By Rasheed Sobowale
The traditional ruler of Edo and Edoid people, Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II has expressed his discontent with godfatherism and presentation of a consensus candidate by a faction of party chieftains to govern the people of Edo State.
Describing the present state of political power play in Edo State as “Ghana Must Go politics”, the Oba said in a statement on Thursday; “Politicians should stop cashing in on the poor masses and exploiting them for their votes,”
Edo State has become the limelight of political tussle ahead of the governorship elections scheduled to be held on 19th of September. The feud between the sitting governor, Governor Godwin Obaseki and the former governor and National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, APC, has been a focus of discussion in political circles and across the media.
Speaking further on the heated contest for power between the two, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo said the two “political vices” are antithetical to the fundamental basis of democracy.
The 40th Oba of the Benin Empire also denied rumour that he influenced some aspirants to step down for a particular candidate.
“The palace totally denounces this evil speculation and condemns those that originated it,” he said.
“Rumour mongers are reminded that there is an ancestral curse on anyone who attempts to tarnish the image of the Oba of Benin and the ancient throne of Benin Kingdom, which will normally be for their selfish ends.”
“His Royal Majesty, Omo N‘Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpoiokpolo, the Oba of Benin has said times without number that the Palace of the Oba of Benin does not get involved in partisan politics.
“The three prayer points of the Oba of Benin in the democratic process have always been as follows; that God and our ancestors should give us a governor that will accord respect to traditional institutions, develop this state and provide food on the table for the masses.
“The Omo N’Oba strongly advises that in order to eschew recurrent socio political conflict that seems to constantly ravish the state, making Edo people a laughing stock to the rest of the country in how politicians manage the affairs of Edo people, our Edo political actors must eradicate the twin evil political vices of Godfatherism and CONSENSUS CANDIDATE.
“These two practices seem antithetical to the very fundamental basis of democracy. In other words this business of coercing aspirants to step down for another candidate for whatsoever reason is undemocratic. It will not augur well for the development of democratic process in Nigeria.
“As the various political parties go about the process of selecting their candidates through their respective party primaries, we urge all to exercise the highest standards of maturity and sportsmanship, as the desire to bring about the best for the people of Edo State cannot be compromised nor sacrificed on the altar of intolerance, rumour mongering and fake news.”
Vanguard had reported that Obaseki was disqualified from contesting in the APC governorship primary elections as well as two others; Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi and Hon. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen.
Following rumour that the governor was considering defecting to another party, major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed its willingness to welcome him.
PDP on Thursday announced the postponement of its primary election. A move purported to be a delay to afford Obaseki more time to cross over.