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Alaafin advocates constitutional roles for traditional rulers



By Jimoh Alaanu

The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, has condemned Nigerian government for relegating traditional institution to the lowest ebb with little or no significance.

Oba Adeyemi added that, “If the British who colonized Nigeria and introduced liberal democracy still preserve their traditional institutions by making the Queen of England the Ceremonial Head of State with powers over the British armed forces, there is no justifiable reason to throw traditional rulers in Nigeria to the dustbin of modern politics and governance.”

He stated this when he received the Owa-Obokun of Ijesa-land, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran III who paid him a courtesy visit in his ancient palace in Oyo town. Read also: 2019: Clergy-man reveals next Nigeria’s President

According to him, “Since the citizens who are the major determinants of the success or otherwise of democratic and development programmes are under the traditional influence of Obas, the position of the traditional rulers as potent mobilizers, advisers, mediators, facilitators, adjudicators and nominators should be greatly harnessed.

“It is therefore suggestive that the traditional institutions which are the only remnants of our pre-colonial political system must be preserved, promoted and strengthened through official constitutional recognition and acknowledgements.”

The Alaafin who  lamented that traditional institutions had gone through thick and thin in the country’s political history from the pre-colonial, through the colonial and to the post-colonial eras, further stressed that, “from the pre-colonial era, traditional institutions have been strengthened and weakened, elevated and humiliated, empowered and dis-empowered by emergent political/ruling class.

“Before the coming of the Europeans, traditional rulers held sway not only as the recognized political rulers of the states and kingdoms in Nigeria but also as the custodians of the people’s history, culture, religions and economy. The traditional institutions in the pre-colonial Yoruba-land had all elements of modern governmental systems and they perfectly suited the social, political and economic situations of the era with the overall goal of the welfare of the generality of the people.” Read also: 2019 election: I’m the best candidate, Fayose declares

Alaafin said: “The advent of colonial rule and the imposition of Western styles of government not only reduced the powers and relevance of the traditional rulers but also made them subservient to their subjects, the educated elite. Since independence in 1960, the political status of traditional rulers have gone from bad to worse with far reaching consequences for governance and administration in the country’’.

Despite the century long disturbances and turbulence, the basic culture and civilization which the Yoruba have built, endured and in fact political, economic, religious and intellectual developments were not only promoted, but withstood the tests of time.

“The Yoruba developed a highly sophisticated system of government with effective checks and balances, which was spiced with a high level of gender consciousness. The Yoruba traditional system of government is indeed and indisputably one of the oldest forms of democracies in the world. The Yoruba have unique and rich cultures and civilizations which have remained resilient to any foreign cultural domination in spite of Yoruba contact with the Europeans.

“The Yoruba people have utilized their rich cultural heritage to impact the Nigerian state positively in various walks of life in the past. Traditional institutions particularly the Yoruba Obas are part of the working tools that could make democracy and development sustainable and consolidated in contemporary Yoruba-land.” Read also: Zuma must fall, South-Africans protest

While describing the Owa Obokun as a “renowned author, and an erudite traditional ruler whose commitment and selfless contributions to educational development in the country still stands the tests of time’’.

Earlier in his remarks, Oba Aromolaran described the Alaafin as a “visionary traditional ruler with intellectual values both with wit and class, whose narrative and descriptive write-ups, coupled with a good retentive memory and a fantastic ability to remember dates and people is second to none.’’

He said: “Those opportune to have interaction with the Alaafin would surely testify that a moment with him is like an exploratory adventure through the school of history.  Alaafin made the best of every situation fate presented him.”

Oba Aramolaran however disclosed that he was in the palace to intimate the Alaafin on his 80th birthday ceremony scheduled for next month in Ilesa, Osun State, and that he would want the monarch to personally attend the event. Read also: Read why Saudi Arabia forbids women from driving

Recalling his age long and fraternal relationship with the Alaafin, Oba Aromolaran enjoined traditional rulers to eschew acts inimical to peaceful co-existence, but embrace peace, unity and mutual understanding.

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