President Goodluck Jonathan got a rude shock as his visit to the Awujale and paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, on Thursday, to seek royal blessings met a brick wall.
The monarch told the president point blank that no Yoruba king had the right and power to compel his people to vote for a particular candidate in elections.
The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate had led a delegation to the Awujale’s palace in Ijebu Ode as part of his re-election campaign ahead of the rescheduled March 28 presidential election.
The Awujale, in his remarks, said his council comprised a mix of politicians across all political parties, saying he had no powers to compel people to vote as his people had the right to express their democratic rights.
He, however, advised President Jonathan to sell his manifesto to the people.
“In Ijebu here, it is not possible for any Oba in Yorubaland, not even in Ijebu, to go out and say, ‘vote for this, vote for that’. That person is looking for trouble. But we give them the opportunity to present their programmes so that people can make up their minds on what to do. I think this is a very sound democratic principle and that is what I have decided to do – to give you the opportunity of meeting with the people.
“Everybody congregating here, they belong to different groups – they are PDP members, APC members, APGA; they belong to various interests, and when they come, they get to the gate and shed their togas: PDP will remove their PDP (toga); APC will remove their own, APGA will remove their own; they are going to the palace to meet their ruler, their paramount ruler, to receive that important august visitor who is coming to their land and give him all honour that is entitled to him”, the Awujale said.
Oba Adetona also spoke against ‘stomach infrastructure’, telling the people to only vote for credible candidates.
“Each time I have cause, occasionally, to talk to our people, I have always told them, in the churches and mosques, that when you’re going to vote, make sure you back your sons and daughter who will give something back to you, not the ‘Ojelus’; those who will be honest with you, who know the way of God – those are the people you should vote for, not those who will give you two, three spoons and mortgage your future; it is not right”, the monarch added.
Speaking earlier, President Jonathan had reiterated his commitment to the implementation of the resolutions of the national conference.
He asserted that he had, in the past four years, laid the foundation for development in the country, and that it was imperative for him to get another four years in order to consolidate the achievements of the first term.
“One key thing about the address is the issue of state creation and other related issues that were discussed by the national conference which the national chairman did mention. We promise that we will implement the national conference document to the letter”, the president promised.
Accompanied by many bigwigs of his party including the national chairman of PDP, Adamu Muazu, and former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the president said he was at the palace to receive royal blessings.
“Your Royal Majesty, let me re-assure you that we will do our best, we have come here to seek for your blessing, and I led the team in 2007 when I was running as the vice president to see you, and in 2011, we met again, not in the palace, and today we are lucky to be led by the national chairman and I believe that our interaction with the people will help us prepare.
“We have received the address from the people and we will work with it. That is why we have a number of government functionaries with me so that, after the elections, we will put this on the table and look at the demands of people from all parts of the country”, Jonathan added.
Responding on behalf of the Awujale-in-council, the Dagurewe of Idowa, Oba Yinusa Adekoya, pleaded with Mr. Jonathan to implement the national conference recommendation on state creation so that Ijebu State could come to reality, after over 40 years of the people’s agitation for their own state.
He also asked the federal government to reimburse the state government for the funds expended on federal roads, especially the two flyovers constructed by Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
“We are not oblivious of the fact that the recent national conference made recommendations on state creation. We are using this medium to remind Mr President about the desire of Ijebu nation in this part of the good country we are”, he said.