From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Asagba of Asaba, Obi (Prof.) Chike Edozien, on Wednesday called for the return of local government administration in the country to traditional institutions for effective governance.
The Asagba made the call while receiving Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and members of the Presidential Campaign Council at his Palace in Asaba.
Atiku later performed the commissioning ceremony of four multi-billion naira projects executed by the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration.
The projects include the Koka Junction Flyover and Inter-Change, Asaba Technical College, Leisure Park and Film Village, all in Asaba; as well as the Mother and Child Hospital Diagnostic Centre in Owa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area.
Receiving the candidate and his entourage, the monarch blamed the rising poverty and insecurity in Nigeria to the collapse of local government administration, saying that the situation needed to be addressed.
“I have watched for the past days, the campaign of the PDP here in Asaba, and today, you have continued to commission projects in Asaba and has given us the opportunity of receiving you.
“For many years, we remember that you have always associated with us and we are also delighted not only for this long standing association, but that you have selected one of our sons, our governor, to be your running mate.
“We thank you and we appreciate that choice. We wish you the best in this election and when you succeed, there are one or two things we expect of you and it is my responsibility to remind you.
“By all yardsticks in the economy of the world, Nigeria is not a poor country, but unfortunately, the statistics show that Nigeria is one of the largest poverty capitals of the world.
“Perhaps, the insecurity in the country in combination with poverty, points to the collapse of the local government system; which needs attention,” the monarch said.
He expressed hope that there would be constitutional reform to change the perspective, and that he was certain that it was one of the foremost items in Atiku’s programmes.
“My expectation in this reform of the local system of the country, is the return of the local government system to the traditional institutions.
“I think that should be the focus of that reform. The people of this country have lived time immemorial, with their kings and traditional rulers and to change the traditional system into a political system, is the worst change that has befallen this country since independence.
“And, I hope that the change to return the traditional rulers to the old system succeeds. Recently in Saudi Arabia, the phenomenal success of seven Emirates points to the fact that the kingship system can survive and bring prosperity to the people.
“It is therefore, imperative that the return of the traditional institutions to local government administration would solve the problem of poverty and insecurity in the country,” the monarch stated.
Earlier, Atiku had assured that if voted into office, he would carry out constitutional amendments to put traditional institutions into effective use to render greater services to the people.
The PDP delegation included Vice Presidential Candidate of the party and Governor of Delta, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa; National Chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu; former Vice President, Namadi Sambo; former President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto; Emmanuel Udom of Akwa-Ibom and Douye Diri of Bayelsa among others.