Right of Reply
Dear Emmanuel Igiebor,
Re: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PALACE AND CAPTAIN HOSA OKUNBO BY CONCERNED EDO CITIZENS – EMMANUEL IGIEBOR
We read your open letter referred to above on social media and we felt obligated to join issues with you on all of the issues that you raised. Just as you have exercised your right of a third-party intervention, we have also decided to do the same. It is our hope that this would help to throw some light on the issues.
We are concerned Edo citizens just as you are but by virtue of our association with Captain Hosa, we find it pertinent to correct some wrong impressions which you may have inadvertently disseminated.
Whereas, we know that Capt. Hosa would ordinarily not bother to validate the narrative that your letter presented with a response, we feel very strongly that we owe a duty to him and the Edo people to explain and attempt to put events in proper context.
It may interest you to know that a majority of Edo Citizens whom you claim to represent are based in Edo (Benin) and it is only natural that their bona fide representatives should logically reside among them and have firsthand benefit of the overwhelming facts surrounding current issues.
The issues you interrogated are laid out hereunder and addressed accordingly.
(1) POSTER: The fact that Captain Hosa is not a candidate in the forthcoming elections is obvious and the presence of his orchestrated poster at the Oba’s Palace was simply the handiwork of mischief makers, a feeble attempt to create a diversion. We are very much aware of a grand scheme by Captain Hosa’s traducers to embark on a campaign of calumny to replicate this hideous act of attaching a poster of his photograph to acts of thuggery in subsequent events, which would most certainly be hallmarked by such shenanigans – more like the case of setting him up and making him look complicit in acts of which he knows nothing. Could this be a calculated bid to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it?
We wish to also state that the said posters of Captain Hosa with that of Hon. Osaro Obazee being displayed at the gate of the Oba’s Palace did not and still do not make sense in such a gathering because neither Captain Hosa nor Hon. Osaro Obazee is contesting for any office. We wonder then, what purpose the posters were meant to achieve, if not for some orchestrated mischief. Hon. Osaro Obazee, was a former Chairman of Oredo Local Government Council, the same Local government from which the Governor hails. No one is in any doubt that he left behind a strong record of performance which has greatly diminished the governor’s acceptance in the Local Government Area.
(2.) ALLEGIANCE: Captain Hosa has a home that is open to his friends, supporters, and well-wishers who seek his regular support. It therefore makes sense that his abode should be the most appropriate place for anybody to pledge allegiance as is customary during electioneering and other events. The Palace is hallowed ground for all sons and daughters to pay homage when they have need to do so and no true Benin son would choose to cause mayhem there.
(3) VISITING THE PALACE: You may wish to realize that the Governor of the State, by right, has access to all nooks and crannies of Edo state, including the Oba’s Palace after due protocols. The renovation you spoke about was a collective effort by well-meaning Edolites and friends of Captain Hosa for the sole purpose of upgrading the Palace into a more befitting edifice that will house our highly revered King. Captain Hosa was only privileged to have participated in the structural reforms and it is therefore our fervent hope that one day you and I will also be in a position to contribute our quota.
(4) CAR GIFT: One of the oldest monarchs in the world, the Queen of England, is usually accorded gifts by her subjects as a demonstration of love and affection. The Kano Emirate, the Ooni of Ife, Oba of Lagos, including the Queen of England, all ride in a Rolls Royce Phantom. What stops our revered Oba from driving in a Rolls Royce Phantom befitting of his status? As a proud and responsible Edo indigene, it was only necessary for Captain Hosa to contribute his quota to the uplifting of the status of our dear Oba. That Captain Hosa had the means and privilege to present a gift of a RR to our Oba remains a thing of joy and satisfaction, and certainly not regret to him and to us who are his friends. Those of us who know Captain Hosa well will attest, as we are doing with this right of reply to the fact that he can be quite discreet as a trusted ally and a man of integrity, whose hallmarks are reliability, credibility and dependability. For Captain Hosa, and we share his position, the car is a necessity and not a luxury. Our dear Emmanuel Igiebor, you needed to have seen the majestic fanfare with which the Oba drove into Aso Rock Villa, typical of expected elegance and royalty, and you would be proud to be an Edo man.
(5) KABAKA: Kabaka is an Edo man who is a traditional Ogbe boy. I am sure you are aware of the role Ogbe youths traditionally play in celebration with the Oba.
Just recently, Kabaka led the traditional “Coronation” Band Train from Uselu and all through the entire procession culminating in the Palace. You cannot therefore exclude Kabaka from such ancient traditions bestowed upon him by his forefathers. Kabaka does not work for Captain Hosa and he has never been sent on any errand by Captain Hosa and certainly not an errand that involves violence. Have you considered the possibility that people working for the governor may have set up this mayhem in an attempt to smear Captain Hosa’s reputation?
It must be noted that the Ogbe youths, whom Kabaka leads, were on that occasion dancing and rejoicing as it was in accordance with their tradition.
6) CANADA: Agreed that Captain Hosa has Canadian residency, but it is news to us and our friend, Captain Hosa, that Kabaka’s wife is equally resident in Canada. Please note that Canada is a well-organized society with strong immigration laws and you must therefore have your facts correct to substantiate the claims alleged, otherwise, you stand the risk of being sued for libel in a Canadian court of law.
