The Oba of Benin, Omo N’oba N’edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, made an historic visit to the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja ll, at his palace in Ile Ife on Saturday.
The Oba arrived at the palace in Ile Ife at 1.15pm with his chiefs and some dignitaries from the ancient city of Benin.
He was received at the residence of Ooni Ogunwusi inside the palace before both of them went into the hall where various cultural troupes entertained the monarchs.
Oba Ewuare said, “This visit is to appreciate your imperial Majesty for the honour done me, my family and the entire people of the Benin Kingdom with your personal presence at my coronation.
“This visit should provide us the opportunity to reawaken the cordial relationship between our two kingdoms which seemed unfortunately to have hitherto pulled off since my father’s visit to Ile Ife in the reign of Oba Sijuwade for reasons I am not too sure of. It is my prayer that this visit will restart the cordial relationship, which because of historical affinity, should exist between our two kingdoms.
“We should explore and tap on what unites us rather than what divides us for the advancement of our cultural heritage and social/economic development.
“It is gratifying to note that you and I have already been in regular communication even before this visit. We must increase visits to each other because such will augur well for the desirable close relationship between our two kingdoms.
“Your Imperial Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses and distinguished ladies and gentlemen, may I crave your indulgence to highlight three major issues of national concern. They are the persistent cattle herdsmen and farmer clashes and their attendant criminal activities in the country; human trafficking and illegal migration and social economic pursuit to be indeed eloping underdevelopment activities.
“The aforementioned problems are plaguing the country in unacceptable proportion. These problems are further complicated by our porous borders particularly in the northeastern part of Nigeria and lack of adequate infrastructure and dire need to improve on security architecture of the country.
“While commending the efforts of President Buhari in tackling the insurgency in the North-East , I want to, on behalf of all traditional rulers in Edo State, join traditional rulers in Nigeria, appeal to the President, as a matter of urgency, to intervene in these and other threats to the unity of our country. “
The Ooni said the solution to the security challenges in the country was community policing, saying the people would know their policemen and the policemen would also know the people and understand their terrains very well.
Oba Ogunwusi said, “You all know that we are all from the same parents. We are so interrelated; we have an ancestor and our kingdom have a very common ancestral history. We are very grateful and honoured to receive you.
“We wanted to take you to our common ancestral place where Oranmiyan is still resting till today because we believe he is still with us. But we won’t be able to take you round because of time. We are having security challenges in Nigeria and the way forward is community policing. We should join the government and security agent to find a lasting solution to these problems.
“This is Olokun Week in Ife and Olokun is one of the deities that the Benin people do not joke with. We should see ourselves as one big family. We should uphold our cultures, heritage and tradition. I am very happy that Benin culture and tradition are still intact.”
The two prominent monarchs visited Orun Oba Ado, which the Director of Public Affairs, Ooni’s Palace, Mr. Moses Olafare, described as the place where some of the predecessors of the current Oba of Benin were buried before the tradition stopped. He said that no Oba of Benin would visit Ile Ife without visiting the place where his forefathers were buried
The duo prayed at the place for peace, unity and progress of the two kingdoms and Nigeria at large.