In line with resolutions reached during its last engagement with traditional rulers and other stakeholders in Kaduna, the Northern States Governor’s Forum has inaugurated a Consultative Committee on the Roles of Traditional Rulers in Governance Architecture of Nigeria so as to explore ways that traditional rulers would have more involvement in governance.
While inaugurating the Committee Chaired by the Emir of Lafiya, Alhaji Sidi Bage Muhammad I, in Lafiya, Nasarawa State, Chairman of the Northern States Governor’s Forum and Governor of Plateau State Simon Bako Lalong said the establishment of the Committee is important considering the great role that traditional rulers play in mobilizing their communities and also maintain peace and security within their domains.
He said though traditional rulers have continued to agitate for the inclusion of their roles in the Constitution, this has not yet realised, hence the decision of the Forum to make an effort towards achieving the desire as it will benefit the society.
He said “the Traditional Rulers still command a high degree of legitimacy in the eyes of the people. As such, there remains the need to integrate the institution into the country’s contemporary governance system. That is why we believe that political and economic development would be more successful when rooted in widely shared institutional and cultural values which traditional authorities represent. Furthermore, assigning constitutional roles to the traditional institutions will not only be because they are the closest to the grassroots, but also because they are a permanent feature of Nigeria’s body polity. They can therefore contribute more robustly to the development of the society beyond the advisory roles they perform at the moment”.
Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State in a remark said the nation stands to gain more if and when it captures the traditional institution in the governance architecture because they have a lot of experience and serve as the conscience of the people.
He expressed confidence that the committee will come up with a comprehensive report that will enable the Governors to work with other stakeholders in ensuring that the matter is carried along in the next constitutional amendment.
Responding on behalf of other members of the Committee, Emir of Lafiya, Alhaji Sidi Bage Muhammad I, said the committee will do its best to come up with recommendations that will bring an end to the long clamour for mire involvement of the traditional institution in governance just as it was obtained many years ago.
The Emir who is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court assured that the 11-member Committee will consult widely and get the views of other critical stakeholders during it assignment.
The terms of reference for the committee are:
i. To review available Reports earlier submitted by previous committees, panels and commissions on roles of Traditional Rulers in Governance Architecture and advise the Northern States Governors’ Forum appropriately.
(ii) To propose defined roles for the Traditional rulers particularly in the Governance Architecture of the Northern States and Nigeria.
(iii) Any other recommendation to assist the Forum in pushing for defined roles and responsibilities in the Governance Architecture Nigeria and Northern States in particular.
The Committee has 8 weeks to complete the assignment and submit its report.