Thursday, March 12, 2015 11:01 pm
Abiodun Onafuye/Ijebu Ode
The Awujale and Paramount ruler of Ijebuland,Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Kayode Adetona,Ogbagba II has informed President Goodluck Jonathan that the impact of the federal government has not been felt in Ijebuland.
The Paramount ruler also said that Ijebu sons and daughters have not been given important appointments at the federal level during President Jonathan’s tenure,calling for amendment into the quota arrangement.
Awujale,who is longest reigning monarch in Yoruba land, stated this on Thursday when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan paid him a royal visit at his palace in Ijebu Ode. He urged the President to reimburse the Ibikunle Amosun government the money spent on building a bridge into Ijebu-Ode, across the Federal government owned Shagamu-Benin expressway.
He revealed that it is not possible for any Oba in Ijebuland to campaign or compel anybody to vote for a particular candidate adding that,whoever does such a thing is looking for trouble.
According to Awujale,” In Ijebu here, it is not possible for any Oba, not even in Yorubaland, to go out and say vote for this, vote for that, that person is looking for trouble.The only thing the Oba can do is to give them the opportunity to present their programme so that people can make up their minds on what to do. I think this is a very sound democratic principle and that is what I have decided to do, to give you the opportunity of meeting with the people.
“One, they see you as a person, how beautiful you are, whether to engage with you or not, to listen to you and see if there are areas where we can meet, as a result, everybody congregating here, they belong to different groups, they are PDP members, APC members, APGA members. They belong to various interests, and when they come, they get to the gate, they shed their toga.
“PDP will remove their PDP, APC will remove their own, APGA will remove their own, they are going to the palace, to meet their ruler, their paramount ruler, to receive that important august visitor who is coming to their lands and give him all honour that is entitle to him.
“In all our churches, after prayer, they will pray for you, pray for the Governor, pray for me and all their leaders both in the mosque and churches as it is so required both in the bible and also in the Qur’an, therefore, I thank you Your Excellency for having this opportunity to address our people to listen to you, to hear your programme, what you have in stock for them and we shall all then pray to God for guidance, because the Muslims would say ‘guide us to the right path’, and God will show us the way because He is the only one that can show the way to people.
“Therefore, I thank you, Your Excellency most sincerely for making this trip. God knows the best, He is the ruler of the Universe. He knows everything and He can do everything, everything is possible in the presence of God, that is why I occasionally go to church to put up a songs.
“Each time I have cause, occasionally to talk to our people, I have always told them, in the churches and mosques that when you’re going to vote, make sure, you back your sons and daughter who will give something back to you, not the ‘Ojelus’, those who will be honest with you, who knows the way of God, those are the people you should vote for, not those who will give you two three spoons and mortgage your future, it is not right.
“I am sure over the years, there has been improvement but this election is full of tension, I don’t know how it is so, why has elections never been like this, about 55 years, I have never seen any election that is full of tension and the one we are having now, my prayer if God should guide us and make sure that there’s peace, harmony and tranquility in the country,”Awujale posited.
Contrary to expectation from the Presidential camp that Awujale and other monarchs in Ijebuland will bless the President and endorsed him as it was during his visit to Ooni of Ile – Ife last week,they were disappointed as neither Awujale nor any of the Ijebu monarchs mentioned anything of such.
Unusual of the Paramount ruler of Ijebuland,who always pray and ask other monarchs to pray for any high placed officers that visit him,Awujale did not offer any prayer this time, despite the request for his blessings made by both the President and the PDP National Chairman,Alhaji Adamu Mua’zu while speaking at the event.
In his welcome address which was read by the Dagburewe of Idowa,Oba Y.A. Adekoya,Awujale thanked the President for his visiting and wishes him well in his mission to win the forthcoming Presidential election in the country.
The monarch declared that all the sons and daughters of Ijebu,who was invited here to join him in welcoming the President are deliberately invited and not base on their political affiliations.
