Oba Of Benin Chides Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu Over Electoral Violence
Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, yesterday rebuked politicians in the state, particularly the governorship candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Godwin Obaseki and the All Progressive Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, for the pre-election violence and belligerent electioneering utterances, threatening to tear the state apart ahead of the September 19 election.
However, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Johnson Kokumo, has assured the monarch and the people of adequate security, saying there’s no cause for alarm.
“The utterances, statements and activities that I hear are most immature”, the revered monarch told the two leading candidates and their promoters, including former governors John Odigie-Oyegun and Adams Oshiomhole, in subdued anger during a peace meeting in his palace in Benin.
The Benin monarch at the meeting initiated by him said there were talks about the candidates of the two major parties arming thugs. He warned them to desist from the act and expressed worry about what the guns would be used for after the elections.
Oba Ewuare II, who said that he was worried about the violence across the state over the September 19 poll, stated that politicians must learn to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner, noting that election was not a do-or-die affair.
He admonished the politicians and parties to note that they have only Edo State to call their own and must do everything possible to protect it from disintegration.
He said not only has the state been in the news for wrong reasons, but that the governorship election has divided the people.
The first-class monarch said, “I have noted that Benin politics has been in the news for quite some time for all the wrong reasons. I have been having sleepless nights for some days. We are all from Edo State. We are no strangers.
“Why do you want lives to be lost by arming thugs, who will later hide the guns? Enough is enough. Let the September 19 governorship election in Edo State be peaceful.
“Be mature and be proud of Edo State. Do not make Edo State a laughing stock.”
He added, “Don’t kill yourselves over an office, don’t kill yourselves over votes, let us have a working relationship that President Muhammadu Buhari had with Goodluck Jonathan, it is not a do-or-die affair.
“The two candidates must toe the line of peace just like Jonathan did when he willingly announced his acceptance of defeat in 2015”.
In their response, Obaseki, who commended the monarch for his fatherly role, said, “I have sworn on oath to protect the people and it will be irresponsible of me to do otherwise, especially that which can lead to the destruction of lives and properties. “
He assured the monarch that he would strive to see that there’s peace in the state.
Ize-Iyamu said he would ensure that his supporters conduct themselves in a peaceful manner throughout the remaining campaign and during the election.
Oshiomhole said as a product of peaceful elections, he would not deviate from that which would lead to a peaceful Poll, assuring the monarch that they heed his counsel.