The number of security challenges facing the country in recent times makes collaboration between traditional rulers across the country and government at all levels more critical.’
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, stated this when he paid courtesy calls to the Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom, HRM Dr. Emmanuel Ekemejewan Sideso; and the Olu of Warri, HRM Ògíamẹ̀ Atúwàtse III, in Delta state.
A press statement issued on Sunday by Laolu Akande, spokesperson to the vice president, said Osinbajo, at the palace of the Olu of Warri, stated that, “the role of the traditional council, the traditional rulership in our country is absolutely critical to security; and I am happy that this is something that you also not only recognize, but accept as a major function of the traditional rulership.
“We recognize that the traditional rulership of our country holds a moral place in the live and esteem of our people, and it is that moral place that we, very frequently, have to call upon, in order to mediate some of the conflicts that give rise to the security challenges that we have.”
Osinbajo further highlighted the critical role traditional rulers in the state played in resolving disputes in oil-producing communities.
“For example, the deputy governor and I have worked extensively in some of the conflicts in oil-producing communities that had led to a decline in oil production, and we did so by going round to speak to various communities.
“We were able to achieve results just because the traditional rulership took it upon themselves to be front and centre of mediating these disputes.
“I think that the times that we are in also calls for that kind of intervention; and I will respectfully urge you to take this on, as a major task, because, just as have been mentioned, our country depends a great deal on oil production,” he said.
While emphasizing the Buhari administration’s three-pronged focus on improving the economy, security and the fight against corruption, Prof. Osinbajo noted, “we also recognize, especially with security, that very few administrations, have been confronted with the plethora of security challenges that we have been confronted with.
“Frankly, when you look at the sheer number and range of those security challenges, it is evident that that it is necessary to have a leader such as President Buhari to be able to even take on those challenges.”
While again congratulating the Olu of Warri on his ascension, the Vice President stated that “the ascension to the throne of your fathers would be for the benefit of the community and nation.”
“I want to say that the reason, first, is because you bring to this stool, not just the energy and farsightedness; but more importantly, your antecedents in business, in innovation and entrepreneurship. So, many are looking to see how this will benefit not just Warri but also our nation.”
Also, while at the Palace of Ovie of Uvwie, the vice president acknowledged the role of traditional rulers, including the monarch, in keeping law and order and maintaining peace in all their communities.
“This was a place that was known for a bit more turbulence than many other parts of the state. But today, we see that it is a very peaceful community; a peaceful kingdom and it is all on the account of the fact that there is a moral orbit that only the traditional rulership can operate in; and even our laws; fidelity to our laws is really first and foremost, based on the foundation of people’s respect for law and order as proffered by the traditional rulership.
“Going by the track record that we see even in this kingdom, it is very evident that your role has been instrumental in keeping the peace here. We are extremely proud of the work that you are doing. I think it is a good example and a good way by which we can continue to propagate the importance of traditional rulers in governance in Nigeria,” he said.
The Olu of Warri acknowledged that traditional rulers should, indeed, be bridge-builders between government and the people.
He said: “We want to once again, present ourselves as the number one partners with the federal and state governments… we are looking forward to having discussions with the Federal Government and governments in general so that we are able to think outside the box to maximize the best for our people going forward.
“We, as a people, have always been law-abiding; we always work with security agencies and we will continue to do so. Please, let the president know that he can call on us and he has our full cooperation.”
In his remarks, Ovie of Uvwie thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the vice president for the respect they show to the country’s traditional institutions.
“That is the respect you have for traditional rulers; you have always been there for us. I am the Chairman of the National Traditional Rulers Summit in Abuja. The last summit we held, you represented the president; you physically came and stayed with us throughout the summit. Not only that, you gave us a lot of advice during that summit; in my community, we are working on that,” he said.
The Vice President was accompanied by the Delta state deputy governor, Kingsley Otuaro, and the president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata, were welcomed with drumming, dancing and singing with much fanfare at the two palace.