President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged a fair deal to the Itsekiri people of Delta, while also extolling the patriotism of the Olu of Warri Kingdom, Tsola Emiko, Ogiame Atuwatse III.
The president spoke at State House in Abuja on Wednesday, when he received the traditional ruler and some of his chiefs.
He said: “I’m grateful for your visit, and impressed by your patriotism. I’ve taken note of your requests, and will work on them as soon as politically possible.”
The Olu of Warri said the visit was to primarily thank the president for sending a high-powered delegation to his coronation as the 21st monarch of the Kingdom, “and for your kind felicitation, goodwill and solidarity”.
He pledged the loyalty of Itsekiri people to “one united Nigeria, as we support your government’s aspiration to provide security and economic prosperity to all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, creed or religion”.
While describing the president as “a dogged patriot and fervent believer in Project Nigeria,” the Olu drew attention to what he called “some burning issues that are dear to our hearts”.
The issues included the under-utilisation of the four ports in Warri, Koko, Sapele, and Burutu, all in Delta, reconstitution of the NDDC Board, immortalising the first Finance Minister of the country, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh, and resuscitation of the Ogidigben EPZ Project, which has reportedly been abandoned.
On the NDDC Board, he said he believed the president would soon reconstitute it, “as an interested party, we genuinely want a better deal for us in the Niger Delta, as we believe charity begins at home”.
“By this, we mean that we Niger Deltans must be ready to put the betterment of our people first in all we do. Putting our people first is the only way to make our lives better.”
On the entourage of the Olu of Warri were Chiefs Brown Mene, Oma Eyewuoma, Thomas Ereyitomi, Daniel Reyeju, Dere Awosika and Mr Julius Rone.