From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Benin Traditional Council (BTC), acting on the authority of Oba Ewuare II, has suspended Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, the Isekhure of Benin, indefinitely.
The Iyase of Benin, Chief Sam Igbe, who announced the suspension, in a statement signed by himself and nine others, at the Oba’s Palace, yesterday, explained that the duties of Isekhure, which were originally performed by the Ihama of Benin, will now revert to the Ihama N’Ihogbe.
Accusing Isekhure of desecrating the Isekhure title, the BTC also alleged that he designated his house as a palace where he held court and sometimes, reviewed cases already dealt with at the Oba’s palace.
“Of course, gratification were 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. Senior chiefs were, at times, openly bad-mouthed and vilified by him, and during those times, he declared that the chiefs were not senior to him and that he would not pay respects to them, again, as palace cultures demand.
“He turned himself to be all and end all, and a seeming authority in Benin culture and tradition, especially palace procedures.
“He even pronounced himself the head of the Royal family.”
According to the traditional council, the profanities that issued from Isekhure and his followers during the mourning period of the late Oba were better forgotten.
“During this period, he told all those who cared to listen to him that neither the Emwinekhua (funeral ceremonies of the late Oba) nor the coronation could hold without him.”
The Iyase of Benin, who spoke for the council, told newsmen that both himself and the council of chiefs sent for Chief Isekhure to discuss the matter, but he did not respond.
“During the Emwinekhua, he neglected and deliberately refused to perform his traditional duties before, during and after the event, and has since remained infinitely unrepentant.
“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 Isekhurhe 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,” the BTC said.
All efforts to get Isekhurhe to react to his suspension failed, yesterday, as he would neither pick calls nor respond to a message sent to his mobile telephone.