On his own part, the Dagburewe of Idowa, who read the address of the Paramount ruler of Ijebuland,Oba Adetona reminded the President about the long time existence of the Ijebus,added that the region is known for commerce and industry.
He however called on the President to revive the moribund Iwopin Paper Mills,which according to him,would have created more job opportunity for the youths in the area.
“Ijebuland has been in existence for more than 1,000 years, it has always been the land of peace and harmony. The Ijebus are noted for commerce and industry and this has immeasurably contributed to the development of
“Our supreme head, Alayeluwa Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland has been a leader whose leadership has assisted the governance of the Ijebus.
“Your Excellency, it is however germane on this epoch visit to make very few observations about the Federal
presence in Ijebuland.
“The Iwopin Paper Mills, it is not very pleasant that Ijebus noted that over the years, the paper mill has not been
completed for one reason or the other in order to provide jobs for the teaming population of unemployed youths roaming the streets, if the mill is functioning to capacity, it will reduce foreign exchange being committed in importing newsprints and other papers into the country, we are appealing to Your Excellency to look into it. It is indeed project that should not be allowed to rot
“On Olokola Deep Sea Port, we want to remind Mr President of the Deep Sea Port which has been on for years. His Royal Majesty and the former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel worked assiduously to see that the project come on stream, but nothing has been done to it.
“We equally noticed that indigenes of Ijebuland are not appointed to noticeable positions in the federal setting. It
will not be out of place, if we remind Mr President of Ijebu State, which Ijebus have been clamouring for, for more than 40 years, we are not oblivious of the fact that the recent National Conference made recommendations on state creation, we are using this medium to remind Mr President about the desire of Ijebu nation in this part of the good country we are.
“Finally, the people of Ijebuland could not but be grateful to the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun for the flyover bridge he constructed across the Lagos/Benin Express road in Ijebu-Ode, the construction of this overhead bridge has saved the carnage which daily occurred at that particular junction.
“Mr President, we are appealing to Your Excellency very passionately to kindly reimburse the cost of the bridge to the state government so that other infrastructure projects can be undertaken,”the monarch address reads.
In his response, the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP Presidential candidate and the incumbent President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan commended the monarch for his leadership trait and the distinguished and distinct character of the Ijebus.
Jonathan assured the monarchs that,if given the chance and opportunity by voting massively for him on the 28 March,2015 and he eventually wins the election,he will ensure that the long dreamed Ijebu State will be realised.
He also gave an assurance that the report of the National Conference will be looked into and implemented to the letter.
“We would have been to this palace earlier than now but because you traveled and our movement but we are happy that we are here today.
“The Chairman said it all, we are here to formally inform you, our royal fathers from this great Ijebuland, about the pending elections and myself and the Vice President Namadi Sambo have been presented by the party for our second and last tenure and it is only proper for us to inform you because in 2011, I met you, though, not in the palace and did mention my request to you and I know all the issues we mentioned then, I may not remember all now.
“But, within the past four years, we have tried as a government, you know government can not complete all projects within four years period, the education section too, we have tried across the country, the problem of federal government is that Nigeria is a very vast country and you may do much and some part of the country may not even notice what you’re doing but we’ve done quite well.
“In the road infrastructure, we have tried, railway is back, we are trying to improve our terminal buildings and security environment in our airports. The health sector, we have tried both in the tertiary level, or what we call health tourism,some of our hospitals are now open for kidney transplant and at the primary level we are able to eradicate guinea warm and we are on the way of eradicating polio completely from this country, of course, we are also aware the way we handled Ebola issue and we are able to get it out, it wasn’t a big problem to our country.
“Even, in the agricultural sector, we have intervened, it is one of your own that is the Minister, within this period, we have done very well and that is why when we had the devastating flood in 2012, prices of food didn’t go high and even when the international price of oil dropped within this period and the value of the Naira dropped a little, some other countries like ours that depend so much on oil, value of staple food went up, but, in Nigeria, the value has been a little bit stable because of our massive investment and revolution in the agricultural sector,”Jonathan said.
