Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi yesterday said he would not depose Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji.
Ripples over installation of new kings has prompted Ibadan youths to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the governor not to make any pronouncement that could further puncture the peace in the city.
Addressing State House correspondents yesterday after a meeting with President Buhari, the governor said the issue had been hijacked by politicians.
He said: “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.
“I also made him to realise that, that particular chieftaincy declaration is being politicised; politicians have hijacked it. Of 11 council members, two of them are dead, and we have nine remaining. It is only one who is not supporting it; that one 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. I think reason will prevail. These are the things I have to let the President know.”
On the President’s response, Ajimobi said: “The President was glad. He knows that I don’t tell lies.”
On the purpose of his visit to Aso Rock Villa, the governor said it was premised on two things.
“First, it’s for appreciation and commendation to the President for his steadfastness and hitting the ground running since he came back from medical vacation. He went to the United Nations (UN) and made a good presentation. The rendition of his speech was commendable. He was eloquently delivering his speech and I commended his eloquence.
“Secondly, in his Independence speech, he was succinct. He summarised his achievements till date, particularly in the areas of security, insurgency and others, such as economy, particularly on diversification into agriculture.”
Ajimobi said he also gave the President the progress report on Oyo State’s efforts to reposition the state economically.
He said: “I came to talk to him about infrastructure that we require. For instance, we have the Ikere gorge dam in Oyo State, the fourth largest earth dam in the world, stretching almost 50 kilometres. We felt it would provide benefits to us in the area of irrigation, water supply for industrial and household purposes. Similarly, that dam can provide us with opportunities for farming and 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 the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in resuscitating the dam, such that Oyo State can benefit from all the deliverables from the dam.
“A similar thing was done on Dakin Kowa Dam in Gombe State; 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 states. I think we can make it work.
“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 father and we have had a long relationship, which has been a father-son relationship.”
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