Sunday, 16 February 2014


President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday met some traditional rulers in All Progressives Congress states in what appeared to be political consultations ahead of his declaration of interest in the 2015 presidential election.
Jonathan visited the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade; the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; and the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akinlolu, in their palaces.
A Presidency source said the visits were more political than courtesy visits.

The source, who pleaded anonymity, said Jonathan visited the Emir of Kano because he (the President) would be leading other top government officials and Peoples Democratic Party chiefs to the state next weekend to receive a former governor of the state, Ibrahim Shekarau, who recently defected from the All Progressives Congress to the ruling party.

Bayero had recently escaped an assassination attempt when gunmen opened fire on his convoy. He was admitted in a London hospital and later discharged.

While in Kano, Jonathan described Bayero as an asset to the country.

The President was received at the Aminu Kano International Airport by the state Deputy Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, top government functionaries and PDP stalwarts in the state, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The state Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, recently defected from the PDP to the APC alongside four other erstwhile PDP governors.
Speaking at Bayero’s palace, Jonathan said the country was in dire need of people like the Emir, who would continue to give valuable advice for lasting peace and stability in the country.

The President said, “My visit to the palace is a private visit because I have not seen the Emir since I visited him in the London Hospital after an attack on him.”

In his response, Bayero, who spoke through an interpreter, called on politicians in the country to shun violence and focus on issues that would promote peace and coexistence among the people. He urged the Federal Government to give more attention to insecurity in the country, especially in the North-East.

Jonathan left Kano for Ibadan, Oyo State capital, from where he moved to Ile-Ife and Oyo town.
In Ile Ife, Osun State, Jonathan held a closed door meeting with the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, in his palace.
Sources privy to the meeting said the President discussed security issues with the ruler and sought his support during the meeting which lasted for about 35 minutes.
Those who welcomed Jonathan to the palace included the Osun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori; ministerial nominee from the state, Mr. Jelili Adesiyan; and a governorship aspirant of the PDP, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
The president arrived at the palace at about 3:00pm in company with the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide.

After a brief introduction of guests, Jonathan and his host went into the inner chamber of the palace, where they held the meeting.

The President left the palace at about 3:42pm.

Jonathan was also at the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, where he praised the monarch and other South-West traditional leaders for maintaining the peace in the region.

The President, who flew into the palace in a Nigeria Air Force helicopter marked NAF 540 at about 4:08pm, had earlier arrived at the Ibadan Cargo Airport, Alakia, en-route Ife, where he declared the 2014 Nigeria University Games open at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

Jonathan was received at the Alaafin’s palace by the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi; his deputy, Moses Alake; the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Abdul-Azeez Arisekola-Alao, and PDP leaders in the state.

The President said he had come home to visit his ‘father’ (Adeyemi) on private matters.

Jonathan added that he came to thank the people of the state and the entire South-West for the support they gave to him and PDP during the 2011 election.

Jonathan, Ajimobi, the Alaafin and a former governor of the state, Omololu Olunloyo, later held another closed-door meeting for about 50 minutes.

Adeyemi declined to comment on issues discussed at the meeting.

Olunloyo said Jonathan did the right thing by visiting the Alaafin. He added that there could be elements of politics in the visit.

“Oyo, Ife and Ibadan are important towns, which the President must visit in the South-West. What the President came to discuss is purely private and it goes beyond politics. The state governor was also there. I think such visits must be made frequently,” Olunloyo said.

Jonathan later went to the palace of the Oba of Lagos at about 7:45pm, where he had a closed door meeting with the monarch.

A member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Ebenezer Babatope, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that Jonathan’s visits were a good omen for the Yoruba. He stressed that before 2015, people of the South-West would know that Jonathan loves them.
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