The political tussle between the camps of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and his erstwhile political godfather and former governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, took a new dimension over the weekend as Governor Obaseki dethroned the traditional head of Uzanu Clan in Etsako East Local Government Area of the state and revoked the entire Clan, merging it with Weppa Wanno Clan.
Uzanu is the country home of the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clement Agba, a known ally of Oshiomhole, who has been at loggerheads with the incumbent Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, over the control of the entire Etsako politics.
While the state government hinged its action on an alleged non-adherence to peace initiatives between the dethroned Oliola of Uzanu Clan, HRH Benjamin Ikani, and his neighbour, the Igiode Clan, the Uzani Clan interrogated the action and ascribed it to political vendetta on the part of the government.
The dethronement of the Oliola and the scrapping of his clan was via a statement endorsed by the Secretary to State Government, SSG, Mr Osarodion Ogie, which stated that: “the State Government has also withdrawn the appointment of HRH Benjamin Ikani as the Oliola of Uzanu clan of South East Uneme with immediate effect.
According to the statement, the action is “predicated on the incessant and flagrant disregard to peace agreement and government’s directive to maintain peace in Uzanu community and its environs by the Oliola.”
But in a swift reaction, Uzanu Clan, in a press statement issued by the Secretary of Uzanu Progressives Union, Kabiru Idris, described the action of the state government as political, attributing the action to an alleged political difference between the Deputy Governor, Shaibu, and the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba who is from Uzanu.
The community maintained that the issue of the boundary dispute between Uzanu and Igiode, had long been resolved through the court up to the Supreme Court, hence that could not be a justifiable reason for the government’s action.
“This issue has been on for over 50 years and were fully settled through series of litigations initiated by Igiode community in Weppa Wanno clan through Chief Augustine Alimikhena in Suit No. HAU/28/78 delivered by the Hon. Justice J.B. Amissah of the Auchi High Court on 20th November 1979 and Suit No. HAU/13/72 delivered by Hon. Justice J. Omo-Eboh on 10th August, 1973. All the decisions in these suits were in favour of the Uzanu community. The appeal to the Supreme Court No. 386/74 filed by Igiode community in Weppa Wanno clan was dismissed for want of diligent prosecution on 26th January 1976 as presided over by Justice G.S. Sowemmimo while another appeal No. SC/111/74 was struck out,” the statement disclosed.
“It is clear from the above facts that the Edo State government is oppressing the Uzanu community simply because of political differences between Governor Godwin Obaseki and the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba,” Uzanu Clan maintained.
“We therefore appeal to the Edo State government and the people of Igiode to let Uzanu people live in peace,” the statement further pleaded.
The deputy governor had earlier, at an enlarged meeting between the warring communities, threatened that the Edo State Government would be forced to issue an arrest warrant on Prince Agba over what the deputy governor strangely termed as the minister’s “role in fanning the ember of war within communities in the state.”