Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, has kicked against godfatherism and presentation of a consensus candidate by a faction of party chieftains to govern Edo State.
The traditional ruler, who described the current power play in the state as “Ghana Must Go politics”, said in a statement on Thursday, “Politicians should stop cashing in on the poor masses and exploiting them for their votes.”
Lately, Edo State has been in political turmoil over preparations for the September 19 governorship election in the state.
Incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor and National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, have been at each other’s throats over the control of the APC machinery in the state.
Apparently making reference to the political tussle between Obaseki and Oshiomhole, the monarch said the godfatherism and Ghana-must-go politics were antithetical to the fundamental basis of democracy.
The Benin Oba also denied rumour that he influenced some aspirants to step down for a particular candidate, saying, “The palace totally denounces this evil speculation and condemns those that originated it.
“Rumour mongers are reminded that there is an ancestral curse on anyone who attempts to tarnish the image of the Oba of Benin and the ancient throne of Benin Kingdom, which will normally be for their selfish ends.
“His Royal Majesty, Omo N‘Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpoiokpolo, the Oba of Benin has said times without number that the Palace of the Oba of Benin does not get involved in partisan politics. ALSO
“The three prayer points of the Oba of Benin in the democratic process have always been as follows; that God and our ancestors should give us a governor that will accord respect to traditional institutions, develop this state and provide food on the table for the masses.
“The Omo N’Oba strongly advises that in order to eschew recurrent socio political conflict that seems to constantly ravish the state, making Edo people a laughing stock to the rest of the country in how politicians manage the affairs of Edo people, our Edo political actors must eradicate the twin evil political vices of Godfatherism and CONSENSUS CANDIDATE.
“These two practices seem antithetical to the very fundamental basis of democracy. In other words this business of coercing aspirants to step down for another candidate for whatsoever reason is undemocratic. It will not augur well for the development of democratic process in Nigeria.
“As the various political parties go about the process of selecting their candidates through their respective party primaries, we urge all to exercise the highest standards of maturity and sportsmanship, as the desire to bring about the best for the people of Edo State cannot be compromised nor sacrificed on the altar of intolerance, rumour mongering and fake news.”
Governor Obaseki was disqualified from contesting in the APC governorship primary elections.