Ooni of Ife, His Royal Majesty Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi gets a royal reception in Abia State, where he makes a case for peace and youth employment, reports SUNNY NWANKWO
Since the unrest triggered by a clash between members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and military personnel, Abia State has been receiving high-profile visitors who did their best to cool tensions.
The Ooni of Ife, His Royal Majesty Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi is the latest to call. And like others before him, the monarch also had peace on his mind. He sought deeper relations among the ethnic groups that make up the country. But the Ooni also had other things on his mind, one of which was jobs.
He expressed concern that employable youths are milling around without jobs, an ugly development in any nation. He urged that more efforts be made to provide jobs for youths.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, at Government House, Umuahia, the state capital, Ogunwusi described the Igbo race as very important to Nigeria.
The monarch said his visit to Abia State was in fulfillment of his decision to bridge the inter-ethnic gap across Nigeria and also to support Governor Ikpeazu whom he described as a man of peace who loves his people and Nigerians.
He praised Governor Ikpeazu’s passion and support for the traditional institution in Nigeria and the state which he described as “the thing that has positive values that cannot be overemphasised”.
He stressed the point that all Nigerians are the same people.
He also commended the culture of the Igbo people, adding that “Igbo tradition is beautiful and signifies that anyone who brings kola brings life.”
He linked the kola nut breaking culture in Igbo land to the strength of the typical Igbo man and woman as well as the “can do spirit of the Igbo race” that he is very proud of.
Expressing happiness that the Igbo continue to uphold their culture, regardless of where they live, the royal father said he always feels at home in Igbo land.
He said, “Nigerians are spiritually linked and must work together because their strength lies in their diversity”.
Oba Ogunwusi called on the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, channel its resources and strength to a course that would better the lot of Nigerian youths.
He explained that youths are the future and energy of the country and therefore their welfare should be the watchword of all progressive leaders of the country.
The monarch assured that his people fully stand by Governor Ikpeazu’s progressive attitude to governance that is anchored on doing what is best for his people and those who live and do business in Abia State.
He noted that everyone must come together to make Nigeria great.
The Ooni who observed that Abia State is peaceful, called for the re-orientation of the youths as, according to him, “disintegration pays no one any dividends”.
He enjoined the youths to do away with hate speeches and channel their enormous energy to right causes.
Governor Ikpeazu, in his speech, described the visit as an “honour and a privilege” to him and the people of Abia State.
The governor thanked the monarch for his kind words to the people of the state, noting that his prayers, support and encouragement have contributed to Abia’s success.
Ikpeazu said that he is encouraged by the leadership style of the Ooni, especially in ensuring the unity of Nigeria and enabling inter-ethnic harmony within and outside his domain.
He maintained that Nigeria has all it takes to become the world’s best “because of its massive human and material resources and the opportunities presented by our diversity”. He regretted “the country’s inability to harness the potential and kinetic energy of the people and translate same to the positive growth of the country”.
Ikpeazu said youths remain an integral part of Abia development agenda as well as that of the country but must learn to channel their grievances through the right channels.
Governor Ikpeazu expressed belief that the only way to curb youth restiveness, banditry and violent crimes in the society is to ensure that youths are gainfully employed.
He pledged to focus more on solving the problem of youth unemployment in the state through the introduction of more home-grown job creation initiatives.
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