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Benin monarch ascends throne

Prince Eheneden Erediauwa will be crowned as the 39th Oba of Benin kingdom in a colourful ceremony today (Thursday).

The ancient Kingdom, which used to be called Igodomigodo, will have a new King after the death of Oba Erediauwa, the 38th King, in April.

The centre and major streets in ancient Benin are wearing a new look.

The new palace, built by Prince Erediauwa, is an architectural masterpiece.

For the first time in over 900 years, the palace ground is being landscaped and adorned with glittering electricity bulbs at strategic places.

All the major roads to the city centre had been condoned off since Wednesday.

The Oba Ovoranmwen Square was closed to traffic and commercial activities around the Square have been prohibited while posters and banners of Prince Erediauwa adorned the streets.

Already, Prince Erediauwa has played the Akhue game at the Ediaken N’Use Palace and chosen the name he will answer as the Oba.

The name will be unveiled today at the presentation of the Staff of Office by Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

Once the name is revealed, his children will also stop using Erediauwa in their names.

The journey to the throne began in May when the Crown Prince trekked from Benin to Uselu in Egor Local Government Area after he completed the rites and rituals to get the title of Edaiken N’Uselu.

It was while he was at Uselu he performed the funeral rites of his father.

After completing the rites, Prince Erediauwa began the return trip to Benin, to ascend the throne of his ancestors.

Among the rites and rituals performed by Prince Erediauwa on his way to the throne are the symbolic climbing of a sacred palm tree, known as Udin Amamieson Amieuwa (Suffer before pleasure).

The other was the symbolic wrestling with the Chief Priest of Okhuaihe Shrine, Osarodion Usuanlele, the Ohen N’Ukoni Neyedo at Evbuekoi in Uhunwode Local Government Area.

Both men will never set eyes on each other again.

Prince Erediauwa has also visited some shrines in some villages where he will be forbidden to enter again once he is crowned.

Some of them are at Urhonigbe, Ikhibi and Ughoton, among others.

The new king was 25 years old when the late Oba Erediauwa was crowned in 1979.

He will be crowned at a private ceremony inside the Usama Palace by the Usama N’ Ihiron, also known as Edion, led by Chief Oliha.