Jonathan tasks royal fathers on 2015 elections

President Goodluck Jonathan, in Abuja, on Monday, enjoined traditional rulers to enlighten their subjects on peaceful conduct, during and after the forthcoming 2015 general elections.

President Jonathan stated this at the 7th General Assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), with the theme: “Sustaining the natural mandate of the traditional institutions in contemporary Nigeria”.

Represented by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, Jonathan said the traditional institution was a unifying force and acknowledged their contributions towards maintaining peace and stability in the country.

“This august Assembly of our royal fathers gathered here to brainstorm on topical national issues is not only timely but represents our shared commitment and consistency in promoting social and cultural harmony among our people.

“It also greatly underscores our unwavering commitment to the stability and unity of our nation, in the face of daunting challenges.

“Last year, the General Assembly met to deliberate and find lasting solutions to the myriad of challenges confronting the nation, which pose a threat to national security.

“I am glad that this year also, the assembly is holding at an auspicious moment to lend their sagacious voice on urgent matters of national concern.

“The timing of this year’s General Assembly is very appropriate, especially as it is coming at a time the nation is preparing for the forthcoming general elections.

“As royal fathers, such a time calls for your wise counsel and the enlightenment of your subjects as well as prayers to ensure hitch free and successful elections across the federation,” he said

President Jonathan called on the monarchs to join hands with governments at all levels to ensure the end of the security challenges in the country.

He further informed the traditional rulers that government was doing everything necessary to uplift the socio-economic status of Nigerians through job and wealth creations.

Also speaking, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State lauded the traditional rulers for their dexterity, urging them to provide traditional mechanisms that would address the security and socio-economic challenges facing the country.

Earlier, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, reaffirmed the commitment of the royal fathers to the peace, unity, justice and stability of Nigeria.

He said the assembly would deliberate on the issues affecting the country, particularly the preparations for the 2015 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the insecurity ravaging the North-East, among others.

In his keynote address, the Chairman of INEC, Professsor Attahiru Jega, assured the traditional rulers of the commission’s determination to hold free, fair and credible elections in 2015.

He appealed to them to partner the commission towards ensuring attitudinal change among the electorate and the political class necessary for peaceful elections.

The National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) is co-chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade.