Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba Erediauwa, has dismissed reports that suggested that he shunned President Goodluck Jonathan and leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party during their visit to the palace on Saturday.
Vice-President Namadi Sambo, governors Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta); Idris Wada (Kogi); Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa); and the PDP Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, were among top party officials who accompanied Jonathan on the visit to the palace before proceeding to the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, for a rally ahead of the July 14 Edo State governorship election.
But the President was reportedly told after waiting for minutes that he could not meet with the monarch for “circumstances beyond his control”.
The Oba, in a statement by the Secretary of the Benin Traditional Council, Frank Irabor, on Monday said the Oba later met with Jonathan in a private chamber in the palace, despite a “complicated situation on that day”.
The statement read, “The Palace would like to make it clear that the Omo N‘Oba did not shun Mr. President and the Peoples Democratic Party members that came with him.
“Three weeks ago, the Omo N‘Oba waited for over two hours in his open office where he received Vice-President Namadi Sambo and the PDP chiefs that were in Benin for their political rally.”
Meanwhile, the Oba has pleaded with politicians to shun violence during the election, saying seeking government offices should not be regarded as a do-or-die affair.
Meanwhile, two groups, the Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change and the African Renaissance Party, have warned youths and politicians in the state against violence during the poll.
In a statement by its President, Nelly Emma, and Secretary, John Sailor, NDIMRC urged candidates for the election to caution their followers against engaging in violent acts.
The group said, “We appeal to those in the Edo State governorship race to play the game by the rule.Politicians must not see the governorship election in the state as a do-or-die affair or turn the state into a battlefield as we will not accept this.”
Also, the acting National Chairman of the ARP, Chief Jackson Omenazu, warned that electoral malpractice could set the state backward.
Omenazu said though the state had experienced some level of transformation under Governor Adams Oshiomhole, the electorate should be allowed to decide who would govern them in the next four years.
Omenazu, who spoke in Port Harcourt on Monday, also cautioned stakeholders not to manipulate the poll.
He said, “Youths in Edo State should not allow themselves to be used by desperate politicians. They must reject any form of gratification from them (politicians). We don’t want the election to be rigged so that the future of the youths will be protected.
“We also call on the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a credible election for the people of the state. The commission should know that the forthcoming election in Edo State is another integrity test, which they must pass.”