Attempts by the Edo State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs chaired by His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin, to resolve the political impasse between Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), hit the rocks on Wednesday, January 8, with Oshiomhole’s boycott of the Auchi Day celebration.
The event was promoted as grounds to broker a peace accord between the two influential sons of the state, with the traditional rulers acting as umpires.
The celebration, in its 23rd edition, was themed ‘Our salvation is in the hands of Allah’ and held at the palace of the Otaru of Auchi Kingdom, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State.
Weeks before the event in Auchi, which hosted illustrious sons and daughters of the state, eminent traditional rulers, representative of the Oba of Benin, political watchers had predicted that the crisis would be resolved during the celebration as the traditional rulers would deploy their influence and wisdom in getting Governor Obaseki and Comrade Oshiomhole to settle their differences in the interest of the development of the state.
In the run-up to the celebration, the Oba of Benin, had announced a fast on January 6, declared by the council to seek the face of God in the lingering crisis and pray for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
However, the absence of Comrade Oshiomhole at the venue, which is few meters away from Iyamho, the APC helmsman’s hometown, punctured the spirited efforts of the traditional rulers to resolve the impasse between the two former allies.
Speaking at the event, Governor Obaseki said he will continue to pursue peace as there cannot be meaningful development without peace in the state, stressing, "I am impressed with the celebration, and would ensure its continuity in Auchi.”
He assured Edo people that his administration will never play politics of favoritism, but rather focus on developing all parts of the state equally.
The governor said the objective of his administration is to pursue policies and programmes that would guarantee a better life for the greatest number of people in the state, noting, "With the limited resources available to us, we have been able to renovate some primary schools and constructed road projects in the locality to improve the lives of the people. We aspire to do more for the people.
"We have commissioned the Auchi Fertilizer and Chemical Company, which currently produce 60,000 metrics tones of fertilizer of fertilizer, creating over 500 direct and indirect jobs. I am pleased to inform you that we will commence construction of Igbe, ICE and Mission Roads, which lead to Auchi, among other projects.”
The governor said his administration has started pilot programme on education, healthcare, job creation and entrepreneurial initiatives in Benin, promising to expand the programmes to Auchi.
"Our priority as an administration is on the youths. We want to give them hope and opportunities for work. As a government, we are following the policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration as we have commenced investment in agriculture; we would expand it significantly this year.
"We are investing in poultry and livestock. The first 256,000 birds which the state took possession of six weeks ago and distributed to almost 1000 farmers have done well. We are expecting that this year, Edo will be a hub in poultry production."
The Otaru of Auchi Kingdom, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Aliru Momoh Ikelebe III, commended the governor and his entourage for gracing the 23rd edition of the Auchi Annual Day celebration.
He called on leaders to reserve time to thank God for what they have achieved.
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