The Northern Governors Forum has inaugurated a Consultative Committee on constitutional roles for traditional rulers in Nigeria’s governance architecture.
The forum’s chairman and governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, inaugurated the 11-member committee on Thursday in Lafia, Nasarawa state.
Lalong said the inauguration followed the resolution reached during the forum’s engagement with traditional rulers and other stakeholders on Nov. 2, in Kaduna.
He said the establishment of the committee was important, considering the great role traditional rulers play in maintaining peace and security in their domains.
The governor noted that during the meeting in Kaduna, the forum appreciated the roles played by the traditional rulers particularly in containing the menace of the EnSARS protests in the North.
Lalong said that stakeholders from the region had collectively agreed to begin the process of giving traditional rulers formal roles in the governance architecture of the country due to their level of influence.
“Traditional rulers still command a high degree of legitimacy in the eyes of the people. As such, there remains the need to integrate the institution into the country’s contemporary governance system.
”That is why we believe that political and economic development would be more successful when rooted in widely shared institutional and cultural values which traditional authorities represent.
“Although this has been on the table for a long time, the forum saw the necessity of putting in place this committee to accelerate action now,” he said.
The chairman said assigning constitutional roles to the traditional institutions was not only because they are the closest to the grassroots, but because they are a permanent feature of Nigeria’s body polity.
He said through the committee’s platform and their engagement in governance, traditional rulers would contribute more robustly to the development of the society beyond the usual advisory roles they perform.
In his remarks, Gov Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State expressed confidence that the committee would present a comprehensive report that would enable the governors to work with other stakeholders, in ensuring that their Institution was captured in the next constitutional amendment.
Responding on behalf of the committee, its chairman, Retired Justice Sidi Bage, Emir of Lafia, said the committee would deliberate on recommendations that would bring an end to the long clamour for more involvement of the traditional institution in governance.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee’s terms of reference include, to review available reports by previous committees, panels and commissions on roles of traditional rulers in governance architecture and advise the forum appropriately.
It is also expected to propose defined roles for traditional rulers particularly in the governance architecture of the Northern States and Nigeria.
The committee would also make other recommendation to assist the forum in pushing for defined roles and responsibilities in the governance architecture of the country and the Northern States.
The Committee has eight weeks to complete the assignment and submit its report. (NAN)