Ooni of Ife, His Royal Majesty, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, on Saturday, told President Goodluck Jonathan of the personal sacrifices that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the August 9 governorship election in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, has made in his quest for the governorship of the state since the return to civil rule in 1999.
Tribune’s Abiodun Awolaja reports that the Ooni spoke when President Jonathan led a delegation of national officers of the PDP including the national chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, the Board of Trustees chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, among others, to the Ooni’s palace in Ile-Ife on a courtesy visit, preparatory to his participation at the PDP mega rally of the party in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
According to the monarch, in 1999, former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige, had prevailed on him (Ooni) to advise Senator Iyiola Omisore to serve as the running mate to Chief Bisi Akande, despite the initial agreement within the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD) that he would run for governor, asking him to urge traditional rulers in the state to support Akande.
“His message was well delivered and when I called Senator Iyiola Omisore, he did not argue with me, but rather prostrated and said “God’s time is the best,” the Ooni said.
The Ooni added that ahead of the 2003 governorship election, he was visited by the late Chief S.M Afolabi and his team, who confided in him (Ooni) that if a primary was held in the PDP, Omisore would win.
“They said I should call him again and appeal to him to step aside in the meantime.
“And when I called this young man to appeal to him, he did not argue with me but prostrated and said ‘Kabiyesi, God’s time would always be the best.’”
Omisore, the monarch added, then suggested Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who eventually became the governor of the state in 2003.
The Ooni prayed that God in his mercies would give his blessings to Jonathan’s visit and the request of Osun people.
The Ooni, who thanked the president for undertaking the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, urged him to give the people of the South-West a better feel of Federal Government presence in the key areas of his transformation agenda.
He said: “In the agricultural sector, cocoa farming, which is the main stay of the economy of South-West, deserves better attention.
“In the aviation sector, it would be appreciated if the ongoing upgrading of the Ibadan Airport is completed.
“In the transportation sector, it is high time our railway system was expanded to link the South-West with the South-East through the ancient cities of Ibadan, through Ikire, Gbongan to Ile-Ife, Ilesha, Akure, Owo and Benin, especially with the recent publication we read in the newspapers that your administration has just instructed some consultants to conduct a feasibility study on the probability of extending our rail lines within the scope of the present work going on across the country,” he said.
The Ooni further called President Jonathan’s attention to the abandoned Federal Government projects in Ile-Ife, including Ife water dam, Ife township dual carriage way and the Naval School.
He expressed the hope that Ile-Ife would be Jonathan’s priority whenever the administration decides on creation of more states.