• Hon. Deacon Sergius Ogun

Implications of State Governments in Traditional Rulers


This is a rejoinder to a previous article published by me about the powers of state governments to remove and replace Traditional Rulers without recourse to the method of ascension and succession traditionally practiced by the people of the community.

The previous article outlined the origin of the current crisis rocking Uromi and the steps taken by HRH Anslem Edenojie II the Ojuromi of Uromi tol placate the state government and avoid the inevitable consequences of an attempt to denigrate the office of the Onojie.

Like I stated in my last article , the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law of 1979 has its roots firmly placed in the colonial mentality which does not recognise the rights of the people to choose their own traditions and Traditional Rulers and empowers the Government to unilaterally supplant any Traditional Ruler who refuses to tow the line of the government of the day.

As a well meaning indigene of Edo State, I call on the members of the Edo State House of Assembly to immediately commence the process of amending the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law of 1979 to expressly recognise the Primogeniture Tradition in several Communities in the State.

The constitutional responsibility of the State House of Assembly is to make laws for the peace and good governance of the State. The sections of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law 1979 regarding removal and replacement of Traditional Rulers without recourse to the Traditional structure and beliefs of the people are capable of causing crisis and public disaffection in the State.

It is a universally accepted norm that outgoing Chief Executives go the extra mile to avoid making changes or appointments that are likely to generate controversy or make the state ungovernable for the incoming government.

State governors in the same vein even in Nigeria have in recent times offered Amnesty and taken other reconciliatory steps during the twilight of their administrations to lay the proper framework for their successors.

It is in recognition of this principle that Edward Snowden appealed to outgoing President Barack Obama of the United States for clemency.

Back home in Nigeria , former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan pardoned several death row inmates on the eve of his departure and this is worthy of commendation.

It is therefore very shocking that former Governor Oshiomole did not take any of the aforementioned paths to peacefully resolve the ongoing crisis concerning the Onojie with complete disregard for all the steps the Onojie has taken to embrace peace and eschew confrontation . Now that a new Governor has just been inaugurated in Edo State , one can only hope that the new caretaker Governor will immediately take steps to correct the mistakes of his predecessor by embracing peace and dialogue to resolve all pending issues in the State.

Considering the Constitutional requirement for executive assent as part of the lawmaking process I also enjoin Godwin Obaseki the caretaker Governor to support the House of Assembly in this important task which will correct the anomalies enshrined by the British colonialists.

There is no gain saying the fact that the number one function of Government is to secure the lives and property of the citizens and that function requires the Government to think out of the box and come up with novel ways to ensure that peace and order is maintained.

By Hon. Deacon Sergius Oseasochie Ogun Member, House of Representatives Representing Esan North – East / Esan South East Federal Constituency

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