BusinessDay

Edo 2020: Command your boys to cease fire, Benin monarch urges candidates

Worried by the political violence ahead of the September 19 Edo State governorship election, the Benin monarch, Oba Ewuare II, on Wednesday called on political actors to prevail on their foot-soldiers and supporters to stop heating up the polity in the state.

The Benin monarch made the call during a peace meeting with the chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and their governorship candidates in his palace.

“Please let the shooting stop. There is a way you can communicate through your foot-soldiers and they will listen to you,” he said.

The monarch who threatened to discipline whoever disobeyed the order noted that violence cannot be a substitute for peace.

He urged the politicians to use the September 19 governorship election to place the state in the good books to be emulated by other states.

He enjoined the political actors to take a cue from former President Goodluck Jonathan, who conceded defeat, picked his telephone to congratulate the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Oba said the cooperation from the candidates will go a long way to douse the political tension and avert any planned violence prior and during the election.

Oba Ewuare II, who urged the political actors to shelve plans of violence, asked them to commit themselves to a peaceful poll through a statement of assurance in order to restore sanity to the state and shame naysayers that want the election to turn out bloody.

“The purpose of this meeting is to strongly appeal to politicians to control the youths and thugs that are against one another. I am not concerned about the sides they are but they are all one family.

“Family can quarrel but there must be resolution and that is what I want us to achieve today. I look at you all as family, as part of the palace family and I cannot have all of you fighting against one another. I have been harbouring a whole lot of unhappiness as the state has been in the news for sometime for the wrong reasons.

“I want to ask the political actors in Edo State, why are you all doing this? The office is four years, why do you want lives to be lost? Why are you arming thugs? At the end of the day the thugs keep those guns with them. We must show to developed countries that Edo State can surprise them. Please let the shooting stop. Let there be peace in Edo State,” he said.

The Oba of Benin reiterated that the election is not a do-or-die affair, saying the election cannot supersede God’s plan for a better life for everyone.

On the endorsement and chieftaincy titles conferred on the candidates by Enigies of different kingdoms in the state, he said they are speaking for themselves and not for the throne.

Responding, Edo State governor and PDP candidate, Godwin Obaseki, assured that he would uphold the oath he swore to maintain peace, protect lives and safeguard property of Edo people.

On his part, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the APC governorship candidate, pledged to take the message back to his supporters to conduct themselves peacefully throughout the campaign and election.

“The election is a family one and not a do-or-die affair. Obaseki is my elder brother,” he stated.

The key stakeholders in attendance include the running mates of the main contenders, Philip Shaibu and Gani Audu, former national chairmen of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun and Adams Oshiomhole.

Others are Edo State chairman of the PDP, Tony Aziegbemi, chairman of Edo PDP Campaign Council, Dan Orbih, and Edo State factional chairman of APC, David Imuse.

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