By Ben Agande, Ola Ajayi, Abdulsalam Muhammed and Gbenga Olarinoye
President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, launched into what was believed to be consultations with some prominent monarchs in the North and the South-west ahead of his purported re-election bid next year.
Jonathan, who has said he will make public his decision to run or not to run in the 2015 presidential election later this year, visited the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, and Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Lukman Akiolu.
In Kano, Bayero told the President the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable.
The Emir said his emirate will work with other members of the traditional institution to ensure that the peace and unity of the country is enhanced.
Negotiating Nigeria’s unity as a way of addressing perceived imbalance in the structure of the nation is an issue as the country prepares for a National Conference scheduled to start soon.
Speaking in Hausa, he commended the Jonathan’s administration for its efforts at keeping the country at peace despite daunting security challenges.
Bayero expressed optimism that Nigeria would not disintegrate despite the hydra headed socio-economic and political problems facing it.The 13th Fulani Emir of Kano said: “Nigeria has come of age, and as a nation state it has survived multi faceted upheavals that as it is today, it would be difficult for it to break up.“Nigeria may be going through hard times peculiar to developing nation states but the pointer remains clear that we shall overcome the travails and become stronger than we are before.
“Nigeria as at today is an embodiment of one strong nation and I have not seen anything in the horizon that would divide us.”
The Emir tasked the President to float people oriented policies to ginger political and economic stability in the country, maintaining that this is essential for the nation to achieve accelerated progress in our march towards attaining nationhood.
He, however, told the visiting number one citizen to run an inclusive government vital to national cohesion, pointing out that such step is strategic to nation-building.
Bayero further charged Mr. President to appoint credible personalities into his government to achieve set goals, stressing, “Government should, at all times, avoid mediocrity to forestall failure of strategic policies that are of importance to Nigerians”.
The Emir commended Jonathan over the attention on terror war, and therefore called on the citizens to extend their full cooperation to achieve lasting and enduring peace in the country.
While thanking the President and the Federal Government for the support during his ill health, Bayero noted that nothing could be greater than peaceful co-existence amongst the various ethnic groups in the country and tranquility in the society.
He assured the President that his administration would continue to receive support from him and the emirate.
Jonathan told the Emir he was in Kano to pay homage and thank the emirate for the efforts at keeping Kano State at peace.
He said his administration was open to wise counsel and advice from the traditional institution.
The President wished Bayero good health and called on him to continue to guide and encourage the political leadership.
Speaking to journalists at the palace after the visit, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and a Kano prince, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said the Emir’s message was instructive and supportive.
”The position of the Emir is very clear. He is always praying and advising for peaceful co-existence”, he said.
”The Emir said this is one country, one indivisible nation with one President. ”He said they will continue to support the President as he continues to work and create an environment in which every Nigerian will feel he belongs.
”I am sure that message is encouraging and is a message of support, prayers for peace and development and also for the unity and security of this country”.
In Ile-Ife, Osun State, Jonathan met with Oba Okunade Sijuwade behind closed doors.
Sources said the issues discussed include the 2015 presidential poll and the governorship election in Osun State scheduled to hold in August and in which Senator Iyiola Omisore, an indigene of Ile-Ife, is a leading aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
They also reportedly discussed the nation’s security. The meeting, it was gathered, was called by the President to seek the support of the Yoruba race in the 2015 presidential election.
Jonathan, who arrived the Ooni’s palace at exactly 3.00pm, was accompanied by the Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide.
After introduction of dignitaries who joined Sijuwade to welcome the President, the monarch and Jonathan entered into the inner chamber of the palace where they met for 30 minutes.
The President, who left the palace of the Ooni at about 3.45pm, refused to speak with newsmen, insisting that the visit to the monarch was a private one. The Deputy Governor of Osun State, who welcomed the President to the state on behalf of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, was among dignitaries at the palace of the Ooni.
Jonathan’s meeting with the Alaafin, Oba Adeyemi, during the visit to the Oyo palace was also held behind closed doors. The President later thanked the people of Oyo State for the support he received during the 2011 elections.
Addressing the people of Oyo, he said, “I thank not only the people of the state, but the entire South-west for the support we received in 2011 and I have come to reciprocate the gesture with the hope that things will continue as well. We are one, I remain your own”.
Jonathan described the meeting as very private.
Before heading to Oyo town, the President was received on arrival in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, by Governor Abiola Ajimobi, his deputy, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide and some members of the state executive.
At the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Oba Akiolu, Jonathan was received by the monarch and his queens before they went into a closed door meeting at about 8 pm.