The President further stated that,”In commerce and industry too, we have tried significantly well, car re-assembly people are coming back to re-assemble our automobile needs in this country, we can go on and on, among of the sectors, we have tries significantly but we have not reached where we want to go as a nation and we are totally committed to pushing Nigeria forward and we believe that the hardworking people of this great Ijebuland would partner with us for that.
“We’ve listened to the address presented, the key issues mentioned, that’s why I collected the address. One key thing about the address is the the issue of state creation and other related issues that were discussed by the national conference which the national Chairman did mention, we promise that we will implement the national conference document to the letter.
“It is a responsibility between the Executive and National Assembly, that is one of the reasons, we are praying that at the end of the elections, the PDP should have the control of the two arms of the National assembly, so that we will not have issues in terms of implementation, for us, we are ready to implement that report.
“The issue of Olokola project, there are four Deep Sea Ports that will dominate our focus in the next dispensation, God willing, we will go through.
“The Olokola Deep Sea Port project,the Badagry Deep Port Project, the Ibaka Deep Port Project in Akwa Ibom State and the Age Deep Sea Port Project in Bayelsa State, these are four Deep Sea Port Projects that will form our vocal activities because we need to expand our port facilities, Lagos is over congested and we need Deep Port Projects across the country that will be viable and that will help to decongest Lagos and also increase more commercial activities.
“Nigeria is supposed to be a hub where people should import thing into our wharfs and from here move it to other countries, other people take things to Benin and then to Nigeria, it supposed to be other way round but because our ports are congested and with some other restrictions, we want to really make maritime business in Nigeria because maritime is one area that creates wealth and a lot of jobs for our young people, we have been training a number of our people in PTDF to be competent in terms of maritime activities but then, we need to expand the scope. God’s willing, the Olokola project will come on scene as we move on,”the President disclosed.
Commenting on the request of giving sons and daughters of Ijebu noticeable appointments at the Federal level,I promised, “Your Royal Majesty, we will partner with your sons and daughters, the issue of appointment was also raised, Ijebuland is a great land and there’s no government that will neglect the people of Ijebuland, I have to take that very very seriously.
“We promise as a party and as a government that weWill make sure that we don’t play with the unity of this
country, we will do all we can to bring Nigeria together, all what we can to make sure that we pioneer economic activities the Ijebus are well know in the area of commerce and industry, even as a child, I was shown how hardworking the Ijebu are before I travelled to any Ijebuland. We will also partner with people across the nation, men and women, for the purpose of moving this country forward.
“Your Royal Majesty, let me re-assure you that we will do our best, we have come here to seek for your blessing and I led the team in 2007 when I was running as the Vice President to see you and 2011, we met again, not in the palace and today we are lucky led by the National Chairman and I believe that this our interaction with the people will help us prepare.
“We have received the address from the people. And we will work with it, that is why we have a number of Government functionaries with me so that after the elections, we will put this on the table, and look at the demands of people from all parts of the country, and see how we can co-opt some, especially, those that can encourage commerce and industry, education and in terms of health service delivery and in terms of infrastructure, it is basic because for us, to progress as a nation, infrastructure must be in place and the power infrastructure which is a priority to this government,” Jonathan promised.
Earlier,the National Chairman of the party,Alhaji Adamu Muazu has appealed to the monarch to bless the President as was done by Ooni when they visited him last week.
President Jonathan later went into a closed door meeting with Awujale but the meeting did not last more than for ten minutes.
Our correspondent reliably gathered that immediately the Chief Imam of Ijebuland,Sheik Imam Abdul Razaq Salaudeen and a clergyman from Anglican observed the closing prayers,the monarchs were asked to move out for group picture with the President.
Surprisingly,few of the monarchs went outside while majority of them stayed back,which made the protocol to cancel the group photograph session and the President hurriedly moved out of the palace as it was gathered that he was going to Lagos to meet with the Nigerian Stock Exchange.