Benin city. I have seen dark nights and bright mornings in Benin. Intriguing!
Benin is a metaphor of life itself – binary. A double deal of sharp contrasts.
Banana or bitter, Benin has been a blessing. Head or tail it is well.
I now remember Omo n’Oba, Erediauwa 11, Oba of Benin Kingdom, Uku Akpolopkolo.
I once met the Oba face-to-face in the palace through a long standing colleague, Harrison Asemota. He gave us an unforgettable reception more fatherly than royal. So earthy and humane, poking fun that left us bewildered. So one can laugh in the presence of the Oba! What an amazing discovery? For a throne that commands chilling fear and profound wonder, I saw the majesty of Oba Erediuwa from a different plane of knowledge.
A king passionate about his greatness but conscious of his humanity. A king with fellow feeling. A king with a revered regal vestment that never sought to eclipse the ordinary apparel of commoners. A king who loved his life but celebrated the existence of others. A king you could regard as a neighbor as we read in the Bible. A king who knew kinship. Like next-of-kin. A kindred spirit. A peaceful King who helped to make Benin home, my home.
Oba …truly a good man in Benin.
Now! The Iroko has taken a giant fall. But the foliage would remain evergreen. The Leopard has wandered out of sight from the Savanna lost to the captive eyes. But the bright spots are marked permanently on the sands of time. The moon has faded into the night. But the tales tickle our ears.
The Eagle is on his final flight. Far beyond the clouds.
He may have landed yonder. Yoked to his waiting celestial maker.
May the departed Oba bask in the bosom of his mighty master. The supreme creator.
Good bye Oba …Welcome crown Prince!
Life goes on …Benin rocks!