President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, described the clamour for restructuring by different interest groups in the country as uncoordinated and not backed constitutionally.
Buhari stated this when the traditional rulers, leadership of Urhobo Progress Union, UPU and Urhobo members in All Progressives Congress, APC, of Delta State, led by a 101-year-old traditional ruler, His Royal Majesty, Dr. Laiyeguen, Ogbon-Ogoni Oghoro 1, the Ohworode of Olomu Kingdom paid him a courtesy visit at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Reacting to the request of Urhobo nation on the need for restructuring of the country, he said that calls for restructuring of the country may not have caught his attention owing to the parochial interest with which stakeholders were making the request.
On the need to reclaim Urhobo lands that were given to the military but had been left unutilized, the President stated that he had received many complaints from different people over land grabbing and non-utilization of the lands.
He assured to deal with the military officers who sold their lands, and promised them that his government will not forget Urhobo nation in his development agenda.
Buhari pleaded with the Urhobo nation to protect oil installations in their communities the way they protected it during the 16 years’ administration of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
He, however, told them that the request for Urhobo person in his cabinet might not be possible as the Constitution has specified that there will be one person from every state of the federation without mentioning a particular community the person should come from.
He said: “You mentioned something which is topical these days, the cause of restructuring Nigeria. Every group asking for restructuring has got its own agenda and I hope it can be accommodated by the constitution.
”I assure you that you are not forgotten and I am pleased you appreciate the appointments by this administration of some citizens of your kingdoms.”
The Urhobo nation had in their address read by Olorogun Moses Taiga, the President General of UPU, told the President to ensure the restructuring of the country, adding that there was serious hunger and poverty in the country which required immediate solution.
Urhobo leaders also demanded that President Buhari appoint an Urhobo indigene in his cabinet, noting that Urhobo was the biggest ethnic group in Delta State and the fifth biggest ethnic group in the country.
They Urhobo nation complained that the military was selling Urhobo lands that donated to them and pleaded that the President helped them recover their lands which they claimed had been unutilised.
“We urge the federal government to look into the issue of unutilised lands which we voluntarily donated to the military years ago but which are now being farmed out in parcels and sold for non-military uses. We request that such lands be returned to the owner communities in Urhobo land.”
On boundary crisis between Delta and Edo State, the Urhobo nation asked for the intervention of the President in resolving the issue as it relates to boundary adjustment.
“We appeal to Mr. President to use his good offices to look into the festering boundary dispute between the Edo and Delta states which has led to communal clashes between the Urhobos and the Edos.”
Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the courtesy call, on whether the Urhobo nation will vote for President Buhari in 2019, Olorogun Taiga said that the votes of the Urhobo people will go to him, if he fulfilled their demands.
On whether the demands were pre-condition for their support, he said, “Well, they are not pre-condition, they are requests.”
Meanwhile the fallout of the ripple in the Delta APC at just concluded national convention reechoed as the APC leader in the state Olorogun Otega Emerhor,who apparently made possible for the visit, was said to have been stopped at the gate by security operatives.
Olorogun Emerhor was conspicuously absent at the Council Chamber during the visit, but the National Chairman of Urhobo Political Movement and a member of the APC, Chief Ominimi Obiuwevbi, said that Chief Emerhor was present.