President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met with Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi and representatives of traditional rulers from the South West at the State House, Abuja.
Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting, the Ooni said the meeting had nothing to do with politics.
He said the meeting was to tell the President the importance of including more youths and women in government and to thank him for what he has been doing for the South West.
Ooni also said the meeting was to ask for more developmental projects for the zone and appreciate Buhari for the cordial relationship between him and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is from the South West.
Speaking further on their mission to the State House, with the general elections fast approaching, 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 are 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 rests 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.”
He advised youths to ensure they vote according to their consciences and not allow themselves to be used by the political class to cause trouble during the elections.
He also said the country was bigger than any President, stressing that a President has a maximum of eight years to stay in office while the country will always remain.
According to him: “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.
On the demands they made before the President, the Ooni 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, all 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
According to him, President Buhari recognized the pivotal role of the South West and its relevance in the nation’s polity.
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