▪︎Monarch expresses concern over spate of violence
▪︎advises Obaseki on transience of political office
Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, on Wednesday deployed the weight of his throne in reining in the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, admonishing him to call his thugs to order.
The royal father shot straight from the hips at the peace meeting in his palace where he got the two leading governorship candidates, Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Peoples Congress (APC) candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to commit themselves to peaceful conducts during campaign and the September 19 election.
The running mates of both candidates, Deputy Governor Phillip Shaibu of the PDP and Mallam Gani Audu of the APC were also in attendance at the meeting.
Leaders of both the APC and the PDP, including Chief John Odigie Oyegun, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Chief Dan Osi Orbih, were at the meeting and took turns to speak on the issue.
Ova Ewuare reportedly noted Shaibu’s notoriety for orchestrating violence in the Edo governorship race, which was one of the agenda issues at the peace meeting.
He warned the deputy governor to rein in his thugs and halt the escalation of violence in the state.
Oba Ewuare II had expressed his concern on the incessant outbreak of violence in the State ahead of the Sept. 19 governorship election.
He said he had been having sleepless nights on the violent conducts and had held continuous prayers for peace.
He suesd for peace and urged the politicians to also embrace peace and relay the message to their followers across the State.
Mr. Philip Shaibu, Governor Godwin Obaseki’s running mate, earned specific mentions, a development which analysts in the State say stems from his notoriety and direct involvement in several violent clashes, notably in the Edo North Senatorial District where he hails from.
“I have noted that Edo State’s 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,” the Oba of Benin was quoted to have said.
“I became so worried when the conflict between Oshiomhole and Obaseki started. I have a personal relationship with almost everybody here (at the palace).
“I am not sure I will call [Philip] Shaibu my son again, because of the way he [Shaibu] is going. [Philip] Shaibu refused to honor his assurances to me. You do not say something to me and you go against it.
“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.
“Shaibu, behave yourself. Calm down. I learned you control thugs. Tell your boys to cease fire and drop their arms. Let your boys calm down. Must it be a do-or-die affair? Do not turn Benin into a city of thugs. Do not kill yourselves, because of public office. Stop the shootings. I am very sad about what is happening in Edo State. This is the worst scenario. Let us eschew violence and give peace a chance in Edo State,” he reportedly stated.
Recounting the “memorable times” he had with former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the Oba of Benin told the story of the persistent moves Oshiomhole made in 2016 to secure the support of the Palace for Governor Godwin Obaseki.
He recounted how Oshiomhole sold Obaseki as a candidate that would build on his successes and persuaded numerous notable figures, including billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote, to hold discussions with him on supporting Obaseki, even though he said no word.
The monarch advised Governor Obaseki “to look beyond his office” because he would not be there all the time.
According to him, “political office is transient” and urged Mr Godwin Obaseki to look at the bigger picture so that he could continue to earn the respect of all when he is no longer the governor.”
As a symbolic gesture, in his address at the Palace, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu embraced Governor Godwin Obaseki and assured the monarch of his commitment to peace.