By Kingsley Abavo, Benin

Following increasing tension occasioned by violence perpetrated by hired thugs ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, the Benin monarch, HRM Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Oba Ewuare II N’ Ogidigan on Wednesday, 2 September, 2020 summoned all the political players which include  Governor Godwin Obaseki now of the People Democratic Party (PDP), and Osagie Ize – Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to a peace meeting in his palace.

 

Oba of Benin

His Royal Majesty Oba Ewuare II who had never hidden the position of the palace as being apolitical, in his characteristic manner displayed tact, humour yet very frank calling a spade by its name while addressing his august guests.

The monarch said he was saddened by events pervading the political space of Edo in the run up to the September 19 Governorship election.

The State has continued to be in the news for the wrong reasons, and politicians were responsible because of their selfish ambition to win the September 19 Governorship election, he noted.

He wondered why people who were friends, one family and had dined and wined together would want to kill themselves because of political office which he pointed out was transient. There would be life after election whether win or lose.

Addressing Governor Obaseki, the monarch said:

‘’Your Excellency the Governor of  Edo State please enough is enough, enough is enough…I am very, very sad and upset about what has been happening in Edo state lately. I think this must be the worst scenario of all the politics that we have been seeing in Edo State….

“I want to appeal to you; do your best, do your bit to calm down the temperature in Edo State, calm down everywhere, let there be peace, let there be tranquility. This is my appeal! Let us have the kind of working relationship that President Buhari has with former president Jonathan between whoever comes to office.”

Warning that all the shooting and talks about guns must stop, Oba Ewuare II addressed the deputy governor, Philip Shuaibu: “they say you are the tough one inside, you must behave please!’’

‘’Tell your boys, if it is you, tell your boys to cease fire that your Baba has told you to cease fire, enough is enough. I don’t want to hear shooting guns anymore, enough is enough, you don’t have to kill yourselves because of office. Because office will be there, life will be there. Even if you don’t win, there will be something greater that God will do for you, must it be a do or die affair? Please we are all worried!’’

He further disclosed that Shuaibu gave him some assurances for peace to reign but failed to stick by them.

‘’It started degenerating to the point that even Philip that gave me some assurances was going against his own assurances; he was not honoring his own assurances to me. He knows what I am talking about and I am not happy about that. You don’t say things to me and you go against it.’’

Not sparing  Adams Oshiomhole in his frank talk, the Benin monarch taunted the All Progressives Congress (APC) for disqualifying Obaseki after barely four years ago he was found qualified to be fielded to run for the governorship on its platform.

“I was surprised that what made him qualify four years ago has now disqualified him.

“I saw him going to Esama’s house and I now asked him if he was not going to Esama’s political party? He denied. Later, is it not the same party he belongs now? Anyway, I do not really blame him (Obaseki). He was forced to move to PDP.”

The monarch recalled how Oshiomhole introduced Obaseki to him as his successor at the twilight of his administration, but he neither uttered a word nor opposed him.

Reiterating that the political actors should tell their boys to stop killing themselves…, he declared; “I am not interested in who wins the election. I have sacrificed my franchise. Though, I am entitled to vote constitutionally, “It will be contradictory for me to vote for a political party even if it is an open secret ballot”.

Expressing displeasure that the political actors are making Edo State a laughing stock, the monarch condemned the attack on Governor Godwin Obaseki and other guests; Very Important Persons (VIPs), at his palace, during the official launch of the Governor’s re-election campaign.

He consequently admonished that they should refrain from hate speech and acts capable of heightening tension before, during and after the election reiterating that the Benin throne remains non-partisan as it has always been.

Also at the meeting which lasted over two hours, were the former National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s running mate, Mallam Gani Audu, National Vice Chairman of  PDP, South -South, Chief Dan Orbih and the State Chairman of PDP, Tony Aiziegbemi.

Others were; the State APC factional Chairman, Chris Azebamwen, State secretary, Lawrence Okay and Patrick Obahiagbon.

The highly revered monarch in the State and beyond, explained that the meeting was summoned following request by the National Chairman of the Independent National Commission (INEC), to use his position to rally actors in the election to a peace deal ahead of the poll.