Omo N’Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, CFR, Oba of Benin at the weekend marked the first Ugie Emoro festival at the Palace in Benin City, ahead of his 7th Coronation anniversary this month.
Ugie Emoro, the equivalent of the ‘New Yam Festival,” is meant to demonstrate love among one another and rekindle the rich Benin heritage in line with divine order.
At the Emoro Ceremony, the monarch made a proclamation that subsequently, Emoro festivals would be observed with one month prayer and fasting, by all Benin sons and daughters at home and the diaspora, beginning from the 2024 Calendar year.
He said, “Emoro festival is also translated as Ugie Awe (period of fasting); it has long been celebrated in Edo State. Muslims mark their fast in the month of Ramadan, while believers in Christ have their own time to fast and pray.
“From time immemorial in Edo, no people have had their own time to fast and pray to God almighty and pray; we do not want this traditional practice to be forgotten or go extinct; this is why we remain resolute in reenacting all the ancient traditional practices.
“We also pray to God almighty to keep everyone of us in good health, make us not to lack wisdom.
“Since I ascended the throne of my forebears as the Oba of Benin, we have been praying to imbue us with wisdom to lead our people; we have adjusted the time for the fasting a bit such that as from next year (2024), we will begin to observe the fasting for a period of one month, to herald the new yam festival performance in the Palace.
“Those who support the Palace in this spiritual exercise, will get their rewards in the name of God and ancestors. That is how our ancestors said it,” Oba Ewuare II said.
He called on Benin sons and daughters, various groups and heads of deities and other stakeholders in Benin Kingdom to be alive to their responsibilities, strengthen the bond of unity among them and resist attempts that could make ancient traditional practices and norms in Edo State go extinct.
In his prayers to God almighty and his ancestors, Oba Ewuare II, who spoke in Benin language, thereafter ward-off evil and social vices, including bloodshed, kidnappings, banditry, cultism from Edo State and Nigeria in general
The festival featured Igiohen, Ikao, with members of Edo State House of Assembly, led by the Speaker, Hon. Blessing Agbebaku, Okhaigheles (Youth leaders), Enigie (Dukes), Palace Chiefs, Ayelala traditional worshippers as well as Princesses and other members of the Benin Royal family, including Oba Ewuare II eldest daughter, Princess Ikuoyemwen Ewuare-Aimiuwu and Edionwere (village heads) in Benin Kingdom.
Other attractions were performances by Ndigbo Ohanaeze, Arewa and Yoruba Communities in Edo State; politicians, including Senator Adams Oshiomhole, former Deputy Dovernor of the State, Mr Lucky Imasuen, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, General Charles Airhiavbere (Rtd), also took turn to pay homage to the Oba at the Ceremony where guests were entertained with music, cultural troupes and fed with lavish pounded yam and assorted beverages.