Presidential Elections: Oba of Benin Backs Jonathan

Oba of Benin, Omon’oba Erediauwa, has told President Goodluck Jonathan that his victory in the forthcoming election slated for March 28 is already guaranteed.

The Oba, gave this assurance on Thursday in Abuja when his son, Prince Ada Erediauwa and a palace chief in the Benin Kingdom, led a delegation of princes and chiefs on a visit to a former Minister of Information and elder statesman, Edwin Clark.

Prince Erediauwa recalled that his father had met with President Jonathan thrice adding that while the first meeting was a private affair between the two leaders, the second meeting was a public function when the president went to Edo to commission the refurbished Benin-Lagos expressway.

He revealed that the third meeting which was sometime in September 2014, was the most significant because the Oba presented a “red ododo” to the president.

The prince explained that the Oba deliberately gave the president the material to pass a message. He said it was the highest Benin traditional attire and the Oba wore it when he had to go to court.

“He wore it and trekked to the court to show he meant business,” Prince Erediauwa said. “In Benin Kingdom, the ododo represents success and it is a sign of victory. Whoever wears it to the battle field must return home.”

The endorsement of the Oba comes on the heels of certain reports making the rounds that the Benin palace is divided over the re-election bid of President Jonathan.

Prince Erediauwa said the Oba had made it clear by his actions and words that he supported the president.

He, however, stated a “need for the Benin Kingdom to hold a private meeting with the president after the general elections to address all areas of concern.”

In his remarks, Chief Edwin Clark said the president considered Benin home. He also pledged to ensure that a meeting between the royal house and the presidency was held as soon as the elections were over.

Clark also said the little misunderstanding between the president and the Benin Kingdom may have to do with the appointment of the former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, ostensibly to replace her husband Christopher Ogiemwonyi, who was from Edo State.

He explained that Ms. Oduah was appointed on her own merit having served as the treasurer in the president’s campaign prior to 2011.

He said she was appointed to represent Anambra State while an Edo man was also appointed on the constitutional slot of the state and was even posted to the same ministry Mr. Ogienwonyi served in.

“There was nothing the president did to spite Edo State,” Clark said. “What happened was a normal thing in government.”

Mr. Clark also said to avoid a repeat of such an incident, the Benin royal house would be consulted “on the appointment of a minister from the state”.

He also assured that after the election, which he said the president would win, “Bini will be accorded a pride of place in the government of President Goodluck Jonathan”.

On the endorsement of President Jonathan, the elder statesman said he believed “the prince has spoken the mind of the Oba”.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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