Oba of Benin, Ewuare II.
The Ihogbe N’Ore family of Benin Kingdom, has given the Benin traditional Council (BTC), 14 days to produce proof of the allegations levelled against their son, the Isekhure of Benin, Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, which led to his indefinite suspension by the Council last week or face legal action.
The BTC had last week alleged that Isekhure “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 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.”
The family in a statement of denial signed by Mr. Osagbakhoe Ogbemudia, called on the BTC to bring proof of the cases earlier tried in the Palace of the Oba of Benin and the people involved but later reviewed, as well as proof of how much was collected from such cases.
The Ihogbe N’Ore family while describing as cheap blackmail the allegation that Chief Isekhure designated his house as palace where he holds court and sometimes review cases already dealt with by the Oba, warned that if at the expiration of the 14 days and the proof was not produced, “we shall have no other option than to allow Chief Isekhure to take appropriate legal action to redeem his image that has been badly damaged by BTC publication.”
On the allegation that Chief Isekhure allegedly used his position to influence new Chiefs celebrating their investitures to perform certain rites in his house by demanding that such celebrants come with kolanuts, monies and drink, the family said, “we of the Ihogbe N’ Ore are of the view that this issue is what make Benin chieftaincy interesting and highly respected, therefore should not have been discussed on the pages of newspapers.
It explained that new chiefs coming to perform some rites as part of their investitures at some designated houses and shrines started as far back as 1255 AD during the reign of Oba Ewedo and such visits was accompanied with 8 kolanuts, a bottle of hot drink and 13 Shillings and 6 pence now about N2,000, adding that Chief Isekhure never took more than what was required.
Speaking on allegation that Chief Isekhure refused to perform his duties during the Emwinekhua and subsequent coronation, the Ihogbe N’Ore family said the BTC created the impression that Chief Isekhure had nothing to do with the Royal burial and coronation and as such did not extend invitation to him otherwise, he would have honoured such invitation and play the role expected of him.
The family while denying the allegation of Isekhure usrping the function of the Ihama of Benin, debunked his the alleged disrespect to some senior chiefs and refusal to honour an invitation from the Iyase of Benin, but described Isekhure as a man of humility, an attribute it said made the late Oba Erediauwa to show love to him.
According to the Ihogbe N’Ore family, “Chief Isekhure is a lover of Benin tradition and custom,” even as it denied that Isekhure ever boasted that without him neither the Emwinekhua and the subsequent coronation could hold.