President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday expressed delight with the stabilising roles that the Eweka Dynasty of Benin Kingdom had been playing in the affairs of the country.
Speaking while receiving the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II at the State House, the president said that Nigerians have reasons to be proud of the stabilising roles Benin chiefs had played right from the colonial era to the current period, not only in the Delta region but the entire country.
President Buhari singled out the role of the immediate past Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa I, whom he described as his “back bone of support” when he was Federal Commissioner of Petroleum Resources and the late monarch was a Federal Permanent Secretary.
“I cannot hold back my emotions, talking about my relationship with your predecessor. After General Murtala Mohammed was assassinated, I was moved from the North-East as governor to Ministry of Petroleum. Your father was then Permanent Secretary. My relationship with him was very strong. I have lost count of the number of visits to his palace as Oba,” he said.
President Buhari praised the late Oba for “stabilising that part of the country because of his firmness. I must also commend the immediate past governor, Adams Oshiomhole for stabilising Edo State.”
Welcoming Mr. Ewuare’s delegation made up of chiefs from other parts of Edo State, including the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun, the president commended the monarch for following the footsteps of his predecessor while reiterating his support for the traditional institution.
“I know and respect the traditional institution. I try as much as possible to understand why the authors of our Constitution kept silent about their role,” he said, noting however that this was probably the best thing way to preserve their neutrality.
“Your Royal Majesty, you are safe where you are,” the President added.
In his remarks, the monarch, who commended the president for his handling of security matters in the country, urged the federal government to establish industries in the rural areas to curb unemployment, rural-urban migration and human trafficking.