Jonathan, Buhari divide Benin palace chiefs

Jonathan, Buhari divide Benin palace chiefs

Thursday, February 26, 2015 8:42 pm

Jethro Ibileke/Benin

The raging controversy trailing the pronouncement by Chief David Edebiri, the Esogban of Benin Kingdom, that the Benins would not vote for President Goodluck Jonathan in the 28 March Presidential election took a new twist on Thursday, as another high ranking Benin Chief and Chief Priest of the Kingdom, Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, endorsed President Jonathan for a second term in office, saying that Jonathan’s election cuts across party lines.

Edebiri who is the Chairman of Benin Forum, had said that the people will not vote President Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, because he had not done enough for the Benins after he was massively voted for by the people in 2011.

Buhari and Jonathan: two contenders for presidency

Buhari and Jonathan: two contenders for presidency

He also said that the Jonathan deprived the Benins of their ministerial slot when he removed former Minister of State for Works, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi and replaced him with his enstranged wife, Stella Oduah, who hails form Anambra state.

But Chief Isekhure while making the endorsement of President Jonathan during a visit by a delegation of Edo State PDP candidates, led by the Jonathan Campaign Director in the state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, said the Oba of Benin gave necessary impetus for Jonathan to run in 2011.

“In fact, he (the Oba) was the one who gave necessary impetus for Jonathan to run. We cannot now turn around and say a new thing. As far as I am concerned, the only candidate I know despite my political affiliation, is Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. I will vote for him. If heaven is going to fall, let it fall,” he said.

Isekhure who promised to mobilise all southerners to vote for Jonathan, said the President has performed creditably well because no Nigerian leader has faced the kind of challenges he was facing.

“I have not seen a person who has dedicated himself to Nigeria like Jonathan. Am very confidence that he has good agenda. Therefore, I will vote for jonathan more than 110 times. Even though am of APC, I will not only vote for him, I will mobilise all the traditional institutions in Benin and elsewhere in the South and I believe he will win.

“Jonathan has an agenda. He is at the middle of the bridge. You cannot foreclose him from getting to the other side. It is only when he has crossed that you can evaluate him,” he declared, just as he disclosed that the President has been his personal friend for a long time who graciously appointed him as a member of the national conference without lobbying for it like others.

On the call by Chief David Edebiri, the Esogban of Benin, the Benins not to vote Jonathan because he has done nothing for the people of the area, Chief Isekhure said those saying that were just wasting their time because “there is no such platform that can tell the people who they should vote for.”

Earlier, leader of the delegation and Coordinator, President Jonathan campaign for Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, told Chief Isekhure that the essence of their visit to his palace was to bring good will message from the president to him.

He said the Presidential message was basically to thank Chief Isekhure for the excellent job he did for him four years ago when he mobilised for his election.

“We came this morning on behalf of President Jonathan and presidential candidate of PDP in the forthcoming presidential election. As his coordinator for Edo State, I am here with a powerful delegation including the senatorial candidate for Edo south, Matthew Urhoghide and others.

“The president has mandated us to come and visit you to thank you for the excellent job you did for him four years ago when you campaigned for him, your excellent performance at the national conference and to assure you that all those contributions will be implemented when re-elected.

“He also said we should appeal to you to please talk to our people in the south and beyond, assuring that in his second term, things will be better as the power sector is being vigorously pursued, the speedy completion of the NPDC headquarters in Benin and the approval of another Federal Government Girls College at Ehor, Uhunmwode local government area of Edo State,” Ize-Iyamu said.

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