Raising the alarm over the planned protest against Okunbo, the BNC cautioned all those behind what it called “the inordinate plot” to shield their swords “in order not to incur the wrath of patriotic Benin people at home and abroad”. Speaking at a press conference in Benin-City, Edo State capital, president of the BNC, Aiyamenkhue Edokpolor accused some top ranking public officers “who are sustaining their children and wards on ostentatious lifestyles abroad”, of being behind the plan to mobilize youths across the state for a protest march to the palace of the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare 11, against the person of Okunbo billed for this week, or any day before the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.
Edokpolor regretted that, “At a time when our youths are desirous of vigorous technical and vocational skills development in order to fit into the globalized hi-tech societies, some selfish politicians’ utmost plan for our youths is to perpetually use them as thugs and brigands against noble men and women.” Stating emphatically that the revered palace of the Oba of Benin is a sacred traditional institution which had sustained its royal dignity for tens of centuries, Edokpolor warned that it is “certainly not an altar for mischief makers and placard carrying charlatans who are looking for distinguished Benin icons to devour”.
The BNC noted that Okunbo had severally declared in various media platforms that he was not aspiring for any elective political office as widely and mischievously speculated before the finalisation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial primaries, and that his friendship transcended partisan political boundaries of Nigeria, adding “In his charismatic nature, he will continually support industrial development and sustainable youth empowerment initiatives at private and public policies level”.
According to the BNC, “A broad reading of political rhetoric across the political spectrum suggests clearly that some people are deviously twisting all manner of facts of Benin history to suit their premeditated propaganda against their real or imaginary political enemies. Severally, worthy and noble Benin families are being bastardized by chauvinistic writers to suit the Machiavellian interests of their sponsors at the detriment of the bearers of such names.
“It is preposterous to say the least that top ranking public officers who are sustaining their children and wards on ostentatious lifestyles abroad, will continually display awful penchant for misusing our youths for disorderly tendencies like the planned protest march around Benin City against Cap. Hosa Okunbo… We make bold to say that anyone championing mischief against patriotic and consolidated business moguls of Benin extraction and, or engaging in any sacrilegious escapades, are enemies of Benin nation and will be consequently banished from our land by God Almighty and also witch-hunted by our ancestors. We are a people reputed for peace, hospitality and tranquility, yet, we have the capacity to ward off elements of destruction from our land”.
The BNC said is was speaking out because “It is incumbent on us as ambassadors of Benin peace and hospitality values, as well as being members and trustees of Benin National Congress, to warn these anachronistic elements to desist forthwith from their carefully planned mission-to mobilize thousands of Benin youths to the palace of the Oba of Benin” against one of their own.