President Goodluck Jonathan did not shun the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Odulana Odugade, in his recent visit to the South-west, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati has said.
Responding to criticism by the Olubadan-in-Council on Wednesday that the President’s visit to the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, without visiting the Olubadan, amounted to ignoring the monarch, Abati said it was not on the President’s itinerary to visit the palace.
Abati told State House correspondents that Jonathan holds the monarch and indeed all indigenes of Ibadanland in high esteem.
He said the President had already been scheduled to visit Olubadan at least two times within the first quarter of this year.
Abati said Jonathan would visit the monarch during the forthcoming zonal rally of the Peoples Democratic Party holding in the city, he would also join well-wishers at the 100th birthday of the traditional ruler in April.
Abati said: “Let me use this opportunity to make it clear that the President holds Olubadan, people of Ibadan and people of Oyo State and the people of the South West in general in very high esteem.
“He considers the Olubadan a father and a great Nigerian and has enjoyed excellent relationship with Olubadan, the people of Ibadan, people of Oyo State and the people of South West.
“And that indeed since he assumed office, he has been to the palace of Olubadan to pay homage. But on this particular occasion, it happened that the schedule of the President indicates that he has at least two trips to Ibadan within the first quarter of the year.
“He will be in Ibadan for the PDP South-west rally and he is scheduled to visit and pay homage to the Olubadan. The Olubadan will be celebrating his 100 years birthday in April and the President has been previously scheduled to visit.
“So for these reasons you can see very clearly that there was no intention to ignore the Olubadan’s palace to pay homage to him. And in due course of course, the President will be in ibadan”.