The Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II of Benin Kingdom, is to be conferred with the prestigeous National Award of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) of Nigeria on October 11, 2022 by President Muhammadu Buhari as part of activities marking Nigeria’s 62nd Independence anniversary.
The letter of nomination for the award was delivered to the royal father by the Imma of Somorika, Sule Idaiye, at the weekend in his palace in Benin.
The CFR is the highest honour conferred on any citizen of Nigeria for his/her contributions to the development of the nation, aside the Grand Commander in the order of the Federal Republic, GCFR, and the Grand Commander in the Order of the Niger, GCON, bestowed on the president and vice president respectively.
The Nigerian National Honours were instituted by the National Honors Act No. 5 of 1964, during the First Nigerian Republic, to honour deserving Nigerians.
A statement by the chief press secretary, CPS, to the Omo N’Oba, Iguobaro Osaigbovo, on Sunday, said the Benin monarch had accepted the honour.
According to him, “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 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 award of recognition which is slated for October 11, by the Federal Government, is indeed 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 sixth 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 bust, otherwise known as the King’s Head, from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, to the great Benin throne, via a presidential directive”.
Osaigbovo further stated that Oba Ewuare II thanked President Buhari for the unprecedented move, and prayed God and his ancestors to guide the nation, and grant him good health and wisdom to carry out the duties and responsibility placed on his shoulders by his ancestors.
He further quoted the Benin monarch as saying “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’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Ishola to personally bring the two artefacts from Scotland and Aberdeen and present them to me in the 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 gives me more wisdom to carry out my duties and responsibilities that have been placed on my shoulders”.
Before ascending the throne October 20, 2016, the reverred Oba of Benin worked at the United Nations between 1981 and 1982. He also served as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Angola and Sweden, with accreditation to Norway, Denmark and the Republic of Finland. He was also Nigeria’s Ambassador to Italy.