The president was accompanied on the visit by the Oyo governor.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday visited the Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi. He lauded the monarch for his role in sustaining peace in Oyo State and the country at large.
The President, who expressed shock at the crowd that welcomed him at the palace of the monarch, said he had intended to make the visit private.
On his entourage to the palace was the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who received Mr. Jonathan when his presidential jet landed at the Ibadan airport. Others who accompanied the president were the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Olajumoke Akinjide, and other government and party leaders in the state.
President Jonathan said since the meeting was private, he was not expecting the kind of coverage arranged for it. He, however, remarked that as the head of the country, he had no place to hide.
He said part of his mission was to thank the residents of Oyo State and the southwest for giving him and his party, Peoples Democratic Party, support during the 2011 elections. He said he would not comment further to avoid being accused of campaigning.
“I thank not only the people of the state, but the entire South-West for the support we received in 2011 and I have come to reciprocate the gesture with the hope that things will continue as well. We are one, I remain your own,” he said.
The Alaafin, who initially declined speaking when asked about the President’s mission, described the visit as purely private.
But, while commenting on the implication of the visit for Oyo politics, Mr. Adeyemi said the president did not discuss politics with him, insisting that he only harped on the peace reigning in the state and the country.
He said the President enjoined him to join hands with other traditional rulers across the country to ensure that citizens live in peace with one another wherever they find themselves.
A former governor of the state, Omololu Olunloyo, who was among those who held the closed-door meeting with the President and the Alaafin for almost an hour, told journalists that the President was doing the right thing by his visit not only to Alaafin, but also to the Ooni of Ife.
He said President Jonathan should take a cue from Governor Ajimobi, who appointed children of the three most influential monarchs in the state to his cabinet.
According to him, the president can adopt this by giving juicy board or ministerial appointments to allies of the monarchs in the states.