We went to see how Mr. President is doing

President Muhammadu Buhari (middle); his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo (second left); Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III (second right); Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi (right) and other members of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, during a meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa in Abuja… PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

HRH Eze Eberechi Dick Eze Mboko of Ngwa Amaise
The National Council of Traditional Rulers, made up of first class and paramount rulers from across the country, last Monday paid a courtesy visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at Aso Villa, Abuja. On hand to receive their royal majesties were President Buhari and his vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

The delegation of traditional rulers was made up of His Royal Highness Sa’ad Abubakar IV, the Sultan of Sokoto, the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, and HRH Eze Eberechi Dick Eze Mboko of Ngwa Amaise, among others.

After the meeting, Palace Watch put a call through to Eze Eberechi Dick. The following discussion ensued:
Your royal majesties went to Aso Rock to see President Buhari. What was the meeting all about?

Nothing special. We only went to felicitate with the President for recovering from his illness, and thank God that he is back on his duty post. That was all about the visit.

Are you saying there was no discussion about economic and socio-political problems bedeviling the country, and which were bothering Nigerians during the president’s long absence?

We only had one agenda, to felicitate with the President and that was exactly what we did. As you are very much aware, since the President returned, he has met with governors and key politicians. So, we the traditional rulers also decided to pay the president a courtesy visit. And that was exactly what we did.

Who spoke on behalf of the traditional rulers at the meeting?
Representatives from all the zones spoke at the meeting. The Sultan of Sokoto spoke on behalf of the Northern zone, while Ooni of Ife spoke on behalf of the Southwest and I spoke on behalf of the South East. There was no other issue discussed. But during my allotted time, I tried to chip in the problem of bad roads in the South East. I told the President that now that he is back on the saddle, he should note the problem of bad roads in the Southeast that would not go away.

And what was the president’s response to all your speeches?
The President urged us to ensure every zone makes strenuous efforts to keep the nation’s peace.

From personal observation, has the president fully recovered, or is he still recovering?
The President is back to his usual self. I had earlier met him two years before he took ill. From my observation, I think he is back on his feet, with regards to his health. The president stood up while addressing us, and spoke for about 10 or 15 minutes. He was okay. There was nothing to show that he was still very ill.

Who among the traditional rulers called for this meeting?
Our national chairman is the Sultan of Sokoto, while his co-chairman is the Ooni of Ife. They called for the meeting and we all had to be in Abuja.



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