BY EMMA PETER, ABUJA
The TY Buratai Humanity Care Foundation has called on the National Assembly to re-establish the roles of traditional rulers in matters involving religion, culture, security, justice and other ancillary matters in the Nigerian Constitution.
According the statement signed by the National Coordinator of the foundation, Ibrahim Dahiru Danfulani Sadaukin Garkuwan Keffi, forwarded to Kakaaki Repoeters, noted that the current constitution has relegated the traditional institution to the background with no constitutional roles.
He also recalled that the Ironsi’s 1966 Unitary Government Decree, Gen Gowon’s 1967 Local Government Reform Decree and that of Gen Obasanjo’s 1976 Local Government Reform Decree stripped traditional rulers of their powers and gave same to the local government councils.
The statement reads in parts:
“Prior to the 1976 local government reforms, which stripped traditional rulers of their powers, Nigeria was at that time progressive, peaceful, decent and full of beautiful traditions and cultures. But today with the influence of the social media and unrestricted contents detrimental to our culture and tradition we have continued to subconsciously aided the continued subversion of our values. To make any sovereign state weak and it’s eventual collapse is to subvert its cultural values first. Nigerias must be conscious of this fact
“The Grand Patron of the Foundation H.E. Lt Gen TY Buratai Rtd had observed that “modern Nigeria’s origin was based on the political, social and economic roots of Nigeria’s empires, kingdoms and chiefdoms firmly established before the colonial rule. These empires, kingdoms and chiefdoms were well administered by the Emirs, Obas and Obis. These traditional rulers wielded powers and authority that helped to douse conflicts and ensure criminals had no hiding places. Progress and developments took place in their domains.”
“As it is today, traditional rulers do not have the constitutional or other legal backings to perform effectively as they are not even mentioned in the 1999 constitution. This is a great departure from all earlier constitutions that recognised them, and even gave them some functions to perform. Such functions include maintaining peace and security which made the work of the police, the military and the government officials much easier”, it said.
“The TY Buratai Foundation agrees and supports the position of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria that: “Traditional rulers should be accorded specific responsibilities for conflict and security management in their domains. This involvement, devoid of partisanship, would enable active participation of traditional institutions in matters pertaining to the maintenance of peace and security in their communities.”
“The TY Buratai Humanity Care Foundation also concurs with the traditional rulers that ”The constitutional provision should provide for states to enact state laws to cater for specific peculiar matters relating to traditional rulers in the respective states. In addition, the Chairmen of the States Councils of Chiefs should be recognised by the constitution as Members of the Council of State as it has been in all the Nigerian Constitutions, except the 1999 one.”
“We equally at this point commend the Senate Constitution Review Committee, under the able Chairmanship of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege for the good job so far done. In the same vein, the Foundation calls on all lawmakers at the national and state Assemblies to support the position of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria. They should ratify all the recommendations pertaining to the roles of the traditional rulers by the Senate Constitution Review Committee. The support by the various state governors to their State Assemblies in this regard is also fundamental. The State Governor should allow the process to go through unhindered”, the statement added.
On 2023 general elections, the foundation however advised politicians and all Nigerians to abide by the rules of the game. Adding that Nigerians should be their own watchdog on the election day.
“The Year 2023 is elections year. We urge all politicians and Nigerians generally to abide by the rules of the game. Nigerians should be their own watchdogs on the election days. Any attempt to rig or scuttle the elections process should fished out and handed over to the security agencies”.