The 6th General Assembly meeting of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), which held in Sokoto Tuesday, witnessed divergent views by traditional rulers on the constitutional roles to be assigned to the institution.
Their differing views were aired at the 6th General Assembly of the Council (which theme is, “Building Multi Stakeholders Synergy in Confronting Nigeria’s Challenges”), shortly after Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal disclosed that the National Assembly was considering the institution’s representation at the Council of States.
The Council has Sultan Saad Abubakar and Oba Okunade Sijuade Olubuse as Chairman and Co-chairman, respectively.
Tambuwal had stated that “the National Assembly was considering a balanced position from diverse opinions, for the traditional institution to be represented at the council of states.”
Apparently heeding the advice by the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, who stated that “I urge you not to seek a defined role in the constitution as that would restrict your God given powers as leaders of your people,” the Lamido of Adamawa, Barkindo Aliyu Mustapha disagreed that traditional rulers should have roles defined in the constitution.
“Traditional rulers have had roles since colonial days. Things only changed as time went by. Being represented at the Council of State is too high for us. We just want to have the National Council of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria to be recognised in the constitution,” the Lamido said.
He added that it was important for traditional rulers to have security of tenure where no governor would wake up any day and remove them due to any disagreement.
Disagreeing , representative of Tor Tiv Alfred Akawe Torkwula said that he was in agreement with the proposal by the National Assembly.
Speaking earlier as Chairman of NCTRN, Sultan Saad Abubakar, while assuring of the Council’s commitment to ensure peace and tranquillity, said that the traditional institution was always there “to assist you to ensure that this country moves to a higher level than it is today.”
Represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, President Goodluck Jonathan stated that the General Assembly of the NCTRN was important because it aimed “to consolidate synergy on new ideas, fresh perspectives and international best practices in confronting the diverse challenges posed by perceived and actual threats to national security, extreme hunger and poverty related social deprivation in our respective communities and beyond so as to find ways to achieve lasting peace and security in our beloved country.”
Jonathan added that there was no alternative to peaceful coexistence as there is no development otherwise.
“We must do everything in our powers to ensure that religion is neither misused nor abused to justify violence. We must also guard against individuals who use faith as an excuse to emphasise our differences,” the President emphasised.
Host governor Aliyu Wamakko stated that the achievements recorded in Sokoto state was resultant from the cordial relationship with the traditional rulers.
Speaking on behalf of state governors, Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam the institution of traditional rulers was important not only because of security but also values issues. “Your role will never be ignored because you keep and maintain our value system.”
States Governors that attended the occasion are that of Bauchi, Isa Yuguda; Benue, Gabriel Suswam; Gombe, Ibrahim Dankwanbo; Kaduna, Ramalan Yero; Kebbi, Saidu Dakingari and Kogi, Idris Wada.