The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, on Wednesday called on the Edo state deputy governor, Hon. Philip Shaibu to call his “boys (thugs)” to order, ahead of the September 19 Edo Governorship election.
Igbere TV reports that the monarch spoke at a peace meeting between Governor Godwin Obaseki of the PDP and Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the APC at his palace in Benin City – where both candidates signed a peace pact.
At the meeting, monitored by Igbere TV, the revered Oba who expressed concern over spate of violence in the state, issued a direct warning to Shaibu to rein in on his “boys” and halt further escalation.
Igbere TV had reported how Oba Ewuare II summoned the two major candidates, Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu, alongside their running mates to express his concern on the incessant outbreak of violence in the state ahead of the guber poll.
He said he has been having sleepless nights on the violent conduct and has held continuous prayers for peace. He urged the politicians to sue for peace and relay the message to their followers across the State.
However, during the course of the meeting, Hon. Philip Shaibu, Governor Obaseki’s running mate, earned specific mentions, over alleged direct involvement in violent clashes in the state.
“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 said.
“Philp, they say you are the tough one inside, you must behave. Please. Tell your boys…to cease fire that your baba has told you that they should cease fire. Enough is enough! I don’t want to hear shooting of guns anymore, enough is enough! Don’t go and kill yourselves because of office.
“Must it be a do-or-die affair? 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.”
While noting that elections were not a do-or-die affair, Oba Ewuare II said politicians in Edo must note that they have only Edo State to call their own and, thus, must do everything to protect it from disintegration.
“It is for four years and at most another four years. Why will you [politicians] now want lives to be lost? Why do we hear that you people are arming boys (thugs)? Why?,” the Oba of Benin queried.
The monarch also advised Governor Obaseki “to look beyond his office” because he will not be there all the time. He said political office is transient and urged him to look at the bigger picture so that he can continue to earn the respect of all when he is no longer the governor.
On whoever emerges at the polls, Oba Ewuare urged Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu to emulate the action of former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 when he lost to President Muhammadu Buhari.
As a symbolic gesture, in his address at the Palace, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu embraced Governor Godwin Obaseki and assured the Benin monarch of his commitment to peace, describing the governor as his “senior brother.”