An Ilorin based social political organization, Ilorin Emirate Vanguard has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate Bolaji Abdullahi of seeking to blackmail the Emir of Ilorin Dr Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari over the recent visit of the Turaki of Ilorin, Mallam Saliu Mustapha, to the palace.
The group said in a statement signed by its Convener Hon. Abdulfatah Salman that it was wrong for the opposition to drag the emirate council in the mud over media reports on the palace’s reported endorsement of Malam Mustapha.
According to the group, the media simply reported what transpired in the course of a routine visit by a respected title holder.
It said: “We have always known that the opposition is jittery of their impending defeat at the poll, reason why the PDP candidate and his mushroom campaign organization are always throwing around accusations and unfounded allegations.
“If they are not alleging that traditional titles are being bought, they are busy blackmailing and badmouthing their opponents, thereby turning what is supposed to be an issue-based, and impact-based campaign into a hate-filled one which is capable of unnecessarily overheating the polity.
“By wrongfully assuming the role of spokesperson for the palace, it is unfortunate that Bolaji Abdullahi Campaign Organization (BACO) are the ones dragging the revered Emirate Council in the mud with their over-politicisation of what is a normal routine visit to the palace.
“While the media has reported what transpired at the palace, there are audiovisual evidences that captured verbatim the entire visit. It is therefore not in the place for them to seek to give their own meaning to the visit.”
The IEV also noted that the palace is open to anyone who considers himself worthy to receive royal blessings .
“it is customary for any ‘dahiri’ (true son of Ilorin) to pay homage to the Emir, which is what happened when the Turaki returned home from his trip abroad to a tumultous welcome which the opposition has yet to recover from. He went to the palace to receive the blessings of the exalted royal father ahead of the flag-off of his campaigns and we make bold to say that the emir endorsed Turaki for the job as reported in the media.
“Naturally, the Emir also prayed for Mallam Mustapha and extolled his virtues as an illustrious son of the community whose immense contribution to the social-economic advancement of the Ilorin Emirate is known to thousands of indigenes.
“This is not the first time the Emir would do this for any illustrious son and daughters of the Emirate who come before him for royal blessings, and it certainly won’t be the last. This is expected of any responsible royalty that seeks the growth and unity of their subjects and it has little or nothing to do with politics.
“If the PDP candidate feels that he is responsible and illustrious enough to receive similar blessings, the gates of the palace are free and open for all, and we are confident that he would not be denied similar privileges.
We also noticed that Mallam Mustapha being a title holder in the Emirate is a constant headache for the PDP candidate and his team. But titles are a matter of pedigree; they are only given to those with verifiable and long standing contributions to the development of our community and the growth of the people.
“So no matter how much Mallam Abdullahi tries to criminalise it, the social relevance of title holders in the Emirate, like Saliu Mustapha, would continue to endure in our community,” the statement added
The group urged Mallam Mustapha to continue to focus on his campaigns and concentrate on real issues of progress and development that matter the people rather than be distracted by the antics of PDP candidate and any other individual seeking relevance.