Former President Goodluck Jonathan Tuesday charged traditional rulers across the country not to shirk from their responsibility of working towards ensuring that peace reigns in their domains.
Jonathan gave this charge in Oporoza, Delta State at the official presentation of staff of office to His Royal Majesty, Oboro-Gbaran II, Aketekpe, the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, just as the Delta State Governor, Sen.
A statement issued by the former President’s Media Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, said that Jonathan also urged the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom and other traditional rulers to galvanize their subjects for the social and economic development of their kingdoms.
The former President described traditional rulers as special beings who occupy positions higher than that of mere mortals, noting that as such, they should play key roles in the development aspirations of the nation.
“Although we have here present, the governor, deputy governor, members of the National and State Assemblies, as well as other dignitaries holding positions in Government, at the traditional level we have only two sets of citizens; the ordinary mortals to which I also belong, and the superior mortals who are our traditional rulers. They are superior mortals because of what they represent and also because we believe in them. And we believe that they have a lot to do to stabilize their kingdoms.
“The governor has made a case for peace and I don’t want to belabor the point. But I always say that there can never be development without peace. It is the duty of every traditional ruler to have peace in his kingdom. They should also be able to mobilise their sons and daughters for the social and economic development of the people.
Although he believes that the situation could be improved, Jonathan further affirmed that there is relative peace in the region.
“In most cases, when we talk about the Niger Delta, those coming from outside our region will always think that it is a place where people cannot gather peacefully to handle this kind of ceremony. But here we are gathered and conducting our affairs in a peaceful environment. That gives me joy.”
He also urged Nigerians to lend their support to the effort to fully harness the abundant potentials of our great nation, stressing that Nigeria will continue to be a leading country in Africa and the world.
On the current hardship and economic difficulties in the land, Jonathan advised Nigerians to be peaceful, law abiding and optimistic, adding that the country would soon get over its temporary challenges.
“I believe that within this period there are challenges in the country, there are challenges in the Niger Delta and Gbaramatu Kingdom, but all these are temporary. Surely, our society will get over it. I believe Nigeria is still a great country and will continue to go on. Nigeria will succeed, Niger Delta will succeed and Gbaramatu Kingdom will succeed.”
Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State Governor, described Jonathan as a father figure in the Niger Delta who had done so much to stabilize the region and country. He also described the former President as a man of peace who left good lessons for all Nigerians.
“He has done his best for this country. This country is united today because of the decisions that were taken for the best interest of our country. He is a man of peace and that is a lesson for us to learn, those of us who are still in Government and even our brothers and sisters who are not in Government; that in a peaceful situation, there is always a lot that can be achieved.”