Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare 11, yesterday, warned politicians against setting the state on fire over the forthcoming governorship election. The monarch, who gave the warning, while speaking during a peace meeting he initiated for critical stakeholders in the gubernatorial contest, expressed worry over the spate of violence across the state ahead of the September 19 poll.
“The warning is especially for the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),” the monarch said, adding: “I have had sleepless nights over this. My mind is burning up over this violence and shootings all over the state, let the shooting stop and let there be peace and quiet in the state. Don’t kill yourselves over an office, don’t kill yourselves over votes.”
The meeting, which held at the Benin Palace, was attended by the governorship candidates of the PDP and APC, Governor Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, respectively as well as two former governors of the state, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, among others. Describing the peace deal as historic and significant to the unity, corporate and peaceful co-existence as well as the rich traditional institution of Edo people, Oba Ewuare advised the contenders to note that they had only Edo to call their own state and must do everything to protect it from disintegration.
His words: “Edo politics have been in the news for quite sometimes now for all the wrong reasons, we have sleepless nights for quite sometimes now because these are all our people, these are people of the same stock, from the same body; there is nobody who is a stranger to each other. “I have been worried right from the time the conflict started between Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the former governor and the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki. “I want you to take your mind back to 2015.
Before the final election results were announced, President Goodluck Jonathan picked up his telephone and called President Buhari. All the predictions and forecasts by the international community that Nigeria will break up were quenched just by that singular act.” To the Edo governorship contenders, Oba Ewuare charged: “Enough is enough! You must surprise everyone, so that when the election comes it will be peaceful.
You are all from the same state and you want Edo State to be a laughing stock? “I want peace to reign; the political actors have been together. Today you are together, tomorrow you are no longer together; you are confusing everybody, the media and the people. Is it because of the office?” He advised the candidates, their leaders and members to embark on issue-based campaigns and not indulge in violence. He further said: “I didn’t expect either side to be castigating each other. Enough is enough! This is not do-ordie. I am very, very sad about what has been happening in Edo.
I think this is the worst scenario. So, do your best to calm down the temperature.
“Both of you are arming thugs and I worry about what will happen with these weapons after the poll. We are doing our bit internally; traditional prayers are being offered so that there will be peace during the election. I want to appeal to politicians to control the youth.
I want the politicians to assure us that there will be peace.
You do not kill yourselves over an office. “We are begging you politicians, particularly the two political gladiators. You must all do your bit to calm down the tension in the state,” he said. The monarch maintained that the traditional institution remains nonpartisan, and warned the palace chiefs against making any political statement.
In their separate responses, Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu gave their assurances to the monarch and promised to ensure that their supporters will conduct themselves peacefully. Oshiomhole, who also spoke, said as a product of peaceful elections, he will not deviate from what will guarantee a peaceful election.
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