‘We started as friends and ended up in marriage’

Benin City, the Edo State capital, was agog recently as the Benin Royal Family gave out one of its daughters, Princess Ozeikeke Erediauwa, to the Editor-in-Chief of National Daily, Mr Sylvester Ebhodaghe, at a lavish wedding ceremony, attended by eminent personalities in the society. OSAGIE OTABOR writes

From Ekenwan Road, Benin City, Edo State, venue of Believers Loveworld Inc a.k.a Christ Embassy, where the wedding was solemnised to the palace of the Oba of Benin, Omo n’oba Erediauwa, the whole Benin City was locked down. The traffic gridlock was unusual. Everyone in the ancient city knew that the King’s daughter was wedding.

From the peasants to the noveau riche, governors to the governed, everyone wanted to have a glimpse of what was going on. Palace chiefs of various classes and positions looked resplendent in their traditional apparel and paraphernalia of their offices. To all, were the Omo n’Oba not a king, the expression of happiness would have been readily noticeable in him.

Although he was represented by the Crown Prince of Benin Kingdom, Ambassador Eheneden Erediauwa, the monarch nevertheless was happy in giving out his daughter in marriage.

The ceremony began on Friday with the performance of traditional rites within the palace while invited guests were treated to good music by musicians such as Ambassador Joseph Osayomore; the Victorious Gospel Band, led by a couple, Deacon and Mrs. Palmer Omoruyi; the Igbabonelimi traditional acrobatic group from Ubiaja and other entertainers from across the state.

The following day, His Royal Majesty, Omo n’Oba Erediauwa, represented by the Crown Prince, took his sister, Princess Ozeikeke, dressed in white, sleeveless, flowing wedding gown with a white pair of shoes, to the altar where he handed her to the man of her dreams, Sylvester, for wedding vows.

Officiating minister, Pastor Tom Amenkhienan, reminded the couple of the importance of the union, family, peaceful and harmonious co-existence between couples.

The cleric urged them to imbibe the virtues and patience of Christ as well as make Christ the pillar of their home and marriage.

“When you continue to be in Christ who has always been your foundation, the storm will come, but because Christ is your foundation, you will never be shaken. Someone asked me the other day why wicked people live long and refuse to die, and I said it’s because God is giving them a long rope to repent, but if they refuse to repent and die in their sins, then the hottest part of hell will be reserved for them.

“That is why on this occasion I will give kudos to my Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. A few years ago, before he became Governor, Edo State was like an abandoned project site, but today Edo State is alive and working again. There is a new breath of fresh air. I am not a politician, I am not in PDP or ACN. I am in Jesus party and it is because I am in Jesus party that I see the truth and say the truth. Oshiomhole is working, Oshiomhole has worked and Edo is working again. So Comrade Governor, I thank you very, very much. When the Comrade Governor came up, I thought he only knew how to talk, but now we know he talks and works,” he said.

After the church ceremony, the couple was conveyed in a white, ceremonial, limosine Hummer Jeep to the reception which held at the palace ground and was anchored by Nollywood actor, Kanayo O. Kanayo, who was assisted by a stand up female comedian known as Tatafo.

The groom, who was clad in a navy blue, long suit with a white sleeve-shirt, white waist coat and white tie, told journalists that they met in a very strange and difficult circumstance.

His words: “We started as friends before it led to marriage. Oze has brought so much happiness into my life. She is the best thing that has happened to my life.”

Dignitaries from all walks of life graced the occasion. They were led by the Governor of Edo, Comrade Oshiomhole; who was joined by his Delta and Akwa Ibom states counterparts, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and Godswill Akpabio; Anambra State governor was represented by his Commissioner of Information, Chief Maja Umeh; three former governors of Edo, Rivers and Anambra states, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; Dr Peter Odili and Mrs Virgy Etiaba; two former ministers, Mr Frank Nweke Jnr. and Prof Dora Akunyili; Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Uyigue Igbe and some lawmakers of the state.

Others included the former Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mike Okiro; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees Member, Chief Anthony Anenih; former Executive vice-chairman of Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe; and the Iyase of Benin Kingdom (the traditional Prime Minister), who led some palace chiefs to the ceremony.

Chairman of the occasion, Dr Uduaghan, advised the couple to learn to blossom their union in patience, love and understanding.

He said: “There is nothing I can really tell you about marriage than to be very patient with each other. As those of us who have been in marriage often say, experience is the best teacher.”