The Olu of Warri, His Royal Majesty, Utieyinoritsola Emiko Ogiame Atuwase III, has declared his support and that of his kingdom for the programmes and plans of President Mohammadu Buhari, for the development of the Niger Delta region.
The monarch, who was last week installed as the 21st Olu of Warri, stated this while receiving in courtesy the Minister, Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, Senator Godswill Akpabio, in his palace in Warri on Saturday.
He said: “Let me assure and also encourage you to know that when things are being discussed at the highest level in this country about the Niger Delta Region, please see us as a staunch ally and a firm supporter.
“Let President Buhari know that, as he communicates his visions and plans for the people of the region through you, that he has a strong ally and supporter here that will help him actualize all those plans.
“We shall give all our best to ensure those programmes succeed.”
Speaking further, he stressed that “when the Niger Delta region functions optimally, Nigeria will get it right, not when Lagos or Abuja functions.
“When the region truly fulfills its potential outside oil and gas, with our seaports fully operational, good road network for communication and economic development, the economy of this nation will blossom.”
He noted that peace in the region is very important if development must come to the people.
“Top on the agenda in this palace is peace, unity and prosperity. We will not visit old wounds and divisions. All that would be expected of us to make the economy work, we will do that.
“If it is spiritual work, if it is to speak it into existence, we will do that. If it is to use our good offices to re-educate, re-orientate our people to see these things that we have in the region as belonging to all of us because we are all one, we will also do that.
“When we achieve this unity and peace in the region, most of our children living in Lagos and Abuja and even outside the country will relocate and help further develop the region, because there is no place like home.”
Earlier in his remarks, Senator Akpabio congratulated the monarch on the successful coronation ceremony.
“My visit here today is to congratulate His Majesty on the peaceful ascension of the throne of your forebears. At the event, I was only represented but I decided to be present today as a sign of brotherhood and to register my loyalty to the crown,” he said.
Akpabio charged the monarch to continue his peace and unity agenda in the kingdom.
“I know I must get a directive from you as the minister in charge of the Niger Delta region on what and what should be done for the people of your kingdom. Our job is to support you to succeed as the Olu through provision of infrastructure and other needs.
“Work on the abandoned Okorie road, I can assure you, will commence in September this year. My request is simple: you should also help with what you have already started, which is the spiritual aspect.
“You would recall, Your Majesty, that shortly after your coronation, you handed over the entire Warri Kingdom to God Almighty, cancelling all curses that was placed on the kingdom by past Olus because of how they were treated by the government. You used the authority given to you by God. Do not depart from your set goals because you have a mission.”
Akpabio promised to work with the monarch as a son for the development of the Niger Delta region.