President Muhammadu Buhari has lauded traditional rulers in the country for their contributions to nation-building and peaceful coexistence.
Mr Buhari made the commendation at Izhia autonomous community, Ohaukwu local government Area of Ebonyi, during the 80th birthday and 41 anniversaries of the coronation of His Royal Majesty, Israel Chibueze-Agbo, as the traditional ruler of Izhia.
Chibueze-Agbo was installed as the ‘Ogaba Idu II of Izhia in 1978.
The president who was represented by Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science, Innovation and Technology noted that the roles and contributions of traditional rulers in nation-building and sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy could not be over emphasised.
Mr Buhari said that many traditional rulers in Nigeria worked very hard to preserve Nigeria’s peace which was essential for unity and development.
He noted that there could be no development without peace and unity, and commended royal fathers for offering selfless service for unity of the country.
He congratulated Chibueze-Agbo for maintaining peace in his domain and for ensuring that peace reigned among the neigbouring communities, especially Igala land in Kogi.
He said that the peaceful relationship between the people of Izhia, Igala and her other neighbours would further unite the country, adding that there was nothing as important as the unity of Nigeria.
“We commend our traditional rulers for their contributions to peace and nation-building, we know that many of our traditional rulers made enormous sacrifices to preserve the peace and unity of our dear nation.
“We know that peace is very essential for national development and there cannot be any development without peace.
“I commend his majesty for maintaining peace in this part of the country and I am very happy that the people of Ebonyi have very special relationship with their brothers and sisters in Igala land and their neighbours in other neighbouring communities.
“We believe that this relationship will help to further unite our country because there is nothing as important as the unity of Nigeria.
“The greatness of Nigeria is not only important to Nigerians, it is also important to all the people in the continent of Africa and the world,” Buhari said.
He described the celebration as an ‘uncommon’ event and congratulated the monarch for attaining the age of 80 and for celebrating 41-year on the throne.
”On behalf of myself and the Federal Government, I wish to express deep heart felt felicitations to your majesty, your kingdom and to government and people of Ebonyi for this uncommon favour and to wish you many more years of good health”, he added.
Chibueze-Agbo expressed gratitude to God for His grace upon his life and appreciated Mr President and others who came to celebrate with him and the kingdom on his 80th birthday and 41 anniversary of ascension to the throne.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that traditional titles were bestowed on the President, the Minister and Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe, at the occasion.
The event attracted dignitaries from all walks of life, including His Royal Majesty, Idakwo Ameh Oboni II, Attah of Igala in Kogi.