The Arole Oodua and Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II has warned the people of Ekiti state against acts of violence before and during the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state slated to hold on Saturday 14th July 2018, saying if the election is bloody in Ekiti state; other states will be affected too.
The Co-Chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria made this admonition Wednesday evening at his Ile-Oodua palace, Ile-Ife while hosting the British High-Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright.
He specifically urged the youths of the state to refuse to be used as agents of electoral violence and criminality, saying they too have rights to occupy the public offices of leadership such as governorship or presidency in the nearest future.
Ooni said: “What I heard happening in Ekiti state during this electioneering period does not make me happy as their father. Enough of crisis, we do not want any crisis in Yorubaland, where there is violence, progress and tranquility will be deprived, but where there is peace, there is progress.
“I specifically warn all youths in Ekiti state to maintain peaceful coexistence before, during and after the election, as brighter future awaits them if they productively discover themselves.
“Youths must refuse to be used for political violence that wastes their lives, because they too can become governor or President of the country in the neatest future.”
Speaking in the same vain, the visiting British envoy, Paul Arkwright who is also the United Kingdom Chief Observer to Nigeria on the oncoming gubernatorial election in Ekiti State has called for free, fair, credible and peaceful election in Ekiti state on Saturday.
He said the purpose of his coming is based on observing conduct of Ekiti gubernatorial election which precedes 2019 Presidential by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The British High Commissioner appealed to all and sundry to remain calm and shun electoral violence, saying crisis cannot add any value to the growth and development of the state.
According to him, British government has no interest in any party or any aspirant, but is determined to ensure that the election is successful without any hitch.
Arkwright tasked all security agencies not to be bias, but should ensure they remain independent and maintain peaceful environment across the state for the electorates and the INEC officials.
He expressed further that all other international colleagues will be around to observe the conduct of Ekiti gubernatorial election on Saturday, urging the indigenes to support the observers and INEC officials for the success of the election.
While presenting a gift of African Artefact to the British Commissioner, Ooni Ogunwusi appreciated and welcomed him to the cradle of Yoruba race which is the oldest race in the world. He confirmed that everything started from Ife Kingdom, saying continent of Africa belongs to all and sundry.
Ooni Ogunwusi acknowledged him for his compassionate love and maintaining cordial relationship between the two countries, adding that he has positively contributed to the growth and development of Nigeria.
The African foremost monarch lauded the efforts of the British government effort for giving peace a chance in the country, admonishing him to foster further trade relationship that is capable of improving the socio-economic co-existence between Nigeria and United Kingdom.
Earlier while presenting a British gift to the Ooni, the High Commissioner admitted Africa as the source of mankind.
He described Ooni, the Yoruba Spiritual Leader as an international bridge builder who is well loved by the British people and the royal family specifically mentioning queen Elizerbeth and Prince Charles.
He said: “We are truly from here. Africa is the source. You are a global bridge builder. You are well loved in the UK, your friend the queen loves you, Prince Charles loves you and the royal family loves you. Please keep the good work.”
Dignitaries at the occasion include: HRM, Oba Adesola Lawal, Laminisa 1, the Timi of Ede and founder of Esther Ajayi Foundation, Reverend Mother Esther Ajayi of the Love of Christ Church in London, UK.
While HRM Timi of Ede praised Ooni Ogunwusi for his relentless efforts toward taking Yoruba race to greater heights
He said: “Your Majesty, you have really made us proud in Yorubaland. I have been with you to America and Brazil. Your love for the cultural and economic advancement of our race is unprecedented and commendable.”
Reverend mother Ajayi in her own remarks prayed for a violence-free election in Ekiti state on Saturday and that of Osun in September this year, she also prayed for peace in Nigeria and prayed for a continued mutually beneficial relationship between Nigeria and United Kingdom calling Ooni Ogunwusi a symbol of peace and love.
Ajayi prayed: “God in his infinite mercy is with us in Ekiti, in Osun and in Nigeria as a whole. Devil will be shamed in Ekiti on Saturday as there will only be a peaceful election by God’s grace. So shall it be in Osun in September and in Nigeria next year. Amen.”