There was mild drama yesterday morning when some senior Palace Chiefs led by Chief Eduwu Ekhator moved to repossessed what he described as the “power of the monarchy” inform of deities in the custody of the ostracized Isiekhure of Benin.
The Chief who came in escort of detachment of Policemen stayed outside for several hours waiting to gain access into the resident of the deposed chief Priest.
Isiekhure, who later came out and on sighting some security personel and large crowd of on lookers who had gathered engaged them in a heated argument with the chiefs who resisted attempt to allow access into the shine.
A development which forced some Ihongbe youths to commence the immediate demolition of parts of the building housing the said deities.
According to Chief Ekhator, it is unheard of that an individual would threaten a court action and even give an ultimatum to the Oba of Benin knowing the traditional consequences.
He said the sealing of the palace is “part of the process of ostracizing him” noting safety of some vital and important artifacts in the palace which are now in the wrong hands is a source of worry to the Oba.
He said some of the traditional items have been tempered with and the palace has moved to secure those items and occupy the palace so that the items will be safe.
Chief Ekhator further said “Nobody ever raise arm on the Oba” adding that “The Oba owns the Isiekhure. The important part of what he fails to understand is that he has to be humble”.
Leadership recalls that The Oba of Benin had last week suspended the Isiekhure, for negligence of duties and usurping the powers of the traditional stool.
The Benin Traditional Council, led by the Iyase of Benin, Chief Sam Igbe, who briefed newsmen had alleged that the Isikhure, designated his house as a palace where he held court which he sometimes reviewed cases already felt within the Oba’s palace.
Chief Igbe further alleged that “He, (Isikhure) used his position to influence new chiefs celebrating their investure to perform certain rights in his residence, during which monies, kolanuts and drinks were collected.
“Senior Chiefs were at times openly badmouthed and vilified by him, and during those times he declared that the chiefs were not senior to him and that he would not pay respect to them again as palace cultures demand.
“He turned himself to be a all and end all and a seeming authority in the Benin culture and tradition especially palace procedures. He even pronounced himself the head of the Royal Family.
“The profanities and denigrations that issued from him and his followers during the mourning period are better just forgotten.
“During Emwinekhua, (Royal Burial), he neglected and deliberately refused to perform his traditional duties before, during and after the event and has since remained infinitely unrepentant.
“We recommend in the circumstances therefore that he should be suspended; and with the authority of Oba Ewuare II he is with effect from today (yesterday) suspended indefinitely from performing the duties of Isiekhure title which he now bears. Those duties were originally performed by the Ihama of Benin. They will now revert to the Ihama N’Ihogbe”. He declared.
In reply the Ihogbe N’Ore, in a rejoinder signed by Mr Osagbakhoe Ogbomuda had wonder why the palace will engage in such a cheap blackmail describing it as a “case of giving a dog bad name so that one can have a reason to hang such dog”.
He said, “We are through this medium given 14 days notice to the Benin Traditional Council to produce proof of the cases earlier tried in the palace and the people involved but later reviewed by the Isiekhure and also proof how much collected from such cases.
“If at the expiration of 14 days the proof is not forthcoming, we shall have no option than to allow chief Isiekhure to take appropriate legal action to redeem his image that has been badly damaged”.