Traditional rulers have been assured of constitutional roles in the current administration.
Senate President Godswill Akpabio stated this on Monday while playing host to the royal fathers from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, noting that this would be made possible through a constitutional amendment.
The assurance was in response to the request made to that effect by the traditional rulers, who said the roles of the royal fathers in governance, particularly on security matters, are very important.
Akpabio said: “Your request for constitutional role in governance is not strange to us, and in particular, to me based on my background. My late grandfather was a traditional ruler and, in fact, one of the warrant officers used by the colonial masters for effective implementation of indirect rule.
“During the period, traditional rulers effectively tackled issues of safety and security in their various domains.
“It is my belief and that of the entire Senate leadership here that if traditional rulers are constitutionally engaged in governance at the grassroots, the myriad of security challenges facing the country would be things of the past.
“You, traditional fathers, are reservoirs of information highly needed at the grassroots. Your journey to us today on this request would surely not be in vain.”
Earlier in his speech on behalf of the traditional rulers, the Etsu of Nupe, Dr Yahaya Abubakar, who represented the chairman of the National Traditional Council of Nigeria, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, said the constitutional role of traditional rulers was expunged by the framers of the 1979 Constitution.
He lamented that all efforts made by traditional rulers across the country under the aegis of the National Council of Traditional Rulers to get back their role had not yielded any fruit.
“The most recent of such efforts was the one made during the 9th National Assembly, which didn’t scale through as a result of failure to get the required votes in the Senate for the demand despite succeeding in the House of Representatives,” he lamented.