Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Benin Kingdom to strengthen ties with the Efiks, as Oba sets to pay Obong of Calabar visit

History is about to be documented in the ancient city of Calabar as an ancient royal relationship between two ancient kingdoms that dates back to 300 years ago might just be renewed and  strengthened with the proposed visit of His Royal Majesty, Omo N'Oba N'Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, Oba of Benin to His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, Natural Ruler, Treaty King of the Efik and the Obong of Calabar, on Friday 10th January. 

Going by a letter sighted by our correspondent, the ancient natural ruler is embarking on a 'Thank you visit' to his Calabar colleague and his advance team are said to have arrived Calabar, Wednesday 8th of January 2020, while the Oba is expected to be in Calabar Friday, 10th January 2020. 

In a chat with our correspondent, Etubom Eyo Effiom Henshaw, the Assistant Secretary of the Etubom Council of the Obong of Calabar, disclosed that the visit will afford both Royal Fathers the opportunity to fine tune their royalties. The Oba will also meet with Sons and daughters of Edo State before leaving on Monday. 

A sketchy but not confirmed itinerary of the visit reveals that the Palace has put up a whole lot of activities to give their guest a royal treatment during his visit. First the Oba and his entourage will be received at the airport on Friday with all the fanfare and paraphernalia 
befitting of a treaty king. 

The Obong of Calabar will Saturday 11th January host his guest at the Palace amidst cultural display, Efik cultural cuisines and assorted wines and other royal activities deserving of the occasion. 

The Oba will again be hosted to state of the art Royal Banquet at Adiabo on Sunday 12th January and will finally pay a courtesy visit to his Excellency, the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade on Monday, 13th January before his departure. 

It should be recalled that the Efik kingdom share a rich cultural and historic heritage with the Benin kingdom especially in the colonial era. In fact history has it that an Oba of Benin named Ovọnramwẹn Nọgbaisi  was exiled by a British invasion force headed by James Robert Phillips set out to overthrow the Ọba in 1896. Ovọnramwẹn was later exiled to Calabar with two of his wives, Queen Egbe and Queen Aighobahi. He was received and hosted in Calabar in a small town called "Essien Town" by Etinyin Essien Etim Offiong, the progenitor of Essien Town. He died in Calabar around the turn of the new year in 1914. Ovọnramwẹn was eventually buried in Calabar. 

grapevine telegraph reveals that part of the discussion with the Obong of Calabar will be on how to formalize the process of making the grave side of Ovọnramwẹn a tourist site in Calabar.