Good Governance Is Elusive In Nigeria Because Political Actors Sidelined Monarchs, Oba Odidiomo,Farounbi Assert - EDU-BIZNEWS


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Good Governance Is Elusive In Nigeria Because Political Actors Sidelined Monarchs, Oba Odidiomo,Farounbi Assert

Two eminent personalities, the Olu of Igbokoda in Ondo State, Oba Afolabi Odidiomo and a literary Icon, Dr Yemi Farounbi have formed a consensus that   real progress manifesting good governance in Nigeria has remained elusive owing to the stripping of powers of the monarchy.

Delving into historical perspectives, the duo opined that the country strayed from the proper path when the British colonialists and elected  politicians, in their scramble for power, hijacked the reins of governance and reduced to nothing  the then well entrenched traditional system of administering the people. 

They further blamed the political class who are the major beneficiaries for relegating monarchs as mere tools of endorsement of preferred candidates during election seasons.

Oba Odidiomo and Ambassador Farounbi spoke on the popular monthly interview discourse, Boiling Point Arena on Sunday night.

The current affairs programme which held on Zoom and was broadcast live on a radio station, Sweet 107.1FM, was hosted by a media professional, Dr Ayo Arowojolu.

A foremost traditional ruler, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Prof Saka Matemilola was the keynote Speaker under a topic titled: "
Erosion of Traditional Dignity: How Nigeria 's Flawed Political and Judicial Systems Undermine Stature of Traditional Rulers."

Oba Odidiomo said: "Originally, the role of traditional rulers is synonymous with the task of governance. It was the responsibility of monarchs to collect taxes, to build roads, they had responsibility for the economy and for the security of their subjects.

"Today, traditional rulers have been stripped of their constitutional powers and have been reduced to hand-raising instruments for the endorsement of politicians. Sometimes these monarchs do this because some envelopes exchanged hands or sometimes they are coerced to do so.

"The political class we have in Nigeria today have succeeded in re-enacting an Animal Farm situation where only Napoleon is right and are now paying themselves huge salaries and buying bullet-proof cars.

"They have completely relegated the traditional institution and have tainted the dignity of royalty. There is no more sacredness to Obaship. It is no more clean. It is no more pure and today we have all shades of characters, land grabbers and people with criminal records as kings and this is my regret"

Oba Odidiomo who fumed at monarchs who tremble in the front of governmental actors, sometimes kneeling before them, said: "I can never be commandeered to stand up before any personality because I am conscious always that I  have two crowns, the crown of obaship and the crown of a lawyer. So, I have a Plan B and I cannot allow myself to be ridiculed".

"I think we have got to that stage where those to become kings should not be people who are not educated or those looking at the throne as a means of survival or as a place where they are going to eat", he further posited.

For his part, Amb. Farounbi stated: "There was a time we had the Obas completely in charge before the white people came. The British came with duality in their approach to governance. The British looked at the North and did indirect rule. They ruled the people through the monarchs or Emirs as they were called.

"But in the south, they inflicted on us a direct rule that circumvented the Obas. And that was where the problem started the moment the British decided that they were going to deal with the people through some elected officials.
"And by that time, we started electing local leaders, who were said to be products of democracy. Don't forget the white people told us that democracy, is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. So the people elected started seeing themselves in direct competition with the Obas. 

"They believed that the Obas were not elected. They believed that it was a matter of having the blue blood in them. And so they started to erode into the powers of the Obas, unfortunately. Whereas in the north, where the British was in indirect rule, they effectively utilized the Emirs in dealing with their people.

"But in the South, the British, the Obas, except when they had problems, either they have collected taxes or there was riot, they then invite the Obas to come and use their native wisdom to solve the problem. But they avoided the Obas, they were dealing with the people through the political class. They were called politicians, they were called local government chairmen. Eventually they became House of Assembly members. By doing that, they eroded the honour, the glory, the glamour of the Obas. The primary function of the kings which is to govern the people, have been taken over by democratic institutions that the British brought, which they didn't take to the North.

"The role of the Obas in managing the economy of the people have been taken over by the elected people. They have inflicted on us judicial system. So the Obas were no longer a person that administered or adjudicated when there were problems.

"So the British started the trend, and unfortunately, the politicians who took over from the British continued in that path, started. and massively politicized the respect, the role, the honour, and grandeur for the Obas. We even derogated them and started calling them House of Chiefs in our constitution."

Amb. Farounbi also bemoaned the neglect of traditional fortification medicine which he lamented "have been overtaken by today's technological revolution"

"So it's not a question of the spiritual fortification that you have. It is how fortified you are.  And you know, this fortification is a question of who is stronger. If you come to attack me with a dane gun and I carry an AK-47 and I am the attacker, you are as dead as a duck. Your local fortification will not work because technology has overtaken it", he stressed.

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