The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says he hold the Ilorin Emirate and all the nation’s traditional institutions in very high esteem.
The minister made this known in a statement on Wednesday made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
The minister also refuted allegations that he belittled the Ilorin traditional institution, adding that he would never do anything to bring the traditional institution to disrepute.
Mohammed, who is an indigene of Kwara, stressed that he would never downplay the importance of the Ilorin Emirate, which is a father to all.
“My attention has been drawn to a press conference addressed by the Ilorin Emirate Magaji/Alangua Forum in Ilorin on Tuesday.
“At the press conference, I was alleged to have said that the ‘Berlin Wall’ of the Ilorin Emirate had been broken by the outcome of the Nov. 17 bye-election in the Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency of Kwara State.
“Those who made the allegation referred to a news item published in The Nation newspaper of Nov. 19, entitled ‘Kwara Berlin Wall Broken, Says Lai Mohammed.’
“While it is indeed true that I mentioned the Berlin Wall in my speech at the victory rally in my country home in Oro on Sunday, 18 Nov. 2018, it was undoubtedly in reference to the stranglehold of the Saraki political dynasty on Kwara politics,’’ he said.
The minister added: “Not once did I mention the Ilorin Emirate during that speech, and I challenge anyone who has any evidence to the contrary to release such.
“It is instructive that the news item that was referenced by those who made the allegation never mentioned Ilorin Emirate or made any reference to the traditional institution.’’
Mohammed said those who tried to inject the Ilorin Emirate into the whole issue acted out of desperation `considering that they are yet to recover from the devastating defeat they suffered in the bye-election.’
“Those who are grappling at straws, having realised that their hegemonic hold on Kwara State is coming to an end, are the instigators of this lie from hell that the Berlin Wall of the Emirates has been broken.
“The traditional chiefs who echoed the fake news concocted by the fading political warlords of Kwara should be wary of doing anyone’s hatchet jobs.
“They should not allow themselves to be used to denigrate the revered Ilorin Emirate, which should be absolutely non-partisan.
“The traditional chiefs must realise that it is only by standing up for truth and justice that they can most effectively play their role of maintaining the ‘ever solid wall of peace, unity, progress and stability’ in the Emirate,’’ he said.
The minister reiterated that the defeat suffered by the “tormentors of Kwara’’ on Nov. 17 was a sign of what they should expect in the forthcoming general elections in the state.
He said no amount of lies or other acts of desperation would save them from the imminent defeat.
“Power flows from the people, and it is clear that the people of Kwara have totally rejected those who have appropriated the state’s commonwealth to themselves to the detriment of the long suffering people of the State,’’ he said. (NAN)