*President tasks Royal fathers on peace
*Says only those with bad policies resort to violence, incitements
*Our meeting not for politics — Oni
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, called on traditional rulers in the country to use their positions as the closest to the grassroots to secure the country and ensure that forthcoming elections are peaceful.
President Buhari made the call when he received a delegation of traditional rulers from the South West of the country who paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said, “Those who fear that their persons or their policies cannot win elections might resort to incitements to violence. Our young people must not be left to those who will instigate violence and cause others to lose their property or lives. We are determined to keep order and I hope Your Highnesses are on the same page with us.”
President Buhari also reiterated the commitment of his administration to infrastructural development across the nation:
He said, “In every state in Nigeria, we are doing at least one major road project. In the South West, we are completing the Lagos to Ibadan expressway. The reconstruction of this road, which is the busiest in Nigeria, had not been given the attention it deserved till now.
“We will complete the first phase of railway, Lagos to Ibadan by the end of this month. We are also working on several power projects in the South West, of importance is the imminent completion of power supply to Ondo South where many of the local governments have not had power for years.”
The President said the nation could only develop if resources were spent on the people and facilities that would promote commerce and create jobs.
He commended the traditional rulers and especially the people of South West, for setting the example of religious tolerance and unity, saying, “It is to your credit as traditional rulers that such harmony between religions has been achieved.”
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina said that the delegation, led by the Ooni of Ife, and Co-chair of Traditional Rulers Council of Nigeria, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, had commended President Buhari for placing the completion of the Lagos –Ibadan expressway on the front burner of the projects of the administration as well as the Lagos to Ibadan rail line.
The traditional rulers expressed appreciation to the President for the posthumous recognition given to M.K.O Abiola as President of Nigeria, urging him to continue the good works, and assuring that history will be kind to him.
They also asked for more developmental projects in the region.
Also on the delegation were the Alake of Egbaland, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, the Oloye of Oye Ekiti, the Olukare of Ikare Akoko, the Aseyin of Iseyin, Deji of Akure and the Alayemore of Ido Osun.
Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting, the Oni of Ife 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 Oni said, “We are not here for politics. We are fathers 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.”
President Jonathan played host to many traditional rulers in the South West and visited them before the 2015 elections. He was accused of using the platform to induce them.
He eventually lost the election.