“…Did Oshiomhole Demolish the godfather at Uromi in order to take his place?”
One of the prominent members of the Benin Royal Family, Enogie Obazuwa, Prince Edun Akenzua has called on “true Benins” to realize that the present political battle is not between Oshiomhole and Obaseki but between Oshiomhole and corporate Benin.
He also charged the Benins to take their destinies into their hands, while lamenting the fate that has befallen them, where “outsiders” decides those among them to be appointed or elected for political offices.
The prince, who is the immediate younger brother to Oba Erediauwa, compared the political situation in Edo South to that, which, the Yorubas found themselves about 30 years ago. According to him, but unlike the Benins, “…they were not in hot war with each other” even though their predicament was as precarious.
The traditional ruler of the oil rich communities in Ovia North East Local Government Area lamented that, powerful non-Benin politicians “presently traumatize their Benin counterparts psychologically.”
He made reference to the past, when “…despite the population superiority, Benins were subjugated by people in the minority and external forces decided the Benin person who will fill positions zoned to Edo South.
“For example, Edo South being oil producing was to present the candidate who was to be appointed Commissioner in NDDC. On two succeeding occasions, the person so appointed was hand-picked by politicians outside Edo South. Benin politicians have not performed well.
“Rather than give thought to this inequity and seek a constitutional way to correct it, Benin politicians dance around godfathers, playing second fiddle.
Party leaders, who ought to worry about the constitutional imbalance and the injustice done to the Benins, go grieving over what they call inaccessibility of the Governor and their failure to get contracts.”
These statements and others are contained in a recent report authored by the no nonsense Duke who is the Convener of Benin Leaders of Thought (BLT). He explained that:
“BLT was formed at the time of this palpable injustice… One of its objectives was to neutralize godfatherism in Edo South. It launched a campaign to enhance the sensitivity of Benins to the fact that no other person but themselves should say who of them should fill the position zoned out to Edo South.
“BLT wants Benins to always aim for top positions in politics and business, and to realize that they can only attain that through the achievement of excellence.”
He added that it t was at the middle of their struggle that, “Comrade Adams Oshiomhole surfaced on March 9, 2006. He was accompanied to the residence of this writer by his friend, Senator Albert Legogie.
“Meanwhile, Oshiomhole threw his weight behind BLT’s battle against godfatherism. His life-style was simple. He would stop at a road-side corn-seller’s stall and buy roasted corn. He would cast aside protocol and wear French Suits all about.
“Sometimes he would shun his security details and live them behind. Some people saw this as a gimmick, but it endeared him to many people who hail “Oshio Baba,” anytime they saw him inspecting contractors at work.”
Enogie-Obazuwa also revealed details of failed promises made to Oba Erediauwa and BLT earlier in his first term. “He said he would build three Model Schools, in the State, one in each Senatorial District. He graciously agreed to locate the one in Edo South in Obazuwa.” But this was not to be, as he took the advantage of the militant invasion of Obazuwa to renege on his promise.
“Many Benins do not still realize that non-Benin adversaries of the Benin, use the Benins to score even for him. They used Benins when they fought Odubu, when they fought Ativie, Benins had the loudest voice against her and when they fought Ize-Iyamu and Igbinedion, Benins were their strongest and swiftest foot-soldiers.
“Now it is Obaseki’s turn. The most vociferous of the preachers against him are Benins. Emergency Ad-hoc groups spring up daily in Benin setting up trump charges against him. Many of the charges are frivolous. Some accuse him of discontinuing the ‘laudable’ projects started by his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
“They ask: ‘What happened to the Benin Storm Water Project and the completed and furnished Central Hospital commissioned by President Muhammad Buhari…?’
“These are some charges they levy against Obaseki. It is like giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it. Who does not know that work on the Storm Water project stopped two years before Obaseki became governor?
“Who does not know that the Central Hospital was locked up by Oshiomhole a few days after it was commissioned by President Buhari?
“Who does not know that some of the equipment in the hospital during the commissioning were borrowed from Stella Obasanjo Hospital for the commissioning?
“Who does not know that the equipment were returned to Stella Obasanjo Hospital after commissioning?”
