•Charges Obaseki to reverse negative impression people have about his family
BY SIMON EBEGBULEM, BENIN CITY
Governor elect of Edo state, Mr Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki began his journey to Osadebey Avenue Government House last Tuesday with a visit to the palace of the Crown Prince of Benin Kingdom, Edaiken N’Uselu, Crown Prince Ehenede Erediauwa.
He was accompanied to the palace by the out-going governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, his wife Iara, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) in the state led by its chairman, Anselm Ojezua, and Chief of Staff to the governor, Patrick Obahiagbon (Igodomigodo).
Others were Rasaq Bello-Osagie, Gentleman Amegor and several other leaders of APC. At the palace, Mr Obaseki informed the Crown Prince that he came to inform him about his victory at the just concluded governorship election.
He then pledged his loyalty to the palace as the in-coming governor and solicited for prayers from the elders.
It was an occasion whereby people were anxious to observe the expression of the Crown Prince, who was meeting publicly for the first time, Godwin Obaseki, a scion of the Obaseki family, that was accused of betraying the Benin Royal family during the reign of Oba Ovonramwen.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, made futile efforts during the campaigns to instigate the palace against the candidacy of Obaseki by painting the picture of an Obaseki governor who will not be loyal to the palace.
But the Crown Prince, an Ambassador of several years had never bothered himself with the events of the past, rather his major concern was getting a governor who will surpass the achievements of Oshiomhole, put food on the table of his subjects and ensure respect for the traditional institution. It was therefore not surprising that His Royal Majesty, and his top palace chiefs led by the Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief David Edebiri received Godwin Obaseki very warmly last Tuesday.
Governor Oshiomhole who kicked off the conversation, said “We feel very privileged that you granted us this opportunity to pay you this courtesy visit and to formally present to you what I can rightly describe as the outcome of your prayers.
Your Royal Majesty, in your prayers you asked God and our ancestors that of all those contesting, may God and our ancestors allow the one who will develop this Kingdom, put food on the table of the ordinary man in Edo state and above all respect not only the King, not only the palace but also the tradition of the Benin Kingdom and traditional rulers of which your Royal Majesty is the paramount traditional ruler of our state.
“At the end of the exercise, Godwin Neghoghase Obaseki emerged victorious. We believe that your prayers have come to pass because there was another leg of your prayers when you asked God to intervene in the face of all the anxiety and the fears before the election to ensure that the election come and pass peacefully without any violence.
This is the best election conducted in recent times, particularly in the South South geo political zone in which not one person was shot and as we speak not one person is hospitalized. So I believe that everything you asked of our creator and of our ancestors were answered.
So we came to thank you, your Royal Majesty, for your leadership, for your prayers and to celebrate a violent free and fair election, the best that had been conducted in recent years. In some of our neighbouring states in the South South, even in a House of Assembly election, they were counting the number of lives lost, or the number of people hospitalized. But on this occasion everything went peacefully. I believe it is a sign of many more good things to happen under your reign that will witness peace and prosperity.
“As the outgoing governor, as I look towards November 12, I feel privileged that I will still be on the seat as Governor, when the whole world will converge in this historic city to celebrate your coronation. That will be the highest point of my stewardship in this great kingdom and this great state”.
Also speaking, Obaseki who recognized that his loyalty to the palace will be tested in the next few months, vowed to respect the traditions and customs of the Kingdom just like Oshiomhole.
His words: “First, I have come home to say thank you. I went out to fight for a prize and I have come to tell my father that I have brought the prize home. But I know that it would have been almost impossible if you have not sanctioned it through your prayers.
In the course of politicking and campaigns a lot of things were said, many of them were not true. But this was politics and I am happy here today that some of my uncles who are chiefs have come to accompany me. I want to assure you that we are integral part to the palace and I want to pledge my unalloyed loyalty to you and the palace.
“I also, at this juncture, appeal to you to help me thank the Comrade governor, I don’t think I would have been elected governor if not for the full backing of Governor Oshiomhole. We are all witnesses to all he has done to the traditional institution in Edo state. He came, he saw and he has conquered. And in conquering he has set a new paradigm and examples for me to follow.
He has been able to demonstrate to me why the traditional institution has been a very supportive part of our democracy. I have seen how he has reawakened the traditional institution and I saw in the last election the strength and the meaning of that institution. I want to promise today that I will continue to strengthen the traditional institution in Edo state. The least I can do is to maintain what he has done but I assure you that I will build on it”.
“It is God’s doing that I am being ushered in as governor of Edo state just about the same time that you are going to be crowned our King. I want to assure you of my full cooperation and support and if by any reason I make any mistake please call me and correct me as your son”.
In his response, the Crown Prince lamented that the people of the Kingdom will miss Governor Oshiomhole whom he described as a personal friend. He said, “ Before he (Oshiomhole) joined politics he came and informed me, he started with Labour Party and later he went to AC then. I looked at Comrade and I said are you sure you will be able to do the politics. But as you have all seen today he has become one very astute, aggressive warrior politician”.
Hailing the outcome of the just concluded governorship election in the state, Crown Prince Ehenede said, “I am so delighted with the kind of peace and tranquility that prevailed during the election, we were all worried during the elections. It made us to pray harder because my father taught us how to pray harder when things are tough and we thank God that the Almighty answered our prayers.
And I want to say that in Benin we don’t believe in small gods here, for the benefit of other religions, we don’t believe in small gods, we believe in one Almighty God. I thank my God, I thank my ancestors for hearing my prayers and bringing out as governor for our state, somebody who will listen to the traditional rulers, to the elders of the land. He (Godwin) has come out on his own to say it.
“But I want to plead with Oshiomhole, please don’t leave him, don’t abandon him when you finish your tenure in office, he still needs your guidance, he still needs your advice. This is because Oshiomhole is an astute politician, he knows how it is played. I want to assure your Excellency that you have produced your successor in the name of God and our ancestors and our ancestors will keep blessing your efforts.
To the governor elect, he said “I will appeal to you to keep your promises, keep to your word, respect the traditional institution, keep food on the table of our people and build on what Oshiomhole has kept on ground. I will advise Obaseki to use this opportunity to reverse some of the images, some not too pleasant images that some people have about your family.
Do your best as an individual, do your best as governor of Edo state that people have chosen, do your best as Godwin Obaseki. One of the things I respect Oshiomhole for is his respect for tradition. I always marveled at the kind of passion he had for my father, the kind of respect he had for my father.
When Governor Rochas Okorocha came here, he said the governor here has made all of them in Abuja to know the value of the Benin tradition and a whole lot of things they did not know about the kingdom.
“Even before Oshiomhole became governor I chested out for him, he was not around when I vowed for him that he would respect the tradition. He has done his best for the state and I asked the Chiefs to pray for the governor and the governor elect and their wives”.
The occasion came to a climax as prayers were said for Governor Oshiomhole and his wife, just as the Crown Prince also prayed for Obaseki.