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Comment by UMWENI Omoruyi on February 20, 2011 at 4:52pm

The Benin City Pilgrimage Stations By Ekhaguosa Aisien; Aisien Publishers, Benin City, 2001

The Benin City Pilgrimage Stations stands out in its uniqueness of focusing on the processes an ennobled citizen has to undertake to consummate the royal offer. For the simple reason that the Chiefs constitutes an elite group, which assists the Oba in administering the vast kingdom, the knowledge of their coming to such position is of immense advantage not only to those who aspire to chieftaincy but also to the generality of society. The book contains illustrations of about 126 photographs as old as 1892, maps and tables of the major characters, places, objects, events, roads and the processional routes the newly ennobled takes to the designated shrines for sanctification.
With generous use of anecdotes, images and medical terminology, the author marries oral and written accounts to present an informative, educative and enlightening piece on Benin history. The Pilgrimage Stations in sequential order comprise



Aro Edion Edo (The Edion Edo Shrine); Aro Ekpenede (Fore-court); Aro Iden; Aro Emotan; Aro Ekpenede (Main shrine); Aro Oto Ogbe; Aruosa N'Ogbelaka and Aro Ewua N'Ogbelaka. Others are the Isekhurhe Palace; Aro Igun N'Ugboha;Aro Iyantor Erhie; Egedege Nokaro; Aro Ezomo Agban; Aruosa N'Erhie; Aruosa N'Akpakpava and Aruosa Iyase N'Ohenmwen.

The ceremonial outings by the new Chief called Okhaemwen (he who speaks), consist of the first two to the palace of the Oba; the actual pilgrimage to the 14 stations within the Inner City covering a distance of about six kilometers, and the last outing thanksgiving), not compulsory, is performed in recognition of the Uzama Chiefs, the king makers located in the Outer City. Naturally, the new Chief sets out from his house to the palace after the second day of the conferment of the title on him by the Oba's messengers. The ceremony is called Ekponmwen Obo (thanksgiving done with the hands only) because no drummer accompanies the celebrant. The essence of the visit is to assure both the monarch and the honored citizen that it is the intended title that was given and received.

The next outing is the Egie Ekete (title conferment from the throne), wherein the Oba, sitting in his quadrangle in the palace, "formally and publicity
'confirmed' the new Chief in the title already conferred, in the presence of a great concourse of  people." Now the Chief is ready for the Ekponmwen Orere or Ighogh'Egie (public outing of thanksgiving), doing a 'Lap of Honour' round Benin City, on a pilgrimage to designated shrines. Aro Edion Edo (The Edion Edo Shrine): Situated between the main entrance of the Oba's palace and the Oredo Local Council headquarters on Ring Road, Benin City, the shrine is dedicated to the spirits of the collective dead of the city. It is the first pilgrimage station visited by the new Chief who, after offering his thanksgiving to the Oba sitting on the throne, walks a short distance from the palace to the shrine.

Aro Ekpenede (The Aro Ekpenede Shrine): Located in two places (stations 2 and 4), the first is about 100 metres from the Aro Edion Edo. The celebrant arrives at Iwebo Street, turns right towards the shrine and twirls his Eben once or twice as acknowledgement of the shrine. At the main shrine on Ekpenede Street, which the celebrant enco

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