The Benin Kingdom’s royal tradition of the covering of mouths with a white handkerchief peculiar to the King and his wives has been preliminarily interpreted to quell the inquisitiveness of social media users.
Yesterday, Oba Ewuare ll N’Ogidigan ascended the revered throne of his ancestors to become the 39th Oba of Benin, succeeding his late father, Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolopkolo, Oba Erediauwa.
The photo above of the newly coronated Oba puzzled many people with some social media users ridiculously claiming someone must have polluted the air at the moment.
Well, why was the Oba covering his mouth? It was obviously a cultural act but what was the significance. Even his wives covered their mouths. An indigene of Edo State, south-south part of Nigeria embarked on a fact-finding mission and got the feedback below:
(1) The Oba usually covers his mouth because when he talks he is the supreme authority and whatever he says is final.
(2) People talk on his behalf most of the time and whatever they proclaim becomes the law with immediate effect.
“A friend of mine who is a painter said he did a painting of the old Oba and it was rejected because it depicted him smiling. According to tradition, people are not supposed to see the Oba’s teeth so he doesn’t smile” the unnamed investigator concluded.