Our meeting not for politics – Ooni
—Says Nigeria greater than any President
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
President Muhammadu Buhari, Friday met with the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and representatives of traditional rulers from the South West geo-political zone of the country at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting, the Ooni said that the meeting had nothing to do with politics, rather to tell the President the importance of including more youths and women in his government and to thank him for what he has been doing for the South West.
He further said that it was also to ask for more developmental projects in the zone and to appreciate President Buhari for the cordial relationship between him and the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo who is from the South West.
Asked on their mission to the State House especially as general elections were around the corner, the Ooni said, “We are not here for politics. We are father to all, very close to our people; the only politics we understand is politics of development. We are here to talk about development for our people in all the states of the south-western Nigeria.
“We here to point out the good things Mr. President has been doing especially the cordial relationship with the Vice President who is from the south-western part of the country. Historically we know the issues of presidents and Vice Presidents in Nigeria, we have not experienced such.
“We are here to further request from Mr. President good things that we want in our various states. When you are doing good we will first of all appreciate the good things before asking for more. What is critical for us here is to champion development for our people.
“We spoke about the inclusion of youths in the current government and also women inclusion. In terms of demography of voting pattern, we know that everything rest on the shoulders of Nigerian youths, we want to see them in this cabinet.
“So we are here not to be misconstrued for politics, we are here to be identified with development and progress of our nation more especially south-west.”
On what was his message to Nigerians as the general elections draw nearer, the first class natural ruler advised the youths to ensure that they vote according to their conscience and ensure that they did not allow themselves be used by the political class to cause trouble in the elections.
He further stressed that the country was bigger than any President, adding that a President has a maximum of eight years to stay in office while the country will always remain.
He said, “Our message is peace and peaceful coexistence among the electorate of this country. Elections is so close by, obviously tension will build. What is critical is for us to know that Nigeria is greater than all of us.
“No amount of money they will promise the youths to disrupt and to destabilise the country, they should know they are making history for themselves. They will come and they will go but Nigeria will remain.
“Even we traditional rulers that are very fortunate to still be alive, we have experienced many presidents, many governors, a president cannot use more than eight years that is in the constitution of Nigeria, so, Nigeria is greater than the president. Your maximum tenure is eight years.
“So, our message to everyone in Nigeria is that please, especially Nigerian youths, go and vote for whoever you want to vote for. Mr. President even said it by himself, it is not a do or die. Whatever you want t to use your power of your thumb for, go ahead and do it. We as traditional rulers are just here to play the fatherly role and make sure all is well in our nation.”
Also asked on the demands they made before the President, the Oni said, “We have already passed our demands across, each state has peculiar needs. What is critical is that south-west accommodates everyone in the country.
“That is the only zone that you can call a typical Nigeria because is a blend of everybody, al the tribes of this nation you will find them in the south-western Nigeria.
“So as result, we play pivotal role in anything that has to do with decision making in Nigeria, as a zone we are even the second largest in terms of voting demography and numbers. So critically south Western Nigeria plays a very vital role and we as traditional rulers we are the ones to douse the tension.
“We don’t pray for any tension but we are ready, we have all decided to work together to douse any tension. Whoever that comes is the grace of God.”
He said that President Buhari recognized the pivotal role of South Western and the zone’s relevance in the nation’s polity.