The Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo, GCON, has reiterated that the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan-led administration was not only committed to the promotion of peace and security in Nigeria but will ensure that Nigeria was safe for Nigerians and investors.

Sambo disclosed this in Kaduna on Monday, 26th May, 2014, in his address as Special Guest of Honour at the opening ceremony of the 2nd National Conference on, “Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria’s Democracy,” organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), in collaboration with UNESCO at the Arewa House, Kaduna.

Represented by the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, His Excellency, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, Sambo who commended NICO for the initiative of the conference, designed to deepen the understanding of our royal fathers on the pivotal role of culture in fostering socio-political and economic development of the nation, said it was in tandem with government’s desire for Nigerians to collectively confront the current problems of insecurity, insurgency, violence, kidnapping and other negative tendencies which have bedevilled our development as a nation.

His words: “There is no gainsaying the fact that traditional rulers, as custodians of culture and repositories of wisdom, are critical to the sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy. Thus, it becomes a matter of serious concern when some royal fathers, who are supposed to be non-partisan in party politics, become active players in the political arena. The question is: where should our royal fathers belong between the throne and politics?”

While acknowledging that it was the responsibility of government to ensure sustainable peace and security in the country, the Vice President maintained that the complementary roles to be played by citizens remained invaluable in helping government and security agencies to check the activities of criminals and insurgents.

He therefore said that until Nigerians begin to appreciate that the maintenance of peace and security in the country was everybody’s business, the security challenges confronting the nation would remain intractable and therefore called for deliberate cultural re-engineering that placed high premium on our cherished cultural values where our traditional institutions have a critical role to play.

Speaking in the same vein, the Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, added that for us to create the kind of society we want, it must be a collective responsibility with government steering the ship of development

The Minister, who was represented by the Director-General, National Commission for Museum and Monuments, Alhaji Abdallah Usman Yusuf, said that the nation was currently facing security challenges with debilitating effects on development initiatives within the country and applauded the NICO conference initiative, saying it was indeed a veritable platform to deal with the current security challenges.

Emphasising that the maintenance of peace and security was of utmost importance to the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan-led administration, Duke lamented the fact that our culture and its values were being stretched and called to question following the recent onslaught of social vices and the general insecurity in Nigeria, expressing optimism that with the conference initiative, there was hope for the restoration of peace.

His words: “While government and its security agencies are working assiduously to bring the situation under control, gatherings like this must help in the restoration of peace and stability by being a rallying point of support, information gathering and patriotic counsel to government and security agencies that are in the centre of this affair.”

Expressing hope that the resolutions from the conference could be adopted into the ongoing draft of Nigeria’s cultural policy by the Ministry, Duke called on the Institute to make the submissions from the conference available to the ongoing National Dialogue on key areas of the status of traditional rulers and institutions in the country.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs

NICO, Abuja