By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – GOVERNOR Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State yesterday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the security situation in his state especially the crisis surrounding the Olubadan throne.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State briefing journalists after a private meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 10/10/2017
Governor Ajimobi who met with President Buhari in closed-door at the Presidential Villa, Abuja told State House correspondents after the meeting that though the natural ruler, Oba Saliu Adetunji, the Olubadan of Ibadanland had committed offence that could led to his dethronement, he will not depose him.
He also said that the recent appointment of Olubadan in Council by the Oba was politically motivated even as he said that one of those appointed to the council was a politician who was even eyeing to occupy the position of governor at the expiration of his second tenure in office.
Governor Ajimobi said another reason that brought him to the Villa was to appreciate the President for giant stride and the superlative performance he displayed at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly where he got international accolades.
Besides, he said that he made a request to the President to handover the Ikere Gorge Dam to the state to develop so that the state will benefit from the derivable of the dam.
Explaining the reason for his visit, he said, “I think my visitation was premised on two issues. First to appreciate and commend the President for his steadfastness and for hitting the ground running since he came back from his medical treatment.
“I think when our leaders do well, we should commend them instead of just criticising them all the time. I think I give him commendations for his steadfastness, for his performance, particularly since he came back he went to the United Nations, he made a very good presentation.
“The rendition of his speech was commendable. He eloquently delivered the speech, I think I appreciated his eloquence during that performance.
“Secondly, at the national level, his speech during the 57th Independence Anniversary was also succinct. He summarized his achievement till date, particularly in the area of security, insurgency and what have you.
“Also in the area of the economy, particularly diversification of the economy with concentration on agriculture and all the fallouts that we are seeing now on agriculture and his efforts on employment generation and generally averting the inflationary trend of the naira and the economy in general.
“So, I think by and large, security, economy and in fact the expanding of the social welfare net is also commendable. I thought I should let him know that.”
Continuing, he said, “Another reason I came which is also similar is the fact that to give him progress, report on Oyo state.
“Oyo state for instance, we are trying also to reposition the state socio-economically and in this respect I discussed with him at length on what we are doing to reposition the economy.
“To talk about the infrastructure that we require. For instance, we have a dam in Oyo state, Ikere Gorge Dam. That Dam is the fourth largest art dam in the world stretching almost 50 kilometres and we felt it could provide a tripod benefits to us in the area of irrigation, in the area of water supply both industrial and household drinking water.
“Similarly, that dam could provide us with the opportunities for farming and for energy generation. (It has a reservoir of 690 million cubic metres).
So, I felt that Ikere Gorge Dam should be handed over to Oyo state or we participate through PPP in resuscitating the dam such that Oyo state can benefit from all the deliverables from the dam.
“I also mentioned the issue of security to the President. Recall that Oyo state has been in the news because of the issue of Olubadan chieftaincy declaration. So I came to let him know that the Olubadan is my father. He is a younger brother to my own father and we have had a very long relationship, which has been father-son relationship.
“I assured him that come rain, come shine, I will never depose the Olubadan because he is a father and a son does not depose his father. Even though he has done so many things that could be used to remove him, I will never remove him. We have to continue to show respect.
Chieftaincy declaration politicised
“I also made him to realise that that particular chieftaincy declaration is being politicised. Politicians have hijacked it. Out of 11 council members, two of them are dead now and we have only nine remaining. It is only one that is not supporting it; and that one that is not supporting it is a politician. He wants to run after I leave office.
“So I believe that the Olubadan declaration issue is being hijacked by politicians. But let’s thank God that elders, stakeholders and well meaning Nigerians have intervened and I think reason will prevail. These are the things I have to let the president know.”
On what was the president’s response to report on the Olubadan imbroglio, he said, “The president was glad. He knows that I don’t tell lies.”
Governor Ajimobi while making clarification on his dam request, said that similar thing was done in Dakin Kowa dam in Gombe state.
According to him, “The dam was given back to that state. So Ikere dam can be given back to us as we are willing to make it work because it can serve Ogun, Lagos and Oyo State. I think we can make it work.”