From Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, has accepted the deserving national award of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) of Nigeria, slated to be conferred on him by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 11 as part of activities to mark the country’s 62nd Independence Day.
The letter of nomination for the award, the highest national honour that is conferred on any citizen of Nigeria for his/her contributions to the development of the nation, aside from the President and the Vice President, was formally presented to the First Class traditional ruler by His Royal Highness, Sule Idaiye, Imma of Somorika last Friday in his Palace in Benin City.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Oba of Benin, Iguobaro Osaigbovo, said there was a regal splendour and clasping when the personal letter dated 16th September 2022, was read in the presence of Palace functionaries, Benin Palace Chiefs, Dukes, Royal family and guests who came to pay homage to the traditional ruler in the Palace.
The letter was dated 16th, 2022 and issued on behalf of the President by the office of the National honours and Awards in the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Abuja,
The statement described the award of recognition by the federal government as “a banner year of Celebration for the HRM, Oba Ewuare II and the Benin kingdom because it coincides with the month of the Royal father’s 6th Coronation anniversary.
“Besides, the recognition is also coming within a calendar year after the Nigeria High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Sarafa Ishola, presented two repatriated artefacts – a Cockerel sculpture from Jesus College in Britain and Uhun Oba Elao’s bronze burst otherwise known as the King’s head, from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland to great Benin throne, via a Presidential directive”, the statement added.
The Oba thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the unprecedented move, and prayed God and his ancestors to guide the nation in addition to good health, wisdom to carry out his duties and responsibility placed on his shoulders by his ancestors.
“This announcement has come and we are grateful to God Almighty and our ancestors. I am just as excited as you are. We are happy about the news. I want to use this opportunity to thank Mr. President.
“Last year, he directed Nigeria High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador to personally bring the two artefacts from Scotland and Aberdeen and present them to me in Oba Palace. That was an unprecedented move by the President.
“We are grateful to Mr. President, and now, he has honoured us with Commander of the Federal Republic. We will command well. I pray that God Almighty give me more wisdom to carryout my duties and responsibilities that have been placed on my shoulders”, the statement quoted Oba Ewuare II as saying.