• PMB, Govs Endorse Royal Fathers’ Move To Salvage The North
  • Lafia Emir, Justice Sidi Bage, Chairs Committee To Lead The Way


By Waziri Isa Adam

Worried by the incessant crises and breakdown of law and order, beclouding the prospects of the future Nigerian society, it has suddenly become imperative to look inward and go back to the drawing board and identify the point of divergence, where the country had got it wrong so as to swiftly arrest the current trend of crimes against humanity and total insecurity that has befallen the Nigerian State.

The search for this lasting solution has led the searchlight beaming towards the traditional institutions as one of the solid foundations for solution to this seeming unending bloodshed which is fast threatening the survival of Nigerian State.

Indeed traditional rulers, being the custodians of culture and societal norms and values, with first hand interaction with the natural habitat of human existence, would have an enormous role to play in dousing these threats to human existence.

It is an indisputable fact that African societies, being humanistic and cohesive in nature, view man as being positioned in a continually living society; and as African people practiced no other form of governance than traditional leadership, the socio-cultural norms and traditions embedded in the traditional institutions have remained an integral part of every organized society in Africa.

Apart from being the powerful human tool for survival, the defined cultural norms and values also form the basis for the existence of every civilized society. These norms and values have helped in sanitizing the various societies both in the pre and post colonial Nigeria. The traditional institution in Nigeria, have for long enjoyed the harmony, peace and loyalty of their subjects. This was why right from prehistoric existence; royal fathers had and still wield much influence on their people and play significant roles in the stability, sustenance and continuity of the society.

Traditional rulers, who occupied crucial positions of authority in Nigeria and many African Kingdoms, were highly revered and believed to be, in some cultures,  representatives of the gods on earth; the situation, no doubt, was what prompted, in some parts of Nigeria, the implementation of the indirect rule system by the British colonialists for the success of their administrative system.

Alas, at independence in 1960 and beyond, traditional rulers hardly featured in the political scene; though some regimes made tremendous moves to reincorporate the roles of institutions in the constitution but to no avail.

Recently, the Northern Governors Forum, in the quest for a lasting solution to the incessant threats to peace in the region, decided to revisit the most revered stools of the forefathers for divination.

The Chairman Northern Governors Forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, inaugurated the consultative committee on the role of traditional rulers in governance in the northern part of the country, to come up with a template for the inclusion of traditional rulers as instruments for peace and sustainable society.

The Committee, Chaired by the Emir of Lafia Justice Sidi Bage, was saddled with the task of reviewing available Reports earlier submitted by previous committees, panels and commissions on the roles of Traditional Rulers in Governance Architecture and advise the Northern States Governors’ Forum appropriately; as well as proposing defined roles for the Traditional rulers particularly in the Governance Architecture of the Northern States and Nigeria.

The Committee will, among other roles, make recommendations to assist the Forum in pushing for defined roles and responsibilities in the Governance Architecture of Nigeria and Northern States in particular.

In his address, Governor Lalong said the establishment of this committee was in line with the resolution reached during the last engagement of the forum on the recent development in the country from the fallout of EndSARS protests.

Governor Lalong said the meeting which was attended by prominent northerners appreciated the roles played by the traditional rulers particularly in containing the menace of the EndSARS protests in the North.

Lalong said, “Their prompt intervention ensured that the hijack of the protests helped to stop it from spreading spread to the whole region thereby saving us the agony of destruction and vandalism that we witnessed in some States.”

“The meeting again revisited the issue of the role of traditional rulers in governance where we collectively agreed that our Royal Fathers ought to be given formal roles in the governance architecture of the Country,” he revealed.

He further added that there is no doubt that the traditional institution plays a significant role in the governance of the nation despite not having a formal role within the constitution;  stressing that traditional rulers play a significant role in maintaining security, mobilizing the people and ensuring peaceful co-existence within their domains.

He, however, said the governors are conscious of the fact that giving the traditional rulers more roles in governance will require constitutional amendments, hence the need to set up this committee to look into the matter and advise the Northern Governors’ Forum on how best to pursue this desire.

Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State on his own part applauded the role of traditional rulers in governance hence the need for their inclusion in the architecture of governance; saying that, “traditional rulers have the capacity to ensure peace in the state and the country at large.”

The Committee Chairman, Justice Sidi Bage, the Emir of Lafia, said the committee would do its best and do justice to the assignment given to them.

Speaking with Palace Monitor, Justice Bage remained optimistic that traditional rulers, if given the opportunity, will restore the fast faded glory of the society.

He emphasized the need for the cooperation of the government, independence of the traditional stool, provision of necessary facilities and good conditions of operations for the traditional institution to thrive.

In a related development, the President Muhammad Buhari has urged the 36 state governors of the federation to work more with traditional rulers and community members to improve local intelligence gathering that will aid the work of security agencies.

According to the President, “The sub-region is no longer safe, more so with the collapse of the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and the cross border movement of weapons and criminals. “Governors must work with traditional rulers. Try and work with traditional rulers to boost intelligence gathering.’’

Buhari said, “Security is important and we must secure the whole country. “We are thinking very hard on the issue of kidnapping. ”We will make it possible for the military to get to the bandits and kidnappers and eliminate them.’’

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