…Warns politicians not to drag him into politics
ABUJA- Billionaire businessman, Captain Hosa Okunbo has condemned the unruly behaviour by a crowd of political thugs that booed Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki and his entourage at the palace of the Oba of Benin on Saturday.
Okunbo who was linked to the degrading treatment meted out to Governor Obaseki in some reports however said on Sunday that a man of his standing would never be a party to any plot to humiliate Obaseki or any governor, past or present.
In a set-the-record statement made available to journalists, Okunbo condemned the incident, adding that his mission to the Oba’s palace on Saturday was completely apolitical.
The statement read: “There have been reports of an ugly and unfortunate booing incident that took place outside the palace of our revered Royal Father, the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, on Saturday, July 25, 2020, during the visit of members of the National Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
“The PDP entourage, including the Edo state governor and governorship candidate of the PDP in Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, were reportedly booed while going in and out of the palace by a motley crowd of mostly young boys, according to media reports.
“Some members of the crowd who reportedly embarrassed the PDP team and the state governor were said to have been subsequently attacked allegedly by some gun-toting thugs and sustained varied degrees of injuries in the attack.
“While I condemn the booing of the governor and the PDP team, and the reprisal attack, I am particularly pained that some ungodly insinuations in some quarters have linked me with the unfortunate saga. It is against this backdrop that I have deemed it necessary to make the following clarifications:
“That I was invited to the Palace of the Oba of Benin for a very private ceremony, which I did not even attend with my friends; and that the private ceremony, which had no bearing at all with politics, took place hours after the booing incident happened outside the Palace;
“That I was not privy to the ugly incident during which Governor Godwin Obaseki was reportedly booed;
“That as a responsible citizen and elder statesman who respects constituted authorities, I would not subscribe to any act that tends to disrespect or denigrate any constituted authority whether in Edo State or any other State in Nigeria;
“That I sincerely frown at the brazen act of disrespect for constituted authorities by the crowd of young men who reportedly became unruly on sighting the entourage of the PDP National Campaign Council and Governor Godwin Obaseki at the palace of the Oba of Benin;
“That I will never, ever be a party to any plan, plot, action or inaction to embarrass our most revered father, Oba Ewuare II, who is non-partisan; and who plays the role of a father to all sons and daughters of the great Benin Kingdom;
“That I was not associated with the activities of the unruly crowd and therefore could not have been sent to the palace by me to embarrass the PDP entourage, including the State Governor whom I respect as the number one citizen of the State;
“That I have equal measure of respect for other State Governors who were on the entourage with Governor Godwin Obaseki, some of whom are my personal friends; and could not have encouraged any plot to boo or embarrass them;
“That just as I was not privy to the ugly incident outside the palace of the Oba Of Benin, our revered Royal Father, Oba Ewuare II, was also not even aware of what transpired outside until later after he had been briefed about it;
“That those who made insinuations linking me with the ugly incident were just trying to drag me into their politics and create the impression in certain quarters that I was responsible for their rejection by the people;
“That I state solemnly that, in my position as a role model to our teeming youths who look up to me for guidance and support, I cannot, under any guise, undertake directly or sanction indirectly any action that will place me in a position of disrepute before them and other well-meaning members of the society;
“That, for the records, our revered Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, will not, at all times, condone any act of indiscipline by the youths;
“That I urge my good people of Edo State, associates and supporters to rest assured that I remain the person they have ,good neighborliness who is committed to the promotion of peace, security and orderliness in our society;
“That I have always preached to the hearing of everybody that the ambition of any man is not worth the blood of any Edolite;
“That I call on all Edo people to join hands to ensure that they eschew violence in the electioneering by the political parties and in the forthcoming September 19, 2020 governorship election.”
Okunbo is seen by many as the financial backbone of the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate, Pastor Ize-Iyamu; a claim he has dismissed in published advertorials.
The election is slated for September 19 this year.