Sadly, he explained: “Those orchestrated criticisms against Obaseki are loudly voiced by Benin people. One of such critics of Obaseki is Governor Oshiomhole’s former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr. Henry Idahagon. He signed a press statement on behalf of a so-called ‘Concerned APC Leaders’ across the 18 LGA’s of Edo State. As a key member of Oshiomhole’s administration, he is in a position to know that those questions are frivolous and unfounded.”
Forging ahead, he advised that: “This is the time to advise Benin people to put on the thinking cap, as Hubert Ogunde advised Yorubas when they had their crisis and learn from their neighbours. When Comrade Governor was governor, he had cause to sack two of his commissioners. Incidentally, the two men were from his ethnic group. They left quietly, without accusing the governor.”
The BLT leader went into details of discussions between Oba Erediauwa and Oshiomhole on the need to involve the wider Benins on their choice for a successor and how he tricked the revered monarch.
“The curtain dropped in 2015 on the dramatic scenarios that made Comrade Adams Oshiomhole popular. The honeymoon was over. It was the twilight of his Administration. In July that year, I had a meeting with my brother, the Oba of Benin, Omo n’Oba Erediauwa. He asked me if BLT had begun searching for a successor to the Governor. The Oba named one person he believed would be a suitable successor.” Oba Erediauwa eventually got the assurances of Oshiomhole. ‘That’s the only way I will show gratitude to our Papa (the Oba) for the support he gave me which led us to this stage. There’s no other way I can show my appreciation of the fatherly support.’ Oshiomhole was quoted.
“I believed him, he sounded earnest.” Enogie stated. Probably, Oba Erediauwa did as well.
However, Oshiomhole had his narrow plan and nominated Mr. Godwin Obaseki who he may have thought will act like some Benin politicians who allowed their selves to be used against the palace and Benin people.
“Thus, he unilaterally foisted a candidate on Edo people! It was bewildering. What happened to the promise he made to His Majesty, the Omo n’Oba and to the people of Benin? For how long had he nursed the idea of sponsoring a successor? Did he demolish the godfather at Uromi in order to take his place?”
To demonstrate Oshiomhole’s penchant for disloyalty and disrespect to the traditional institution, Prince Akenzua revisited the ordeal suffered by His Royal Highness Anselm Aidonojie, Onojie of Uromi.
“Ojuromi, the traditional ruler of Uromi was said to have, gone to a polling station during an election. He saw a lady giving out money to entice people to vote for APC. The Onojie was said to have ordered her to stop doing so. There was an altercation. The Onojie was said to have slapped her and got her pushed away from the polling station. She reported the assault to Oshiomhole who gave the Onojie a query and slammed a week suspension on him.
“The lady and her parents went to apologise to the Onojie for their daughter’s exchange of words with the monarch. Being indigenes of Uromi and his subjects, the Onojie forgave them. The atonement by the lady’s family and the pardon by the Onojie, were not good enough for the Governor. He converted the one-week suspension to out-right dethronement. He did not inform the State Council of Traditional Rulers, a body set up to advice government on traditional matters, of the Onojie’s action.
“Oshiomhole left office without doing anything about the dethronement. The people of Uromi appealed to His Majesty Oba Ewuare II to intervene. Following the Oba’s intervention, Governor Obaseki lifted the order and restored the Onojie to his throne.” Prince Edun stated.
He also pointed to the recent internal crisis in Edo State House of Assembly and the rare role played by Oba Ewuare II.
“When the ‘Proclamation Letter’ issue started, the Benin monarch and other traditional rulers in the State severally, intervened to resolve the matter between Oshiomhole and Obaseki. They did not succeed. The Oba then led the Traditional Rulers in the State to Abuja to appeal to President Buhari to reconcile Oshiomhole and Obaseki, both of whom are Edo sons and members of APC.
“Before the President reacted to the request, Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of APC, looked the other way while Ihonvbere and Akpatason, both also Edos and APC members of the House of Representatives, raised a motion in the House calling the House to take over Edo State House of Assembly. That show of disrespect to our Traditional Fathers was reminiscent of Oshiomhole’s dethronement of the Ojuromi without the courtesy of informing the State Council of Traditional Rulers.”