By Gabriel Omohinmin
On Thursday, December 29 2016, the ancient town of Isele-Uku was colourfully agog with various activities. It was on that day, the young Obi of Issele-Uku, His Royal Majesty, Agbogidi (Engr.) Nduka Ezeagwuna, was crowned and presented with the staff of office by the Delta State Government.
The young Obi’s journey to the throne of his ancestors began unexpectedly on August 9 2014, when his late father, Obi Henry Ezeagwuna, joined his ancestors as a result of a motor accident along the Benin-Asaba-Onitsha expressway. At this time, the young Obi was just 22 years of age and a 300 level Engineering student at the University of Ibadan.
At the University of Ibadan before the passage of the former Obi of Isele-Uku, most students and lecturers never had inkling that Nduka Ezeagwuna was a crown prince due to his extreme humility. It was therefore a surprise to the University community when in August 2014, a high-powered delegation from Isele-Uku made up of elders and chiefs visited the University authority to invite the crown Prince home.
This was in line with the custom and tradition of the Isele-Uku people, so that, the Crown Prince could come and ascend the throne of his forefathers as the stool could not be left vacant. At this point, the University authorities had to intervene, impressing on the delegates the need for the Crown Prince to complete his University degree programme before his ascension to the throne. An advice the delegation agreed to.
In year 2015, during the induction ceremony for graduating Engineers of the University, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan announced a sudden change in the University order of programme. Why? The change was to honour the Crown Prince as the heir to the throne of Isele-Uku. He was specifically honoured by being the first person to be called for induction thus introducing him as the University “Special Engineer King”.
This appellation is what the new Obi of Isele-Uku has carried into the throne of his ancestors.
As there are no special institutions where traditional rulers are trained before ascending the throne, Crown Prince Nduka Ezeagwuna and the Kingmakers of Isele-Uku, had to exploit the long standing relationship that exist between the Binis and the Isele-Uku people, which dated back into centuries.
It was therefore not a surprise that Crown Prince Ezeagwuna II, had to undergo an eye opening orientation in the Oba’s Palace in Benin City. The mentoring received from Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, Obi Nduka Ezeagwuna II said, “has not only reassured his affinity and strong roots to the Bini ancestors, but has strengthened his confidence in confronting the task of leadership of his Kingdom.”
During his Coronation, the Obi of Isele-Uku spoke extensively about the age long affinity between the Isele-Uku and Benin Kingdoms. He stressed, “as documented by one of our sons; Prince Christopher Afumata Aken-Osu and authenticated by other Historians, “The Ancient History of ISI ILE-UKU (ISELE-UKU) kingdom” revealed that “OBA EWEKA I of the ancient Benin Empire, created the Edo no’ri ISI-ILE UKU as a Benin Satellite Kingdom of Uku Akpolokpolo in about 1230A.D.
The OBA enthroned his second son, Prince Uwadiae as the first OFIE-ISI, and absolute monarch, as the head of the Central Government of ISI ILE-UKU (ISSELE-UKU) kingdom. The Satellite Kingdom was the first Benin Settlement on the Eastern extremities of Benin City, towards the path-way from Benin to Ohimi, the majestic River Niger, which was the ancient permanent Benin boundary.”
From Ogie Uwadiae to date, twenty rulers have presided over the affairs of Isele-Uku, Obi Nduka Ezeagwuna II, is the twentieth on the line.