Members of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) during a conference in Port Harcourt, Rivers State recently showered encomiums on a prominent traditional ruler, captain of industry and philanthropist, HRH Appolus Chu, the EgbereEmereOkori 1 Eleme for promoting unity among ethnic groups in Nigeria. Writes Mary Ekah
The opinion was expressed at the palace of the Egbere-Eleme Okori Eleme Kingdom in Eleme, Rivers State by traditional rulers across the nation who paid a courtesy visit to His Royal Highness (HRH) Appolus Chu immediately after a few days of rigorous deliberations at the 9th assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) held in Port Harcourt.. The traditional rulers in a show of respect expressed delight over the monarch’s deliberate effort to unite the various ethnic groups in Nigeria.
Speaking on behalf of the visiting monarchs, the AttahIgala, HRH Michael Idakwo, AmehOboni II, appreciated HRH Appolus Chu and the people of Rivers State for hosting them at a period when unity must be a shared byword.He therefore thanked the monarch for hosting the Nigerian traditional rulers who have come from all parts of the country to discuss on how to work together for the unity and progress of Nigeria.
He said, “We have had a very exhaustive deliberation at the conference of traditional rulers and we were exhausted both physically and mentally but one of us, the EgbereEmereOkori 1 Eleme, HRH Appolus Chu, decided to give us a special treat so that we would recuperate mentally and physically. He has built our image beyond our expectations in the way and manner he has offered us this unprecedented hospitality in his newly built palace.
“For those of us who came by air and even those that came by road, from all over the country, our presence here is due to the ingenuity of one of us, the EgbereEmereOkori 1 Eleme. So we are happy and we have decided to pay our traditional homage through our presence here wishing him more grease to his elbow and more prosperity in his kingdom so that he will continue to be a shining example to all monarchs in Nigeria and so that we would live in peace with our people just like it has been exemplified by HRH Appolus Chu.”
Idakwo, who stressed that although they were all exhausted after the long deliberation at the meeting of the National Council of Traditional Rulers but still put up the courage to pay a courtesy visit to a colleague who is naturally generous and caring, added, “Our presence here shows his popularity within our ranks. Our presence here shows the amount of respect we have for him.”
In response HRH Appolus Chu noted that coming together of the monarchs was to further cement the togetherness amongst Nigerians, build bridges amongst themselves and foster unity.
“It is good that after the meeting of the 9th general assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria, instead of you all zooming off to your various destinations, you decided that this journey will not be completed without pay a visit to a friend and colleague,” Chu noted.
The EgbereEmere of Okori who was extremely overjoyed for having his friends and colleagues pay him homage in his palace, said further, “My people in Okori community in Eleme here and the entire people of Rivers State are very much appreciative of your efforts in coming to my palace despite the stressful period you had earlier in the day. It is an honour.”
He said further that the essence of such visits was to create a synergy amongst themselves so that we can continue to work in oneness of mind as well as strengthen their relationships. “It is not just about us but majorly about our people because by time, traditional rulers form alliances, our people will also benefit from it. This so because on the long run, by our working together, our kingdom will also benefit more while various ethnic groups will co-exit peaceful as they make progress.
“When a strong relationship is established amongst the rulers, the subjects will also benefit from it wherever they find themselves. Through this alliance also, we can borrowed ideas from one another to further the development of our various communities and our nation at large.”
Chu said that the coming together of the traditional rulers was way forward for Nigeria. He said therefore that it gladdened his heart to have first class monarch gathered in Port Harcourt to discuss the way forward for the country.
Speaking on the theme for the 9th General Assembly tagged, ‘Community Policing as a Catalyst to Crime Prevention – The Role of Traditional Rulers’ dissected by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, HRH Appolus Chu said, “This very relevant at this time because of the security situation and crises in the nation.”
“Community policing is very significant to ensuring security in the nation because every traditional rulers knows basically everybody in his community. So right now we have been given the responsibility to go back to the grassroots and call everyone to order because when every community is in order, the entire country will be at peace. It is now left for all traditional rulers in their various capacities to focus on their primary duties. It is about time for use all to know our roles and responsibilities in this country”, Chu added.
The underlying factor in the IGP’s address was the need for a well-founded synergybetween the police and the traditional rulers for effective policing.Chu therefore stressed further that to rise above ethnicity; religion and sentiments, the traditional leadership was the only institution that Nigerians can look up to for solution to the deteriorating security situation in the country.
The EgbereEmereOkori 1 Eelme is not just a king but a traditional ruler per excellence, a devoted Christian, a philanthropist, captain of industry, prolific writer. He quickly spoke on his new book titled, ‘The Character of a King’, which was also presented to the public during the conference of the traditional rulers. Hesaid the book talks about the character that is expected of a king; the qualities of a king and his influence.
“The king and his subject are the two characters in a community, so what are the things that the king is expected to do so that the subjects will respect and value him as well as and take instructions from him, so that he will continue to earn the loyalty of the subjects. The king has to live a moral life that will attract respect from the subjects. When the subjects respect the king, his leadership will grow. So the book shows important roles of in the lives of every member of the community. It advocates leadership qualities for kings, to add value to the lives of their people,” Chu noted.
Also commending HRH Appolus Chu for his ingenuity was the First Class Emir of Misau, Bauchi State, Ahmed Suleiman, who said, “We would like to express our profound gratitude to almighty God. We pray that God will keep us together for long so that our people will understand what we cherish, which is one Nigeria. For HRH Appolus Chu, I will say thank you very much for your hospitality and efforts for uniting Nigeria.”
The Emir of Machina, Yobe State, HRH Alhaji Bashir AlbishirBukar on his part, said,“The fact that he has brought us here, shows that he is the man of the people. We pray that almighty God will help us to continue to strengthen this relationship and we pray that Eleme will continue prosper.”
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammad Sa’adAbubakar III and chairman of NCTRN who had earlier expressed gratitude to the people of Rivers State for hosting the monarchs who travelled from various part of the country to Port Harcourt for 9th General Assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria and for giving them the kind of first class hospitality they can find anywhere in the world, noted that the meeting would not have been held at a better time than now as they all were aware of the very serious challenge of insecurity issues presently across the length and breadth of the country, which have resulted in massacre of innocent people in various parts of the country.
“We in this assembly expressed our condolence to families of the bereaved because we believe that life is sacred and one life lost means a lot to us. We therefore request that government at all levels should rise up to their responsibilities of providing security for life and property of people across the nation.”
The Sultan noted further that, “Our coming together here is very important because it at least shows that we are still one united Nigeria and nothing will separate us. So let’s close ranks and come closer to each other so that we would uphold this country as we do not have any other. We all know that things are not well in the country and this is the time for statesmen to take up the issues at hand.”
Speaking on the theme of the NCTRN conference, he said, “The theme of this conference is very apt and we should realise that we are partners in progress for development. We are ready to help our government officials for free of charge to ensure that solution is provided to the insecurity issues in the nation. Enough is enough of these senseless killings in the name of religion and ethnicity. We all know that as Christians and Muslims, no religion allows anyone to take one single life unjustly.”
He therefore used the forum to call on government at all levels, especially the federal government to institute a very high power enquiries into all these killings across the country, adding, “and whoever has a hand in killing one innocent person, even if it’s me, should be brought to book.”