Jonathan holds secret talks with royal fathers •Visits Ooni, Emir of Kano, Alaafin, Oba of Lagos •Says my visits to monarchs private

 President Goodluck Jonathan, on Saturday, visited the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero; Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and Oba of Lagos, Rilwanu Akiolu, in what might be the beginning of a nationwide consultation with stakeholders as a prelude to his declaration to contest the 2015 presidential election.

Though the president described his visits to the traditional rulers as private, the move which is likely to increase the tempo of political activities in the country, saw the president undertaking flying visits to Kano, Ife, Oyo and Lagos to confer with the traditional rulers, with the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Adeyemi saying the president did not discuss politics with him.

In Ile-Ife, Osun State, he held a closed door meeting with Oba Sijuwade at the latter’s palace, where critical issues relating to the nation’s unity, among others, were said to have been discussed.

Sunday Tribune authoritatively gathered that national security and how Jonathan could get a ground-swelling support in the presidential poll from the Yoruba-speaking states were part of the matters that topped the agenda of the secret talks with the traditional rulers.

Investigations by our correspondent indicated that the meetings were at the instance of President Jonathan, who said in Oyo that he had visited purely to appreciate the people of the state and South-West for the support given to him and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2011 elections.

“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”, the president said.

According to Sunday Tribune sources, Jonathan decided to visit the first class traditional rulers in order to seek their cooperation for the forthcoming National Conference, which will have a lot of ethnic nationalities’ input.

It was also gathered that Jonathan believes that his government has received enormous support from the traditional institution and that there is the need to say thank you to the royal fathers.

“The visits are largely to thank the royal fathers for their support for the government and to seek their further support for the forthcoming national conference. It was also meant to explore options for peaceful co-existence and stability in the polity,” a source said.

The far-reaching influence of Oba Sijuwade, a prominent traditional ruler in Yorubaland and President of the Osun State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs, the Alaafin of Oyo, the emir of Kano and Oba of Lagos were factors that swayed the president to seek their intervention in order to make headway as the 2015 general elections approaches, Sunday Tribune gathered.

Jonathan arrived the Ooni’s palace at exactly 3 p.m. was accompanied by Senator Iyiola Omisore, the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Chief Jumoke Akinjide, among others.

Shortly after the formal introduction of dignitaries who joined Oba Sijuwade to welcome the president, the Ooni and the president retired into the inner chamber of the palace where they discussed for over 30 minutes.

The president, who left the palace of the Ooni at 3.45p.m, declined to speak with journalists who inquired about his visit, saying “my visit to the first class monarch was a private one”.

The Deputy Governor of Osun State, Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori, who welcomed the president to the state on behalf of Governor Rauf Aregbesola was among dignitaries at the palace of the Ooni.

Senator Omisore, one of the governorship aspirants on the platform of the PDP in the state, said the president had, through his private visit, shown that he holds the traditional institution in high esteem.

At the Alaafin’s palace, the president said he only came on a private visit but his host state government and the traditional ruler made it an elaborate event.

Jonathan, who arrived Ibadan airport around 2:14pm aboard a presidential jet, NAF 5NFGT 001, left for the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ife, Osun State, to declare open the 24th edition of NUGA games.

Jonathan, clad in white Agbada, white shoe and black cap, was accompanied by the Minister of State for the FCT, Chief Akinjide and was received at the airport by the Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and some members of the state executive.

The helicopter NAF-546, which conveyed the president, touched down at Alaafin’s palace in Oyo at exactly 4:09 p.m while he took off at exactly 5:00pm.

President Jonathan told the expectant crowd at the reception hall where he was received that he had come home to visit his father and was not expecting any coverage but acknowledged that there was no way he could hide.

Oba Adeyemi, who initially declined to make any statement, described the visit as purely a private one.

Former governor of the state, Chief Omololu Olunloyo, who was part of the entourage of the president, told journalists that the president was doing the right thing by his visit the royal fathers.

While in Kano, Jonathan explained that he was there to pay homage to the emir of Kano, Alhaji Bayero and to thank the emirate for the efforts at keeping Kano State at peace.

However, he was similarly said to have sounded out the royal father on his thoughts for 2015.

Wishing the emir good health, he expressed his administration’s readiness to accept the wise counsel of the traditional institutions and implored him to continue to guide and encourage the political leadership.

While receiving the president in his palace, Alhaji Bayero stressed the sanctity of the nation’s unity, assuring that the traditional institution would continue to work toward keeping the country indivisible.

In his remarks to journalists at the palace shortly after the visit, the governor of Central Bank and a Kano Prince, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said the emir’s message was instructive and supportive.

According to him, “The position of the emir is very clear. He is always praying and advising for peaceful co-existence.

The president was also said to have visited the Oba of Lagos, where a similar private meeting was said to have been held.

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