7) OMO N’ OBA: A true Edo (Benin) man cannot be seen to cast such aspersion on the person of the Oba and His father, Oba Erediauwa of Blessed memory, as you have alleged. This is termed a traditional abomination from whence we came and a sacrilege for any Benin man, no matter his status, position or location, to openly criticize His Royal Majesty, the Oba of Benin. The Oba, by his disposition, is a father to all and the custodian of the ancestral heritage of our Kingdom, one of the few surviving ancient Kingdoms around the world and has never singled anyone out, not even Captain Hosa, for any form of favour. However, Emmanuel Igiebor, as a true Benin man, you must know that: “the wealth of subjects is at the mercy of the Oba and if he has to count his wealth, he starts from the top.”
With all sense of modesty, we make bold to state that Captain Hosa’s relationship with the Palace predates our Oba Ewuare, in whose honour he (Captain Hosa) launched a book titled “A Compendium of Speeches and Writings of Omon N’ Oba N’Edo Erediauwa of Great Benin,” as the Chief Launcher. In attendance on that occasion were such dignitaries as: Gen Yakubu Gowon; Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka as Chairman and book reviewer respectively. The book was published by the University Press Ibadan, in 2013. This necessitated Oba Erediauwa to also bestow on Captain Hosa, Ikele Beads in 2014, which is the apogee of honor for any Benin man. May we therefore inform you that Captain Hosa’s relationship with the Palace is long-standing and enduring; that Oba Ewuare personally prayed for him with the traditional staff of authority when Capt. Hosa exhibited his love and total commitment to the Palace in a dance that was the admiration of any true and well brought up Benin man. We want to believe you were also proud of that dance as a Benin man from a respected lineage. The Oba had, on the basis of that, declared him an adopted son of the Palace.
Emmanuel, how else do you expect the adopted son of the Palace to be favoured other than such privileges. Honor begets honor.
8) KABAKA HOTEL: Our dear Emmanuel, if you have the audacity to accuse the Oba of not asking Kabaka to apologize to the Governor, you should equally have had the audacity to accuse the Oba of not stopping the Governor from demolishing Kabaka’s Hotel without discretion, while Kabaka’s utterances were simply reactionary. The case of Mr Edegbe in Dallas, Texas is different. His unwarranted attacks on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Captain Hosa was unprovoked, hence the Oba deemed it necessary to ask for an apology so as to create a sense of protection for all his subjects worldwide, including Mr Edegbe himself. The Oba as you know, is royal, neutral and unbiased, he acts at all times with a deep sense of neutrality and these have endeared him to the nation and numerous admirers worldwide as he views issues from different perspectives as guided by his ancestors.
9) CONCLUSION: Captain Hosa’s so-called “fight” with Governor Godwin Obaseki is not a “fight” but a difference of opinions based on Captain Hosa’s convictions under the principles of good leadership and governance. We share in those principles. Let it be on record that Captain Hosa was one of the staunch supporters of Governor Obaseki in the 2016 Governorship Elections. Why don’t you ask Captain Hosa what has gone wrong instead of casting aspersions on his person or intentions? For clarity of purpose, our observation is simple: Governor Obaseki’s style of leadership is faulty, selective and divisive; progress might have been noticed but with a huge deficit in infrastructure and human capital development. The Captain Hosa, that we know, does not fight; he only disagrees and this virtue is characteristic of the humble businessman and philanthropist as well as his siblings. These are virtues bequeathed to them by their father of blessed memory, a one-time educationist in Edo State. The Okunbo family are not of the violent species and thuggery cannot be associated with them. Captain Hosa’s philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) principles are guided by God Almighty, and his style of assistance remains his absolute prerogative, where only the beneficiaries can speak about it, but not himself. These are Captain Hosa’s guiding principles which keep him in a covenant with God. As we round off, we know that Captain Hosa is not a politician. He is a businessman. Why are some people like you, constantly defaming an illustrious Benin son who, through the grace of God, has achieved so much and given sacrificially to the development of our Kingdom? Why are you trying to bring him down through your fictitious writings instead of celebrating him?
If these orchestrated attacks were due to his choice of who to support for the governorship, then it is rather unfortunate. Capt. Hosa, to the best of our understanding, has decided to pitch his tent with a candidate against Governor Obaseki in because of his convictions. His persona and businesses have been under constant attacks and his existence has been unconscionably threatened as he had indicated in his well-publicized open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and the good people of Edo State.
Edo State needs a man who is man-caring and God-fearing and we believe that Pastor Ize-Iyamu fits that bill.
We restate that Captain Hosa’s differences with the Governor are issue based and must remain so. Please do not allow yourself to be used to run down a man who is trying his best possible to deploy the resources that God has given to him in lifting our minority tribe and placing it on a pedestal of recognition by others in Nigeria and beyond the shores of our country.
Capt. Hosa’s contributions to the progress and development of Benin Kingdom, Edo State and Nigeria are evident in the socio-economic and cultural spheres. He is even readily disposed to render support to and collaborate with government to realise its mandate. Consider this: Do you know that Captain Hosa played a key role in partnership with National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the anti-human trafficking agency, in a concerted effort to push back the frontiers of human trafficking for which he was awarded the 2020 Anti-Human Trafficking Hero award by the agency? Suffice it to say that Captain Hosa’s resources were put at the agency’s full disposal to advance its critical mandate. This is just one instance of Capt. Hosa’s readiness to support and collaborate with government at all levels. Our dear friend, Emmanuel, it is our hope that all we have enumerated above would constitute sufficient grounds for you to shift your position. Thank you.
1 Chief Kennester Oteghekpen The Nobabo of Benin Kingdom
2 Prof Ovenseri Aibueku
3 Prof Edoba Omoregie
4. Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon
5.Hon. Ehiogie West-Idahosa
6. Hon. Razaq Bello-Osagie