By: Willy Punvwet,
Governor Simon Bako of Plateau State has said that assigning constitutional roles to Traditional Rulers would be based on the fact that, they are the closest to the grassroots, but rather it is because they are a permanent feature of Nigeria’s body polity.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Consultative Committee on the Role of Traditional Rulers in Governance Architecture of Nigeria held in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital, yesterday, Wednesday, Governor Lalong opined that, they were conscious of the fact that, “Giving Traditional Rulers additional roles will surely require constitutional amendments’.
Governor Lalong pointing out that, the Committee that has been set up would look into the matter and be able to advise the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) on how best to pursue this desire.
Governor Lalong, who is also the Chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) re-emphasized the fact that, Traditional institutions plays a very significant role in the governance of the Nation despite not having a formal role within the construction.
He said, “In spite of all these, Traditional Rulers still command high degree of legitimacy in the eyes of the people”.
Adding that, “There was the great need to integrate the institution into the country’s contemporary governance system”.
Governor Lalong, commented the Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Sidi Bage Muhammad 1, for accepting to serve in the Committee, as well as, preside over it as Chairman, despite his tight schedules.
Governor Lalong, who spelt out the Committee’s Terms of Reference, said it includes among others, “The review of available reports earlier submitted by previous Committees, Panels and Commissions, on the roles of Traditional Rulers in governance Architecture and advising the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) appropriately, to propose defined roles for Traditional Rulers, particularly, in the governance Architecture of Northern States and Nigeria and any other recommendations to assist the forum in pushing for defined roles and responsibilities in governance Architecture, Nigeria and Northern States in particular”.
The Chairman of NGF, Governor Lalong said the Committee has eight weeks within which to complete the assignment and submit its report.
Earlier, in his welcoming remarks, Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi A. Sule, noted with satisfaction that, the Committee’s assignment is not only for the betterment of Northern Nigeria, but the Nation at large.
Adding that, “If the recommendations of the Committee is enshrined in the country’s constitution, it would not only help in moving the Northern part of the Country forward, but would also assist greatly in checking the security challenges bedeviling the Northern part of the country”.
Responding on behalf of the Committee members, the Chairman and Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Sidi Bage Muhammad 1, promised to put in their best in order to justify the confidence reposed on them.