From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged a fair deal to the Itsekiri people of Delta State, while also extolling the patriotism of His Royal Majesty, Tsola Emiko, Ogiame Atuwatse III, the Olu of Warri Kingdom.
The President gave the assurance at State House, Abuja, Wednesday, while receiving the monarch and some of his chiefs.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said: “I’m grateful for your visit, and impressed by your patriotism. I’ve taken note of your requests, and will work on them as soon as politically possible.”
The Olu of Warri said the visit was to primarily thank the President for sending a high-powered delegation to his coronation as the 21st monarch of the Kingdom, “and for your kind felicitation, goodwill and solidarity.”
He pledged the loyalty of Itsekiri people to “one united Nigeria, as we support your government’s aspiration to provide security and economic prosperity to all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, creed or religion.”
Describing President Buhari as “a dogged patriot and fervent believer in Project Nigeria,” the Olu drew attention to what he called “some burning issues that are dear to our hearts.”
The issues included the under-utilization of the four ports in Warri, Koko, Sapele, and Burutu, all in Delta State, reconstitution of the NDDC Board, immortalizing the first Finance Minister of the country, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh, and resuscitation of the Ogidigben EPZ Project, which has reportedly been abandoned.
On the NDDC Board, he said he believed the President would soon reconstitute it, “as an interested party, we genuinely want a better deal for us in the Niger Delta, as we believe charity begins at home. By this, we mean that we Niger Deltans must be ready to put the betterment of our people first in all we do. Putting our people first is the only way to make our lives better.”
On the entourage of the Olu of Warri were Chiefs Brown Mene, Oma Eyewuoma, Thomas Ereyitomi, Daniel Reyeju, Dere Awosika, and Mr Julius Rone.