The blunder committed during the visit by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki when he led the National Campaign Council of his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the palace of the Oba of Benin Saturday July 25, 2020, has claimed a casualty in the person of the state Director of Protocol, (DoP), Osayande Aisagbon.
As custom demands, Obaseki who was in company with the leadership of the PDP, governors and National Assembly members to pay homage to the monarch, Oba Ewuare 11 and seek his royal blessings as he flagged off campaigns for his re-election, was expected to present the traditional Kola nut and Gin with which prayers would be offered for them.
Such was the embarrassment that a visibly aghast Nyesom Wike, Rivers State Governor, and Chairman of the National Campaign Council reportedly exclaimed “Godwin did not bring Kola nuts?” The governor was said to have explained that he forgot the items at Government House. Though the governor took responsibility for the gaffe, it really was not his duty to carry the items. It is the job of the protocol unit. Consequent upon the development, no special prayer was said as the Oba prayed generally for peace before, during and after the election.
Expectedly, the DoP took the fall for it as it was his responsibility to ensure that the items were taken along. Aisagbon, according to a Government House source who should know, was a few days ago redeployed to the Ministry of Culture and Diaspora Affairs for causing the governor and his guests such serious embarrassment. In a memo directing his redeployment sighted by the magazine, he was replaced with Mosis Obakpolor, also a staff of the same ministry.
However, the National Vice-Chairman, South-south zone of the PDP, and chairman of the state campaign council of the party, Dan Osi Orbih, put the blame at the door step of the All Progressives Congress, APC, which he accused of sponsoring thugs to cause mayhem during the visit. Orbih claimed that because of the attack by the hoodlums, the vehicle conveying the Kola nuts and the Gin had to turn back.
According to the immediate past state chairman of the PDP, “You can see everything that happened was well-planned. After the bus carrying the security men was able to go into the palace, all other vehicles that were on the entourage, they destroyed them. A lot of them had to find their way back. They shot at them and the vehicle that was conveying the kola nuts and the drinks that they would normally take to the palace could not have access to the palace”.
Buttressing his conspiracy theory, Orbih said they were surprised that “before we came out of the palace, they (APC) were already announcing that they did not take kola nut to the palace. These are evil-minded people”.
Apart from Wike, also on the entourage of the governor was the national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, the governors of Sokoto, Delta, Oyo, Bauchi and Bayelsa States namely Aminu Tambuwal, Ifeanyi Okowa, Seyi Makinde, Bala Mohammed, and Douye Diri respectively, as well as the deputy governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, amongst others.