Nigeria’s Northern Governors have made a first public move to grant political powers to traditional rulers.
Traditional rulers in Nigeria, like the groups of high nobility of old Europe, often maintain close relationships with Central and regional governments, but lack political roles.
Following repeated discussions and debates, the Northern States Governor’s Forum, Thursday inaugurated a Committee to draw out a plan for the inclusion of the group in Political decision processes.
“Political and economic development would be more successful when rooted in widely shared institutional and cultural values which traditional authorities represent,” said Governor Simon Lalong, the Chairman oh the Northern Governors Forum.
When formally allotted Constitutional roles, the institution would function beyond its current advisory roles to government, Lalong said.
Traditional rulers have “a lot of experience and serve as the conscience of the people,” said Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, at the inauguration of the committee in Lafia.
The committee headed by Emir of Lafiya, Alhaji Sidi Bage Muhammad I, Governor Sule is sure would produce reports that would be useful in the next national constitutional amendment.
Chairman of the Committee, Emir Sidi Bage Muhammad I, pledged to consult widely, to help solve the long clamour for inclusion of traditional rulers in governance.
The Committee, a statement from Governor Lalong’s Director of Press, Simon Macham is to review reports of previous committees, panels and commissions on roles of Traditional Rulers in Governance, propose defined roles for Traditional rulers and make any other recommendations on the issue. The assignment will last eight weeks, the statement says.