The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewaure II, said yesterday that he would be sacrificing his voting right in the September 19 governorship election in Edo state for peace and not to be seen as supporting any particular candidate
The Oba who made the disclosure at a peace meeting he organized at his palace in Benin for the two major political actors in the election, Governor Godwin Obaseki of the PDP and Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu of the APC also warned the candidates against setting the state on fire over their ambitions.
Also at the meeting were two former governors of the state, John Odigie – Oyehun and Adams Oshiomhole, who were also former national chairmen of the ruling APC
Oba Ewuare, who also warned his Chiefs to avoid making political statements, expressed the palace’s concerns about the spate of violence across the state over the election.
The Benin monarch urged the politicians to know that they have only Edo State to call their own and thus must do everything to protect it from disintegration.
He regretted that the state has not only been in the news for the wrong reasons, but that the governorship election has pitched the people against themselves.
“Both of you are arming thugs and I worry about what will happen with these weapons after the poll.
“I want to appeal to the politicians to control the youths, I want the politicians to assure us that there will be peace, you do not kill yourselves over an office.
“I have had sleepless nights over this. My mind is burning up over this violence and shooting all over the state, let the shooting stop and let there be peace and quiet in the state.
“Let us have a working agreement that President Muhammadu Buhari had with Goodluck Jonathan; It is not a do or die affair.
“I have already sacrificed my franchise over this because if I do cast my vote in favour of a particular candidate, I would have already taken side,” the Oba said.
The royal father, who expressed disappointment at the strained relationship between Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki, noted that both had cordial relationship that once existed between them, even as he narrated how Oshiomhole tried to seek his endorsement of the candidacy of Obaseki while trying to market him in 2016, but he refused to do so.
Governor Obaseki commended the Oba for his fatherly role and said “I have sworn on oath to protect the people and it will be irresponsible of me to do otherwise, especially that which can lead to destruction of lives and properties.”
On his part, Ize-Iyamu said he would ensure that his supporters conduct themselves in a peaceful manner throughout the remaining campaign and during the election.
Also speaking, the two ex-governor s, John Odigie – Oyegun and Adams Oshiomhole, promised to work for peace