The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, who is the Co-Chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), on Tuesday pledged that the traditional rulers in Osun State are prepared and ready to assist the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to achieve a credible gubernatorial election in the state, just as he promised that traditional council will be neutral.
Ooni, who is also the Permanent Chairman of the Osun State Council of Obas & Chiefs, gave this assurance during a special meeting with the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, and members of traditional rulers across the state at his Palace in Ile-Ife.
Ooni explained that the traditional institution remains a critical part of nation-building as it is the closest institution to the people, adding that the electoral commission has a lot to gain from its association with the state monarchs.
He added, “We the traditional rulers share a similar feature with your commission, which is independence and neutrality. We are not politicians and that is why we have control of all our subjects including politicians regardless of their parties.
“I must commend INEC for its daily introduction of technology into our electoral systems, which has made rigging almost impossible. To cap it all, we now have an electoral act amendment, which complements the advancement of our leadership selection process.
“Look at the one INEC calls BVAS, the introduction of that singular device has turned around the political fortune of our dear country. With the BVAS, the result of the just concluded Ekiti State Gubernatorial election was declared in less than 24 hours. This has never happened in the political history of our dear country.”
The Ooni further stressed, “Luckily for Nigeria and Nigerians, we now have an INEC Chairman, who is patriotic and well behaved. My advice, therefore, is for the commission and its leadership to continue to make Nigeria their biggest project.”
Earlier in his address, Professor Yakubu, lauded the Ooni-led Osun State Council of Traditional Rulers, for their roles in peacekeeping and the creation of an enabling environment in the state for the forthcoming election to hold.
Prof. Yakubu said, “We are aware that you have done a lot, I was here in 2018 during the last governorship election in Osun and I can see clearly that the atmosphere is calm, serene, quiet and I am absolutely convinced in my mind that you have done a lot to give us what we are seeing today in the state.”
“We kindly enjoin Kabiyesi to continue to talk to the political gladiators in Osun State; alongside the politicians and their supporters, to learn how to play by the rules of the game as there can never be a credible election in an atmosphere of rancour.
The INEC Chairman continued “Politicians and their followers must give peace a chance for the election to be conducted and concluded promptly during the remaining days of the campaign and after the election.
According to him, “We have put all necessary measures in place to ensure that the Osun people will be allowed to decide who their next governor will be. We did it in Ekiti State and we are prepared to repeat the same feat and achieve more successes in the July 16 Osun gubernatorial poll.
The Osun State INEC boss, who doubles as the Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Ganiyu Raji led INEC staff members to the Ooni’s Palace and described their visit as the Commission’s strategic engagement.
Traditional Rulers present at the Ooni’s palace during the visit, are the Orangun of Ile Ila, Oba Wahab Adedotun, Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Aragbiji of Iragbiji, Oba Rasheed Olabomi, Orangun of Oke Ila, Oba Abolarin Aroyinkeye and other Osun State monarchs.
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