The Oba of Benin, Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Erediauwa, has dismissed rumours of his death as a rehashed tale that has been told countless times.
The speculation on the revered monarch’s demise had gone viral on the Internet on Friday morning.
The rumour was given credence when it was pointed out that the Oba did not personally receive President Goodluck Jonathan, during his February 4 presidential rally in Benin, the Edo State capital.
Before Mr. Jonathan’s re-election campaign rally in Benin, the report also claimed that the Oba was not available to receive the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), because he had already passed on about two days before the January 29, 2015 campaign rally date of the APC.
But the Benin Traditional Council on Friday evening described the reports as mere speculation, which had been on for over six months and lacked no substance.
The Secretary to the council, Mr. Frank Irabor, explained that it was the responsibility of the council to issue a formal statement, if such a development did arise.
He said, “They have been peddling that rumour for more than a year now, because the Oba has not been coming out.
“If there is anything like that, there is usually a statement from the palace or from the Benin Traditional Council”.
Although Mr. Irabor did not specify whether or not the Oba was hale and hearty, he explained that inability of President Jonathan to see the monarch, when he visited the palace, did not give credence to his rumoured demise.
“The fact that he has not been coming out, even when the President came last week, does not mean that there is anything like that.
“I don’t bother about rumours. I believe in getting information from the authentic source. For more than six months, they have been carrying the rumour”, he added.