Saturday, 15 November 2008

Oshiohmole: Benin Palace Jittery

chidi opara reports have been reliably informed that the emergence of Mr. Adams Oshiohmole, the candidate of Action Congress Party(AC) in the 2007 governorship election as the governor of Edo State is sending jitters to the centuries old Benin(Bini) Palace.

Following the declaration of Professor O. Osunbor, the governorship candidate of the Peoples' Democratic Party(PDP) in that election as the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), Mr. Oshiohmole, a former President of Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) had gone to the Edo State governorship election petition tribunal to challenge the declaration and to pray the tribunal to restore the mandate which he believed was his. The tribunal ruled in his favour, whereupon, the PDP candidate challenged the ruling of the tribunal at the Court of Appeal, which is the final arbiter in such matters. The Court of Appeal upheld the ruling of the lower court. The AC candidate was consequently sworn in as governor.

The fear of the Benin Palace is not as a result of any policy pronouncements of the governor so far, it is rather based on the premise that having been indirectly installed in office by the very influential Igbinedion business and political dynasty, which is known to have been in supremacy contests with the Benin Palace over the years, the governor is likely to institute administrative policies that will seriously whittle down the huge influence of the Benin monarchy.

chidi opara reports gathered authoritatively that the new governor is actually the personal choice of Mr. Lucky Igbinedion, the immediate past governor of the State and the eldest scion of the Igbinedion dynasty. We gathered also that the financial war chest and other logistics with which the AC candidate prosecuted his campaign and the court cases were solely provided by the Igbinedion clan. "Where do you think Oshiohmole got all the money and evidences with which he won the cases?, they are from us ofcourse", a contact known in Benin to be a very close political ally of the Igbinedions boasted to a chidi opara reports network member on friday(14/11/2008).

The Patriarch of Igbinedion dynasty, Mr. Gabriel Igbinedion, who is also known as the "Esama" of the Kingdom is known to always covet the throne. He has reportedly impersonated the Benin monarch on a number of occasions. This and other actions of the clan aimed at whittling down the influence of the Benin Oba have been causes of acrimony between the Igbinedion dynasty and the Palace.

Observers are of the belief that Mr. Oshiohmole being the political godson of the Igbinedions will soon move against the Benin monarch. A contact very close to the Palace informed chidi opara reports that "we are trying to establish contact with the governor, if we fail, we will know what to do next".

Further checks by chidi opara reports in Benin revealed that the Igbinedions control a substantial number of members of the Edo State house of Assembly irrespective of political party affiliations and will not, according to contacts, hesistate to use them against the governor if he refuses to grant any major request from the dynasty.

"The only option now, it seems, is for well meaning prominent indigenes of the state to reconcile the Oba and the Esama", a businessman of Edo State origin volunteered to chidi opara reports in Lagos.