Anglican cleric fails to reconcile Oshiomhole, Obaseki

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There was drama on Saturday as the three major players in the crisis in the ruling All Progressive Congress in Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki, Adams Oshiomhole and House of Assembly Speaker, Francis Okiye, met at the venue for the thanksgiving service for the 90th birthday of the Iyase of Benin, Chief Sam Igbe, in Benin.

In his sermon at Our Saviour Anglican Church, the officiating priest, Friday Imaekhai, called for peace in the state and invited the trio to embrace peace. Imaekhai invited them to the altar and joined their hands together, saying the people of Edo were looking up to them. But as soon as the church service ended, Obaseki and Oshiomhole went their separate ways.

At the venue for the reception, while Obaseki took his seat beside the ex-Commissioner of Police Igbe, Oshiomhole, who is the governor’s immediate predecessor and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, however, stole the show as he walked in with people at the venue shouting his name excitedly.

At the end of the programme, Oshiomhole refused to answer questions from reporters who besieged him like he did after the thanksgiving service earlier in the day. Rather than attending to the reporters, the ex-Nigeria Labour Congress leader rushed to his waiting car, with security officials shielding him from admirers who sang his praises.

Hopes for a peaceful resolution of the crisis was dashed by a recent interview by Oshiomhole accusing Obaseki of making a bad situation worse by firing his only nominee in his cabinet.

Addressing reporters after the thanksgiving service, Obaseki described the Iyase as an icon of the Benin culture, history and people.

He said, “We celebrate him at 90, we wish him good health and pray to God Almighty to continue to protect him and take care of him.” Oshiomhole described Igbe as a man of immense discipline and patience.

The ex-governor said, “He is a man of clean heart and truly believes in the development of his community and that explains why he is the Iyase of Benin Kingdom.

“Everybody prays to reach age 90. From the bottom of my heart, I celebrate with him and his family.”

Among other dignitaries at the thanksgiving service were the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion; former Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase; ex-Edo State Deputy Governor, Mike Ogiadomeh; and the Iyalode of Lagos, Chief Bintu-Fatima Tinubu.

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