By Sodiq Lawal
The ancient city of Yoruba Land was agog on Saturday as Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare Ogidigan II arrived at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi , for a visit .
The Oba arrived at the palace in Ile – Ife at 1 : 15 pm with his chiefs and some dignitaries from the ancient city of Benin.
Prominent traditional rulers and notable indigenes of Ife, who joined the Ooni to receive the Benin monarch are the Orangun of Ila , Oba Wahab Oyedotun , traditional rulers from Ile Ife and Dr. John Odeyemi .
Security was beefed up around the Ooni’s Palace at Enuwa in Ile – Ife as an armoured personnel carrier, armed policemen and other security agents are stationed at the entrance to ensure that there is no security breach .
Cultural troupes from Benin, entertainers and drummer from Ile Ife started drumming, singing and dancing as early as 10 : am inside the hall where Oba Ewuare was received.
The two paramount traditional rulers decried the security challenges currently facing the country which according to them, have eventuated in herdsmen killings, kidnapping and Boko Haram insurgency in some parts of the country, particularly in the North East and the Middle Belt.
The Benin monarch lamented that the three major crisis currently bedeviling the nation included herdsmen’s killings, criminal violence such as kidnapping and illegal human trafficking.
He said that the devastating trend which he attributed to the porosity of the country’s borders was unacceptable and must be brought to a halt as soon as possible.
While commending the president for his efforts so far in addressing the challenges, he, however, urged him to intensifying more efforts in proffering a lasting solution to the crises “in the interest of peace and unity of the country.”
The monarch said his courtesy visit was intended to solidify his kingdom’s traditional and cultural affinity with Ife Kingdom and to stress the message of peace and unity between both kingdoms as well as the entire Nigeria.
According to him, the relationship between Ife and Benin kingdoms was historical and must continue. He enthused that his father maintained the affinity when he paid a courtesy visit to the late Ooni Oba Okunade Sijuade about 10 years ago.
He promised to keep up the affinity in order to promote the cultural heritage of both kingdoms, hence his courtesy visit to the current Ooni.
Oba Ewurare called on the Ooni to reciprocate the visit in continuation of the passion for the affinity of both kingdoms.
Oba Adeyeye who also stressed the need to tackle the insecurity palaver, called on the traditional rulers across the country to join hands together and assist government in finding solution to the problems.
He called for introduction of community policing whom he said are very strategic to crime fighting especially in the rural communities where herdsmen’s killings are taking toll on the innocent citizens at a reckless abandon.
The Ooni also advocated support for the Nigerian youths who he described as leaders of tomorrow.
He called on government, non-governmental organisations and concerned individuals to support them through entrepreneurial and empowerment programmes just like his foundation which has been in the vanguard of the initiative to better the lots of the youth.
He assured of his kingdom’s readiness to collaborate with the Benin Kingdom to promote and preserve the cultural heritage and affinity between both kingdom in the interest of peace, unity and progress of the country.
“We should see ourselves as one big family. We can’t grow as a nation if we don’t uphold our traditional heritage. That is the essence of our coming together and the reality of this courtesy visit by His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewurare Ogidigan II,” the Ooni said.
Scores of royal fathers from both Ife and Benin Kingdoms prayed in their different ethnic languages for the peace, unity, progress and prosperity of their kingdoms and the entire Nigeria.