The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Culture and Tourism, Rt. Hon. Ben Nwankwo, has said that the lower chamber of the federal legislative arm of government is set to give full support for the provision of constitutional roles for traditional rulers in the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Hon. Nwankwo, who disclosed this on Wednesday, October 17, 2012, during the Colloquium component of the 2012 edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST), at the Royal Shekinah Hotel, Ilorin, Kwara State, said the National Assembly, particularly the Upper Chamber, is in the process of reviewing the 1999 Constitution, where the provision of constitutional powers for traditional rulers is one of the burning issues that the Committee is looking into, stressing that the House of Representatives will give its full support and ensure that traditional rulers are recognized.
Represented by the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon. Abdulmalik Usman, the Chairman said traditional rulers are charged with the responsibility of protecting and preserving the nation’s culture and there is every need for them to be recognized by giving them constitutional backing to enable them administer their domains efficiently.
His words: “The only way we can keep our cultural industry afloat is to recommend roles for traditional rulers. As soon as we are ready, the traditional rulers in this country would be recognized in order to promote peace and the culture of this country. This is the only way through which our traditional institutions can be preserved.”
According to him, majority of African countries today have improved their economy through culture and tourism, arguing that in the absence of oil, Nigeria already has an alternative means of revenue generation that could be passed on to future generations towards making our great nation a better place to be.
On the issue of insecurity, he expressed the commitment of the National Assembly towards finding a lasting solution to the challenge, stressing that without peace and harmony, the potentials that we have in our diverse but rich cultural heritage, will not be able to take our great nation to the expected level of development.
He therefore called on Mr. M.M. Maidugu, the Executive Director/CEO of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), the organizers of NAFEST, to extend the unity forum across the country so that the unity of Nigeria will continue to remain strengthened and strong.
Dignitaries present at the Colloquium, the intellectual component of NAFEST 2012, were Hon. Abdulmalik Usman, Hon. Abdulrahman Badamasu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Ethics and Values, Dr. (Mrs.) Sarah Jibril, former Minister and former Chairman of NCAC Governing Board, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, as well as Directors-General of federal culture parastatals, including Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma (NICO) and Mr. Martin Adaji (National Troupe).