The National Assembly and The Presidency have been urged to expedite action on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to provide Traditional Rulers the required framework that facilitates a strategic partnership with Local Government Chairmen in promoting the culture of peace and security in Nigeria.

The federal law, if enacted, will give legal backing to the role of Traditional Rulers and Local Government Councils’ traditional communication systems, surveillance, intelligence sharing, peace-building and community based security in Nigeria.

These were part of the recommendations made and contained in a communiqué at the end of a Two-Day National Conference on “Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers and Local Government Chairmen,” organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), in Abuja.

Participants at the conference observed that over the years, efforts to correct the wrongful exclusion of the role of Traditional Rulers in the 1999 constitution have all proven abortive; hence there is no clearly defined role for Traditional Rulers in the subsisting Nigerian Constitution.

They agreed that the maintenance of peace and security had always been a collective affair in our traditional societies but decried the gradual erosion of our core cultural values, which has brought about cultural dissonance.

Acknowledging the progressive and enormous expenditure of government on security, over the years, participants also identified the neglect of the traditional intelligence gathering systems, which existed in our pre-colonial societies to be one of the factors mitigating the maximization of the benefits of investments on national security in the country.

The conference had over one hundred and sixty-nine (169) traditional rulers from across the country in attendance, including the Obi Onitsha, Emir of Gwandu, Lamido of Adamawa, Emir of Lafia, Deji of Akure, Etsu Nupe, Mai Kaltungo, Mai Machina, Emir of Damaturu, Igwe Professor Laz Ekwume, and over forty-five Local Government Chairmen present.

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was the chairman of the occasion, was represented by former Governor of Osun State and current PDP National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, was represented by his Special Adviser on Special Duties and Social Development, Mrs. Sarah Pane; the Chief Servant of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, who delivered the Keynote address, and the Minister for Culture, Tourism & National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, who was the Chief Host.

The Technical Session of the Conference chaired by Professor Olu Obafemi of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), had six paper presentations by notable personalities, namely, the Waziri of Katsina, Dr. Sani Abubakar Lugga, Director-General of State Security Service (SSS), Mr. Ekpenyong Ita, whose paper was presented by the Deputy Director, Marilyn Ogar, Director-General of Nigerian Institute for International Affairs (NIIA), Professor Bola Akinterinwa, Professor Thomas Imobighe of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Dr. Douglas Anele of the Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos, as well as the Director-General of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Dr. Joseph Golwa.

Other recommendations made at the end of the technical session were that apart from increasing the funding profile for the culture sector and the sustenance of NICO as the arrowhead of the needed cultural re-orientation and rebirth, government should also create a better platform to facilitate greater synergy between security agencies, political office holders, and traditional rulers for effective peace-building and security at all levels, embark on ethical re-orientation on core indigenous values, grant greater autonomy to Local Governments as the third tier of government to discharge their duties, as well as grant special security votes to traditional rulers, to facilitate the maintenance of law and order at the local levels.

Caleb Nor
Corporate Affairs