Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has explained why funds due to the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II palace and other monarchs in the state were temporarily withheld.
Obaseki issued the statement in reaction to insinuation that the state government had deliberately withheld the statutory allocation due the Benin palace to spite the revered Monarch.
In the statement signed by the state the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Osa Nehikhare, on Saturday, the Obaseki also affirmed that Oba of Benin remains the incontestable head of all the traditional rulers and chiefs in Edo State.
According to Obaseki, the Monarch’s position as the permanent head of all the traditional rulers in the State remains sacrosanct in the State Government’s implementation of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict of 1979, especially as relates to section 45 of the edict.
The statement read: “Recently, in the wake of some disagreement among some traditional rulers in the State, the traditional rulers agreed with the State Government to temporarily warehouse the fund in a central pool until the administrative issues were addressed. This was between April 2023 and July 2023.
“The government notes that the subvention to the monarch has increased since Governor Godwin Obaseki came into office and has not been reduced whatsoever, as is being falsely peddled by mischief makers.
“Rather, the funding increased since the commencement of the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki because the Value Added Tax (VAT) and the excess crude components have been included.
“It is important to state here that against the false information that the fund was withheld from July 2022 to July 2023, all statutory payment was paid until April 2023, when it was agreed for the funds to be warehoused till date for the resolution of outstanding issues.
“These administrative issues have now been resolved by the Edo State Government and the palace delegation led by the Iyase of Benin, Chief Sam Igbe, and this pool of funds is now being disbursed to the various traditional rulers across the State as well as the Benin Traditional Council.
“The total amount now being disbursed to all the traditional rulers in the State is N1,316,746,764.13. Of this amount, N639,269,245.26, goes to the traditional rulers in Edo South Senatorial District, while the Benin Traditional Council (BTC) gets N319,634,622.63, the balance of N255,707,698.0 is distributed to the traditional councils in the seven local governments in the senatorial district, while N63,926,924.52 left is reserved for any emergency in the councils.”
“In the same vein, Edo North traditional rulers get N377,642,592.6 while Edo Central traditional rulers receive N299,834,926.27
“It is therefore shocking to hear mischief makers trying to stir a phantom crisis between the Edo State Government and the palace of the revered monarch, with many of them making completely false statements and spreading misinformation on social media.”
The statement urged all Edo people “to be wary of misinformation and know that everything is being done according to the law and the accounts of the traditional rulers are being credited.”
It continued: “In all of these, we want to by this medium restate that His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, the Oba of Benin, remains permanent chairman of the Edo State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs as well as the permanent chairman of Benin Traditional Council (BTC).
“Funding to the revered palace has been shored up and is not in any way depleted as these purveyors of falsehood have gone out to portray in the public domain.
“With this full implementation of the law, the government expects members of local government traditional councils to interface with their subjects and promote security, intelligence gathering and community development within their domains.
“The government will continue to work towards harmonious living in the state, ensuring that all stakeholders are carried along in its development strides.”