The installation rites of the Oba of Benin continued yesterday with the Ogbelaka and Eguadase groups commencing a special spiritual dance, called Ekassa, on their way to the Usama Palace where the Crown Prince of Benin Kingdom, Prince Eheneden Erediauwa is currently carrying out some coronation rites and rituals. Young men and male elders clad in white wrappers danced from their abode in Sokponba to the Usama Palace in a colourful parade. The Ekassa dance will be held daily until after the coronation is part of activities to herald Crown prince Ehenden Erediauwa, to the throne of the Oba. Ekassa is performed by only males dressed in white robes after undergoing spiritual cleansing. Certain families in the kingdom are part of the Ekassa group.
The dance moved through streets in Benin City to Uzama Palace where the Crown Prince would be carrying out coronation rites and rituals for seven days. Chief Obawonyi of Ogbelaka and Chief Robert Uhuoba, who spoke about the significance of the dance, said it was imperative that the dance is carried out after the death of an Oba and when a new one is about to ascend the throne. Uhuoba noted that partaking in the dance that comes in a life time was a privilege Meanwhile, the Edo State Government has directed landlords and residents of houses on the traditional routes of the Oba of Benin to give their houses a facelift as activities gear up towards the coronation of the Oba.
Secretary to State Government, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, in a press statement said government noted that “in commemoration of the coronation of the new Oba of Benin, Edo State Government hereby directs that all houses on the traditional route of the Oba should be given a facelift including external painting and cleaning of the environment.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this route includes Oba Ovoranmwwen Square, Oba Market Road, Sakponba Road, Siluko Road, Adesogbe Roads and other Roads around the Oba Palace.” The keeper of the shrine and head of Use community where the Crown Prince will choose a name, Edigin Ekpen Kelvin, the Edigin N’ Use, told newsmen yesterday that he has been prepared to receive the Crown Prince, even though he was not born in 1979 when Oba Erediauwa visited. Edigin Ekpen will play pebble game with the Crown Prince for him to choose a name.
The pebbles were sent by Prince Oromiyan to his son who became Oba Eweka I and the game was first played by Oba Eweka. According to him, “We are in full gear preparing for the coming our Crown Prince. I was not born in 1979 when the former Crown Prince visited. I will play the traditional game with the Prince.
“This is a family treasury. It is one of the importance of my family, my heritage and my dynasty. So, I have to be prepared for it. I am very prepared for it. We are doing our best to make sure there is security, clean environment and better atmosphere to receive the crown Prince. Also, all shrine in the community which every relevant ceremony will be done are prepared. “I am a traditional man. The ancestors are backing me. With the help of the elders and others that have given me the tutelage, I can say I am well prepared to play the game. It is the same pebbles that Eweka played. It does not change. Every Oba must play the game to choose a name.