The Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, his Ondo State counterpart, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and other stakeholders have advocated the assignment of constitutional roles to traditional rulers in order to give legal backings to their responsibilities especially in securing their domains.
The governors were among notable stakeholders who graced the fourth edition of the Ooni Ogunwusi annual international leadership symposium 2021 on Thursday, in Ile-Ife.
Oyetola who was represented by the Commissioner for Education, Folorunso Oladoyin, expressed huge concern about the current challenges confronting the country and revealed that much could be achieved by empowering the traditional rulers.
In his words, “As the closest to the people at the grassroots, traditional rulers are critical components of government. They also have the responsibility for ensuring security, governance and economic development in their abodes.
“This is important because as all politics is local, all security is also local. The criminals come from families, homes, villages and towns. To effectively secure our nation, therefore, requires that government should work with our traditional rulers as critical stakeholders in promoting active communal peace building, intelligence gathering, good neighbourliness and responsible followership.”
On the other hand, Governor Akeredolu who was also represented by his Chief of Staff, Olugbenga Ayinde, prescribed that the outcome of the symposium should be compiled and transferred to the National Assembly for inclusion in the country’s constitution in line with the ongoing constitutional reform.
In asking salient questions that will determine the type of constitutional inclusiveness that should be given to traditional rulers, Akeredolu noted that it should not erode the institutional legitimacy and traditional authority.
According to him, “Will this entitle them to a share of the security vote? Will the present five percent allocated to traditional rulers be enough with the constitutional roles being assigned to them? Will they not be perceived as now being part of the government of the day? Will it not erode part of their institutional legitimacy and traditional authority?”
In the same vein, the Osun State Commissioner of Police, CP Olawale Olokode, while calling for a constitutional backing of traditional authority described traditional rulers as a great partner in progress to the Nigeria Police.
“In the 1999 constitution, there is no definite constitutional role for the traditional rulers. This is one of the defaults of the 1999 constitution. How do they operate without a constitutional resolution has seriously been undermined both in terms of authority and power?
“Their inability to intervene at the earlier stage of crisis has led to the escalation of such crisis leading to a serious instability, chaos and huge damage to lives, property and economic activities of the nation.”
In his address earlier, the Ooni lauded both governors Oyetola and Akeredolu and the Osun Police Commissioner for their concern towards the security challenges in the country.
He admitted that it was time for all of every citizen to come together and defeat this menace of insecurity.
The event which was held to commemorate the birthday of the Ooni Ife, Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi with a theme: “Addressing Security Challenges As They Affect Grassroots Development In Nigeria: Need for Constitutional Empowerment of Traditional Institution.”