Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, has advised Nigerians to vote whoever they desire to be their president in the forthcoming presidential election recalling that no leader is bigger than the nation.
He spoke with State House correspondents after he led some traditional rulers from the South West on a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa on Friday.
The monarch, who stressed that the visit was not political but to discuss development issues as they concern the South West, said the zone’s traditional rulers had resolved to douse tension in the region to ensure peaceful elections.
According to him, “election is so close by and obviously tension will build. What is critical is for us to know that Nigeria is greater than all of us. No matter the amount of money they will promise the youths to disrupt and to destabilise the country, they should know that they are making history for themselves.
“They will come and they will go but Nigeria will remain. We, the traditional rulers who are very fortunate to still be alive, 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 whose maximum tenure is eight years.
“So, our message to everyone in Nigeria is that please… especially Nigerian youths, go and vote for whoever you want to vote for. Mr. President even said it himself; it is not a do or die. Whatever you want to use the power of your thumb for, go ahead and do it.
“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 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.
“We are here to further request from Mr. President, good things that we want for our various states. When someone is doing good, you 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 vote pattern, we know that everything rests on the shoulders of Nigerian youths, we want to see them in this cabinet.”
Ogunwusi while speaking on the development needs of the region, pointed out that the South West accommodates everyone in the country, describing it as “the only zone that you can call a typical Nigeria because it is a blend of everybody, all the tribes of this nation you will find them in 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 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 no matter whoever comes in as the president of Nigeria.”
Asked how the president responded to the visit and their demands Ooni said “the president gave a very good speech; he recognised the pivotal role south western Nigeria has been playing and will continue to play. So what is critical is that let people go out and vote whoever they want to vote for in Nigeria.”