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The role of Edaiken of Uselu

The Edaiken is the heir apparent to the throne of Benin kingdom. The title first came into existence during Oba Ewuare’s reign in 1440. The first Edaiken was Prince Kuoboyuwa. As the eldest son of the Oba and as he is heir apparent to the Benin Throne, he is groomed in the art of governance in form and practice at Uselu. He normally has his own sets of chiefs and his administration at Uselu is a replica of what is in Benin City. At about the age of puberty {sometimes this is after 16 years of age}the Oba to all Edo people introduces him. The introduction ceremony involves the invitation of all categories of chiefs in the kingdom, important citizens, members of the royal family and well-
prince Eheneden
wishers. This ceremony establishes for the last time the person of the Edaiken to the people and thereafter there can be no doubt about who is the heir apparent to the throne of Benin kingdom. It is not unlikely that this ceremony was established in order to avoid the needless power struggle between rival princes in the past, which resulted in unpleasant situation in the past, which resulted in unpleasant situation inundating the history of Benin monarchy.

Before the Edaiken is invested with all the powers of his office, he must be initiated to the royal palace society of Iwobo where he would be conferred with the title of Ukoniwebo. Thereafter he must be invested as Edaiken before he proceeds to live at Uselu his official residence.

Edaiken is once of the Uzama who belong generally to the group of Chiefs usually referred to as kingmakers but in actual sense they officiate at the crowning ceremony of a new Oba. In Benin parlance, kings are born and not made.

When an old king passes away, the Edaiken remains in his position until the royal funeral ceremonies are over and he is proclaimed as king and crowned. The royal funeral rites of departed and the coronation ceremonies of the new Oba that immediately follows the King’s demise last about three months.

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