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Isekhure: It’s deliberate witch-hunt

By Gabriel Omohinmin
29 January 2017   |   3:31 am
The Isekhure of Benin Kingdom, Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, who was recently suspended indefinitely by the Benin Traditional Council from performing the duties of his office...


The Isekhure of Benin Kingdom, Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, who was recently suspended indefinitely by the Benin Traditional Council from performing the duties of his office, has expressed readiness to go to court to clear his name if that is the last option.

Chief Isekhure, expressed surprise and disappointment at the weighty allegations leveled by the Benin Traditional Council against him, saying the onus is now on the Benin Traditional Council to prove the allegations against him beyond all reasonable doubts.

He said, if these allegations were not act of deliberate witch-hunt and blackmail, why were they not raised during the lifetime of the immediate past Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa?

He explained that at no time did he perform any act(s) during the period mentioned in the allegations without the approval of Oba Erediauwa. He said the revered Oba in his wisdom and without prompting directed cases to him to adjudicate upon. And once the cases referred to him were heard in most instances, he Isekhure writes his findings and takes them personally to the late Oba for his approval or overruling before making any pronouncement in such matters.

A depressed Isekhure said that at no time did he demand nor receive any gratification for the assignment given to him by the late Oba. He said people are free to say or allege whatsoever they wish, but he is patiently waiting to be confronted with the facts of the allegations shown the person or persons who bribed him while he was performed the assignment duly given to him by the late Oba.  He said he is not known for arbitrariness or frivolities. Then he asked, why these distractions?

Chief Isekhure said he is not in competition with anybody and that the title of Isekhure of Benin Kingdom is a title that has been in existence for centuries. As a matter of right by his birth, he inherited that title and office, he has done his very best to perform all the functions attached to that title to the best of his ability and in the overall interest of the Benin people. Affirming that, it is not his nature to undermine the Oba or any constituted authority for that matter.

The title of Isekhure of Benin Kingdom, according to oral Bini history was created by Oba Ewedo in about 1280 BC.  The holder of that title is one of the priests in the Benin Kingdom, whose duties include the spiritual purification of the Oba.

The Benin Traditional Council at a press briefing on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, which was addressed by the Iyase (Traditional Prime Minister) of Benin Kingdom, Chief Sam Igbe, said the suspension of Chief Nosakhare Isekhure from the council took immediate effect. Chief Igbe explained that before the title of Isekhure and functions were created by Oba Ewedo, the Ihama of Benin Kingdom, was the original person performing the functions given to Isekhure. And that, the Benin Traditional Council, has therefore converted those functions back to the Ihama of Benin Kingdom.

According to the Council, Nosakhare Isekhure’s infractions included, (a) Isekhure designated his house as a palace where he held court, which sometimes reviewed cases already adjudicated upon in the Oba’s Palace.

(b) According to the Iyase, reviewing hearing of cases afresh so that gratifications were offered or forcefully collected by Isekhure.

(c) Isekhure used his position to influence new Chiefs celebrating their investiture to perform certain rites in his residence, during which monies, kola nuts and drinks were collected by him.

(d) During these events, some senior Chiefs of the Benin Kingdom were at times openly denigrated by the Isekhure. In such moments, the Isekhure would say “that such Chiefs were not his senior and that he (Isekhure) was no longer ready to pay them any respect as the Benin Palace culture demands”.

(e) That Isekhure of Benin Kingdom, during these periods turned himself into “a be all and end all, and a seeming authority in the Benin culture and tradition, especially palace procedures, at some point, the Isekhure, allegedly pronounced himself the head of the Royal Family”.