Our political leaders at some point were so afraid … – Ooni
THE Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, yesterday examined the role of traditional institutions in Nigeria within the context of nation building and said the non-provision of defined duties for traditional rulers in the 1999 constitution had been detrimental national development.
He also warned against the politicisation of traditional stools, noting that such could only engender disharmony instead of national cohesion.
The monarch, who spoke in Lagos at the 2015/2016 annual lecture of the School of Post Graduate Studies, University of Lagos, UNILAG, and launching of Post Graduate Trust Fund, urged traditional rulers to consider their position as a divine calling to serve beyond their respective domain.
Those at the event, where the custodian of Yoruba culture spoke, included the Vice Chancellor of UNILAG, Professor Rahamon Bello; Pioneer Managing Director of Guarantee Trust Bank, Mr. Fola Adeola; Dean School of Post Graduate Studies, Professor Solomon Akinboye; General Manager/Editor-in-Chief of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo and President, Ife Development Board, Prof Muib Opeloye.
There was also a sizeable presence of principal officers of the institution, academic staff, students and other members of the public.
At the lecture, which the Ooni graced with his wife, Olori Wuraola, the monarch, who was the guest speaker, noted that the traditional institution should be in the vanguard of re-enthronement of value system in Nigeria.
Speaking on the theme: Redefining the Role of Traditional Institutions for National Development, he argued that the call for constitutional roles for the traditional institution should not be mistaken for politicisation, warning that a politicised traditional leadership would only undermine nation building efforts.
According to him: ‘The role of traditional leaders in nation building did not start today. It has always been part of our existence globally. Every government in the world needs traditional leadership to survive. Traditional leadership is very pivotal to nation building. The leaders are close to their people, they understand their people more than the government. It has been part of our constitution, it was taken away and my prayer is that at some point, it will be brought back.”
‘’We, the leaders are to lead by example. Our political leaders at some point were so afraid, and that is the reason why it was taken out of our constitution. So, many of our ancestors misused the absolute powers of their era, but that should not be the case now. Traditional leaders should lead by example. We should practice what we preach. I remember that there are so many traditional rulers, who were dethroned. But this time, we will lead by example, we will bring our tradition and culture back to life. And we will show it to the entire world that indeed, we can work together with the government to make Nigeria a better place.
‘’Traditional institutions are very important because they have been there from time immemorial, people look up to the traditional institutions to resolve a lot of issues. It is because of the honour and respect that the office is being accorded that made the institution to have survived for ages. I will give you an example. It was the local vigilante which is a product of the traditional institution that was able to identify the recently rescued Chibok girl. That shows how close the traditional institution is close to the people. No one can know your home better than you do.
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