On the 20th of October, 2016, a new Oba of Benin kingdom, Ewuare II was crowned. The ceremony was indeed a display of Benin tradition at its best. However, two items on the menu for the coronation caught my fancy because of their value in the field of conflict resolution.
The first is the fact that though the coronation ceremony was labelled the 39th in the programme, the Oba, in his speech corrected this. Oba Ewuare II said he was indeed the 40th Oba of Benin in view of the fact Oba Oranmiyan from Ile-Ife was the first Oba of Benin. Therefore 39 + 1 = 40.
Tracing the ancestry of Binis to Ile-Ife reinforces the fact that conflict in un-necessary, between and among brothers and sisters. The more lineages we can trace across and within the Niger throughout Nigeria/Africa, would make us realise we are all one!
The second, and more spectacular was the Special Durbar, courtesy of the Sultan of Sokoto to mark the Oba of Benin's coronation. The Sultan facilitated the transportation of 300 horses from Sokoto to Benin for the Durbar! This was the very first Durbar outside northern Nigeria since FESTAC 77! This was a 'formidable handshake across the Niger' which portends greater friendship and collaboration between the Sokoto and Benin kingdoms.
I advocate the continuation of similar show of solidarity across the Niger. This would facilitate conflict prevention, management and resolution efforts in Nigeria and Africa...