—As Buhari new Service Chiefs meet behind closed doors
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday met with the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde and the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
This came after the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja 11 had also met with the President in his residence, State House, Abuja, Tuesday night.
The meetings which were held separately behind closed doors centered on insecurity in South West geopolitical zone.
Addressing State House correspondents after his meeting with the president, Governor Makinde said he came to brief him (Buhari) to be sure that the president has accurate information on the Oyo insecurity situation given the amount of fake flying about.
According to him, “There has been a lot of fake news all around and I wanted to be sure that Mr. President clearly have first hand information from me, which I did. We also exchanged ideas on what we need to do better, some of the programmes we have put in place to ensure that this security issue is tackled. So, that’s basically why I came here.”
On the specific issues he discussed with the president, he said: “Well, one of the issues I discussed with Mr. President is that Oyo State land mass is quite big, Oyo State is close to 29,000 square kilometers. If you take all the states in the south east geo-political zone of Nigeria, they are still not as big as Oyo State. And the state right now only has two Mobile Police Squadrons.
“So, I requested for more Mobile Police Squadrons to be deployed to Oyo State and also ask for support for the joint security outfit because, the underlying issue here also has to do with limited opportunities.
“The tension will definitely go down if a lot of our youths are gainfully employed. So, I briefed the president on what we are doing in that regard.”
When asked about his disagreement with the activist, Sunday Igboho, on the ultimatum for Fulanis to leave Oyo State, the governor explained:
“Well, we have a history of living together peacefully amongst all the ethnic groups that are present in Oyo State.
“For instance, what triggered all of this was that Dr. Aborede was brutally murdered, that is criminal, but on the other hand, Seriki, Alhaji Kabir has been staying in that same place for 40 years.
“So, quite frankly, the people we are after are criminals. They are the bandits, hoodlums, armed robbers, kidnappers. Those are the true enemy of the state and those are the people we will go after.
“The Constitution of Nigeria guarantees that you can live in any part of Nigeria, you just have to be law abiding, obey the local laws in such areas. That is what we are pushing and will continue to push as a government.”
The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu declined attempts made by journalists to comment on the essence and outcome of the meeting with the President.
But the Ooni of Ife told State House correspondents that his visit to Aso Rock was to appeal to the president the need not to allow the issue of insecurity in the country to be politicized.
He admonished that politics should be separated from insecurity in order not to jeopardize the lives of citizens.
He added: “I am here particularly because of all the issues of security threat here and there and to get the blessing of Mr. President, so that it won’t turn out to be very political because political parties might probably want to hijack it.
“And to the glory of God as the co-chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers, it is our responsibility and our fiduciary
duty to make sure that everything is right, all and sundry is in good shape.
“So, the take home here is the President has assured that it is not going to be a political thing because we all know the problem all over the country, we have a lot of bad eggs that mix across the entire country and we are having that issue again in the South West.
“So, I am here as the co-chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers to get the assurance of Mr. President that either of the parties won’t turn it to be a political funfair for us to just risk the lives of our people, our innocent citizens not only in the South West but the entire country.
“I am happy he has told me that I should assure other traditional rulers that we must work with them now. It is very important for us to work very closely with the government so that we can separate the good, the bad and the ugly.”
While stressing the need to separate “the corn from,the chaff,” he bemoaned the porosity of nation’s borders, noting with delight however, that the introduction of “e-border” would make policing the borders more efficient..
The Ooni further said: “Even our governors and other political rulers in different states, Mr. President have assured that they must work with the traditional rulers so that we can actually separate the good from the bad and get the right society in proper perspective .
“So, here, the objective is politics shouldn’t be mixed with the safety and the security concerns of our people. Politics should be completely taken out of it and to the glory of God Mr. President said he is fully on board with us as traditional rulers.”
Asked his take on the replacement of Service Chiefs, the Ooni said that the president’s action as positive as it would bring fresh ideas to the fight against insecurity.
He stated: “It is a very positive coincidence for me, it’s a good refreshment, there is a new blood, a new intake, fresh ideas will come on board and we have actually giving very positive encouragement to Mr. President that he should keep it up. It is a very couragous move for fresh minds.
“At least, there has been a lot of hue and cry of security issues in Nigeria now, we are not all safe but with what Mr. President has done and providentially I am experiencing it at the seat of power, it is a welcome development.
“Everybody in Nigeria will be very happy about it and we expect more of refreshments within the confines of this government because it is a legacy that he is building for himself and we will continue to support that legacy for the betterment of our country. So, it is a good thing that Mr. President has done.”
Meanwhile, President Buhari on Wednesday had his first meeting with the new Service Chiefs after meeting the South West Governors at the Presidential Villa.
Recall that President Buhari had relieved the former Service Chiefs after several calls to him to appoint fresh hands because of the worsening security situation in the country.
The new Service Chiefs meeting the President are: Major-General Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff.
They replaced General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Defence Staff Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai Chief of Army Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas;Chief of Naval Staff, and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.