By Lizzy Ikuru
The Oba of Benin kingdom, Omo n’oba n’Edo uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, on Monday evening paid a thank you visit to Port Harcourt in Rivers.
The visit was the first to the state since his installation as the Benin monarch in 2016.
Mr Ebel Egaton, Chairman, Degema Reconciliation and Chieftaincy Committee, who was among dignitaries at the Airport to welcome the Oba, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that the visit would further unify Rivers and Edo people.
According to him, the visit is an appreciation for their contributions and the roles they played during his coronation.
NAN reports that the Edo tribe across states of the federation, earlier converged on the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, before the arrival of Oba of Benin kingdom to welcome the monarch.
Egaton, who was in the entourage of King Reuben Zachariah, the king of Degema kingdom, said that the Degema people migrated from the ancient Benin kingdom.
According to him, they migrated in the 11 century AD and settled in Degema area in Rivers.
“We were the first settlers in Degema and we have over the years preserved our identity, our language, culture and tradition until this day.
“We received a letter that the Oba of Benin was coming to Rivers. As brethren, we had to come to show our solidarity and identify ourselves as part of the Edo group domiciled in Rivers.
“During the coronation of the Oba, the Edo group in diaspora and those across the six geopolitical zones of the federation were also all in attendance.
“On arrival to Rivers, the Oba, shall pay a curtsey visit to Gov. Nyesom Wike and also meet with the Rivers Traditional Rulers Council, South-south Chiefs and the Edo groups in diaspora.
“In our divers ethnicity, we have realised ourselves and are together forging ahead in unity, as this visit would further foster unity among the Edo groups across the country,” he added.
The visit of the Oba to Port Harcourt according to some traditional leaders who came to receive him was a thank-you- visit which followed his coronation held on Nov. 12, 2016.
NAN, however, reports that the Oba arrived at about 6:10pm at Port Harcourt International Airport and welcomed by Edo groups in Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta with cultural troupes.