PDP Gubernatorial Candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu on Thursday, paid a solidarity visit to two warring, Bekuma and Ekpedo, communities in Akoko-Edo where lives and properties have been lost since March 30th 2016.
The two communities were involved in land related communal crises over the years which ended up in court and ultimately led to communal crisis because of suspicion by the Ekpedo community that the neigbouring Bekuma community had killed an Ekpedo man in the farm.
In spontaneous reaction, suspected arsonists from the Ekpedo community descended on the Bekuma community burning down several properties including the palace of the traditional ruler of Bekuma. The residents of Bekuma fled their homes to the bushes and neighboring communities and many of them are still apprehensive of returning to their community for fear of further reprisal.
While the battle raged, the Edo state governor has not yet visited the community leaving many people in the community to wonder if their lives mattered to government.
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, accompanied by the Edo State PDP Chairman, Chief Dan Osi Orbih, visited both communities Thursday. He visited the Otaru of Igarra as well as the traditional rulers of Bekuma and Ekpedo and listened to them as they narrated their versions of the story.
Addressing them, separately, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu appealed for peace to return to the communities explaining that only when peace is allowed to come that development can follow in the communities.
He admonished the communities to recognize that they are both neighbors who have lived peacefully together for centuries and that they should embrace peace and forgiveness and forge a better future, explaining that although death and destruction are painful, often irreversible damages that each of the communities have suffered, people should learn to forgive each other and fashion out ways to preventing the painful past.
He donated monies to each of the communities to assist them to buy relief materials and also paid compensation amount to the two families that lost their lives in the crisis.
During the separate meetings, both monarchs pledged to work together to restore peace to their communities, even though each of them expressed pain and anger over the death and destruction that this crisis had caused them.
Speaking at the event also, the Edo State PDP Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, informed the crowd that gathered outside, that the PDP will bring better security and harmony among communities in Edo State. He enjoined the people to vote for a man who can feel their pains and he presented Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the flag bearer of the PDP and asked the people to vote for him to restore peace, prosperity and hope to their communities.
The Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu Campaign Organisation and the People’s Democratic Party Edo State has announced a change of venue for the flag off of the gubernatorial campaigns of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu following the decline by Edo State government of Adams Oshiomhole of the formerly proposed venue, the Ogbemudia Stadium.