Encounters ‘ Royal tortoise gifted Oba of Benin depicts his qualities ’
The tortoise is regarded as one of the wisest animals on earth. This might have informed the choice of two tortoises as gifts to the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, by the Edo North senatorial district’s traditional rulers when the Oba visited the area.
On April 8, the Edo North traditional rulers hosted Oba Ewuare 11 at the palace of the Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Haliru Momoh, Ikelebe III. He came to thank the people and traditional rulers for their support and solidarity during the burial of Oba Erediawa and his coronation.
The tortoises (a male and female), it was gathered, instantly caught the attention of the children at the Otaru Palace who fed and played with them.
One of the workers at the palace told our reporter that the tortoises only spent about four days at the Otaru Palace before they were eventually gifted to Oba Ewuare II.
He said for the few days the animals spent at the palace, there was no dull moment for the children as they thronged the palace to see and play with the tortoises.
The worker, who craved anonymity, said the children were excited to see the tortoises as they fed and played with them. “They fed them with cucumber, carrot and cabbage and it was really great fun for them. You know most of these children only read about tortoise in story books or hear about them in fables.”
According to him, the tortoises were so big, especially the male, that a six or seven-year-old can ride on their backs.
“Their presence attracted lots of people who came around to take pictures of them. When it rains, they move about and burrow the soil to a level where they get in to rest.”
He said the tortoises were brought from Niger State and that the man who brought them said he got them from Niger Republic.
A resident of the area, who only gave his name as Abudu, said “I believe the visit of the Oba was historic hence the people felt they should be a symbolic royal gift for the Oba.”
He said the tortoise, as an animal, symbolizes wisdom, bravery, boldness and ability to withstand challenges. “The tortoise is a brave animal in the animal kingdom and the performance of the new Oba so far shows he is a man of wisdom. He is also a brave man who knows what is right and what to say at the right time. So, I think, the gift depicts his true characters,” he said.