Benin Kingdom: Oba Ewuare suspends Isekhure

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BENIN—BENIN Traditional Council, BTC, has announced the suspension of the Isekhure of Benin Kingdom, Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, from performing the duties of the “Isekhure title which he now bears.”

All efforts to reach Chief Isekhure, for his comments, including a visit to his house, yielded no positive result. The holder of the Isekhure title created by Oba Ewedo in about 1280, is one of the priests that perform spiritual functions for the Oba.

BTC, at a briefing yesterday, addressed by the Iyase of Benin Kingdom, Chief Sam Igbe, said the suspension of Chief Isekhure took effect from yesterday (January 17, 2017) even as he explained that the functions of the holder of the Isekhure title now reverted to the Ihama of Benin Kingdom who originally performed the functions.

Present at the briefing were Chief D. U. Edebiri, the Esogban of Benin, Chief Edionwe Oliha. the Oliha of Benin, Chief Amos Osunbor, Eson of Benin, Chief Norense Ozigbo-Esere, Osuma of Benin and Chief E. Oviasogie, Eribo of Benin. Others include Chief E.U.Uzamere, Ineh of Benin, Chief Stanley Obamwonyi, Esere of Benin, Chief Osemwonta, Eguezigbon of Benin and Frank Irabor, Secretary to the Benin Traditional Council.

On alleged offences by Chief Isekhure, the Iyase claimed:

“He designated his house as a palace where he held court which sometimes reviewed cases already dealt with in the Oba’s Palace. Of course, gratifications were there offered or forced and collected. He used his position to influence new chiefs celebrating their investiture to perform certain rites in his residence, during which monies, kolanuts and drinks were collected.

“Some senior chiefs were at times openly bad mouthed and vilified by him, during those times. He declared that the chiefs were not senior to him and he would not pay respect to them again as palace culture demands. He turned himself into a be 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.” Chief Igbe alleged that the profanities and denigrations that issued from Isekhure and his followers during the mourning period of the late Oba Erediauwa were better forgotten, saying,

“During that period, he told all those who cared to listen that neither the Emwinekhua, nor the consequent coronation could hold without him.”

The Iyase of Benin alleged that the BTC and he (Iyase) sent for Isekhure for issues to be discussed, to no avail, accusing him of neglecting and deliberately refusing to perform his traditional duties before, during and after the event and had since remained infinitely unrepentant.

According to him:

“We cannot believe that anyone, any Benin individual who knows what the motivating Benin cultures and tradition are and have worn the toga of a Benin chief could do what Isekhure did these past two years. We find it difficult to accept even the idea that he was a chief.

The disconnect has become actual and natural. We recommend in the circumstances, therefore, that he be suspended; and with the authority of Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Ewuare II, Oba of Benin, he is with effect from today (yesterday), January 17, 2017, suspended indefinitely from performing the duties of the Isekhure title which he now bears.”

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