The Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, has suspended the Chief Priest of Benin Kingdom, Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, for negligence of duty and usurping the powers of the traditional stool. The Benin Traditional Council while addressing newsmen yesterday at the Oba’s Palace, explained that the duties of Isekhure originally belonged to Ihama who travelled alongside Prince Oranmiyan from Ife to Benin City in the middle of about the twelfth century AD.
Chief Sam Igbe, the Iyase of Benin who spoke on behalf of other top palace Chiefs said the suspension became irresistible as the Isekhure had ignored the burial ceremony of Oba Erediauwa and the Coronation of His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, by refusing to perform his traditional duties according to custom. He added that Isekhure desecrated the palace of the Oba of Benin by holding court and reviewing cases already reviewed by the Oba for gratification. Chief Igbe also said the Isekhure used his position to influence some new chiefs celebrating their investiture to perform certain rites in his house of which monies, kolanuts and drinks were collected. He further stated that with the suspension, the Isekhure of Benin will now be from the Ihama family as it was the case before old age wielded it to one of the sons of Oba Ewedo in about 1280 AD.
According to him, “He designated his house as a palace where he held court which he sometimes reviewed cases already felt with in the Oba’s palace. “He used his position to influence new chiefs celebrating their investure to perform certain rites in his residence, during which monies, kolanuts and drinks were collected. “Senior Chiefs were at times openly badmouthed and vilified by him, and during those times he declared that the chiefs were not senior to him and that he would not pay respect to them again as the palace cultures demand.