Some chiefs in the palace of the Oba of Benin have disagreed over the endorsement of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, for the September 28 governorship election.
A group of the chiefs belonging to the Egha Evbo’ Nore (town chiefs) had last week adopted the PDP candidate at the residence of the Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion.
The Eson of Benin Kingdom, Chief Amos Osunbor, who prayed for Ize-Iyamu on behalf of others, had recalled the contributions of the governorship candidate’s father, the late Chief R. O.Ize-Iyamu, as a former Esogban of Benin.
Other chiefs present were the Odeobawu of Benin, Chief Douglas Usoh; the Uwayoba of Benin, Chief Solomon Ogbewe; and the Osagiobariase, Chief Jackson Amure.
But another group of palace chiefs, led by the Obazelu of Benin, Chief Osaro Idah, condemned the action, which he described as laughable and warned those involved not to drag the palace into partisan politics.
The Obazelu, who is also the state Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, explained that if the palace must speak on any issue, it would do so through the Iyase of Benin or the Esogban of Benin, alleging that the said endorsement came from card-carrying members of the PDP.
He, therefore, noted that the said chiefs spoke for themselves, rather than the entire chiefs in the palace of the Oba of Benin Kingdom.
Idah also disclosed that the palace was in search of one Arase, whom he said peddled false information in several villages that the palace had requested residents to vote for the PDP.
He, however, noted that the impostor had been suspended from the palace, not as a chief but as a palace attendant.
Idah explained, “Arase has since been suspended from participating in palace activities; he wore palace dress and some beads in order to be seen as a chief. He started going from village to village to meet the elders to vote for the PDP.
“We have been looking for him to face the full wrath of the law because he is not a chief. I am the Obazelu of Benin Kingdom. I am qualified to know who is the Igiehon of Benin. I deal more with Igiehons.”
While reiterating the neutrality of the palace, Obazelu said that the palace would not hesitate to hand over impostors to the police.
He added, “Once they are caught, the palace will mete out necessary sanctions. They are not chiefs. They have been hiding since we heard about their activities. Once we catch them, we will hand them over to the police.
“The palace will never call for support for any candidate. We always pray for the best to emerge. We are going to report to appropriate sections of the palace to look into such defaults.”