His Royal Majesty, Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin, CFR has re-enacted over 700-year-old tradition in Benin Kingdom, unveiling the statue of Iyoba N’ Uselu in memory of Queen mother, Ikuoyemwen, and past Queen mothers, with high sense of pride.
Recall that Oba Ewuare II, had in the name of Almighty God and his ancestors, conferred the Chieftaincy title of Iyoba N’ Uselu posthumously on his mother, Queen Ikuoyemwen on Sunday 21st November 2021 in a precise sequence of events.
Iyoba N’ Uselu title began during the era of Queen Idia, the mother of Oba Esigie in 16th Century in Benin Kingdom. She made history for been the first woman to go to war in the entire Africa.
The humongous statue, that honours the life of service and dedication of Queen Ikuoyemwen to the revered Benin throne, looks over Uselu N’ Uselu area (5-junction and its environs) in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State.
After braving through the surging crowd of cultural enthusiasts and Royal fans, Oba Ewuare II, proceeded to the base of the statue with great fulfillment and unveiled the fabric covering Iyoba’s statue in accordance with Benin Customs and tradition, amid jubilation.
Speaking at the Ceremony, Oba Ewuare II, expressed satisfaction in the promotion of Benin Arts and Culture globally and reechoed the return of looted Benin artefacts abroad.
He urged Edo citizens at home and diaspora continue to defend the Benin heritage and kick against act of rebellion and insurrection by disgruntled elements seeking to divide Benin Kingdom.
Residents including Uselu N’ Evbo’ Iyoba, Iheya N’ Evbo Iyoba Ovoramwen, Ohonre, Iyobanosa, Eresoyen, children and adults, and others, scrambled to catch a glimpse of the Oba who was clad his traditional regalia with studded beads and other Royal paraphernalia.
Members of Benin Royal family, Dukes, palace Chiefs, Priests and Priestesses from traditional deities, diviners Ewaise) who joyfully blew their occipital horns (Oko), heralding the arrival of the Oba, while Ineh Theatre Culture troupe, Uselu youths also impact at the event.
Prominent individuals including the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, groups such as Coalition of Benin socio-Cultural Organizations, Ikpema Royal Guild, and others, took turn to pay homage to the Benin throne at the event.
The ancients revealed themselves during the unveiling was accompanied with showers of rain that ushered in a new dawn with an unusual thunderstorm and ice pellets also known as sleet.
Historically, Queen Idia, fought gallantly subdued the then ferocious attah of Idah and brought him with his captives to the ancient City of Benin Centuries ago.
Besides, the famous Benin warrior Queen Idia mask, was unanimously adopted as the official emblem of ‘FESTAC 77’ at the Second Festival of Black Arts and Culture (FESTAC) and the Benin cultural heritage.