President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to Nigerians to resist money politics in the 2019 elections, saying that it has contributed to the nation’s underdevelopment.
Buhari made the appeal on Saturday in a speech read on his behalf during the second anniversary coronation of the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II and the launching of a book; “The Benin Monarchy, an anthology of Benin History.”
The President who was represented by the Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha, also urged traditional rulers in the country to sensitize their subjects on the need to eschew violence and hate speeches, and preach the message of peace, harmony, development, elimination of the use of drugs and substances, security and economic prosperity.
Buhari described the Benin Kingdom as a role model for other ethnic kingdoms and societies to follow.
He further notee that the Kingdom is one of the oldest as it dates back to 1280 and the tradition chain has been passed down from one generation to another up till today.
“Let me use this opportunity to congratulate the Oba and his Council of Chiefs for this feat of preserving our cultures, values and ethics. Indeed, Benin Kingdom is a role model for other ethnic kingdoms and societies to follow.
“Today, we are not just here to celebrate the second anniversary of our beloved Oba, but to also make a public presentation of a similar compendium entitled the Benin Monarchy; An Anthology of Benin History to mark this historic event. This compendium I undoubtedly know that it will showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Benin people and the great Benin Kingdom.
“My personal interactions and relationship with the Benin Kingdom and its monarchy has shown that they are not just unique from the perspective of ecstatic but also as a driver of redefinition, regeneration and repositioning of the glory and essence of their kingdom”, the President said, adding that “the Benins have brought this same virtue to play at the national level,” Buhari said.
He said his administration will continue to encourage and ensure that our traditional institution continues to evolve with time while preserving our rich cultural heritage.
“Traditional rulers must continue to build bridges as is being exemplified today by the very good and outstanding relationship that exists between the Sultanate and the kingdom of the Benin people.
“They should continue to build bridges of love and mutual respect across rhe country, they must continue to stay abreast of changes in a digital world while jealously guiding and protecting the core social values, customs, and traditions that distinguish our respective people.
“The key areas that demand our passion are the preservation of our languages and the teaching of our history in schools. These should not be compromised,” Buhari stressed.
He also charged traditional rulers to continue to build bridges, exemplified by the good and outstanding relationship between the Sultanate and the Benin kingdom.
“Nigeria has started a process for another general elections and our traditional institutions or rulers have vital roles to play. Our view to sensitize our people on the need to eschew violence and hate speeches, preach the message of peace and harmony, development, elimination of the use of drugs and substances, security and economic prosperity.
“Traditional rulers should continue to build bridges of love, mutual, respect across the country. They must continue to stay above some changes in the digital world while jealously guarding and protecting the core good values, customs and transitions that distinguished our respective people,” he said.
While assuring that his administration will continue to deliver on the change mantra to provide security, fight corruption and improve the economic for the betterment of all Nigerinas, he appealed to traditional rulers to downplay or completely remove the negative messages of violence, ethnicity and religious intolerance and difference.
The President noted that traditional rulers have herculean task of promoting the cultural heritage of the people as custodians of culture and traditions commended the Benin monarch and council of chiefs for preserving the culture, values and traditions of the kingdom.
Chairman of the occasion and former military Head of State, Dr. Yakubu Gowon, said one of the tragedies of Africa is that its story has always been told by others from their perspectives and for their own purposes, adding that the result is that much of the narrative about the continent has been but a distorted picture.
“I consider the book an aesthetic masterpiece and a treasure trove of unequalled insight into the history of the great Benin Kingdom. It is not just a piece of intellectual exertion worthy of high commendation, it presents to the rest of us a palpable challenge: a challenge to look back at the richness of our heritage and engender therefrom, a process of regeneration of those values and ideals that can only trigger the birth of new, progressive, people-centred, excellence-driven communities, nations, a new Africa,” he said.
In his remarks, Oba Ewuare II who expressed gratitude to his subjects for the love and support they extended to him in the past two years, said he was using economic, diplomatic method as well as art and culture to empower the people.
He commended the hard work of members of board and contributors to the book, describing the book as “a great tribute to a great culture and a great people.”
Among dignitaries that graced the occasion were ex President Goodluck Jonathan, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad III and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.