Wednesday, September 20, 2017
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Oba of Benin suspends chief priest

The Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, has suspended the Isiekhure, a top palace Chief for negligence of duties and usurping the powers of the traditional stool. The Benin Traditional Council while addressing journalists on Tuesday at the Oba’s palace, explained that the duties of Isiekhure originally belonged to Ihama who travelled alongside Prince Oranmiyan from Ife to Benin City in the middle of about the twelfth century AD.

Chief Sam Igbe, the Iyase of Benin who spoke on behalf of other top palace chiefs said that the suspension became
irresistible as the Isiekhure had ignored the Burial ceremony of Oba Erediauwa and the Coronation of His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II by refusing to perform his traditional duties according to custom. He added that Isiekhure desecrated the palace of the Oba of Benin by holding court and reviewing cases already reviewed by the Oba for gratification. Chief Igbe also said the Isiekhure used his position to influence some newly chiefs celebrating their investiture to perform certain rites in his house of which monies, kolanuts and drinks were collected.

He further stated that with the suspension, the Isiekhure of Benin will now be from the Ihama family as it was the case before old age wielded it to one of the sons of Oba Ewedo in about 1280 AD. According to him, “He designated his house as a palace where he held court which he sometimes reviewed cases already felt
with in the Oba’s palace. “He used his position to influence new chiefs celebrating their investure to perform certain rites 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.”

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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.

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