From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, says that for Nigeria to achieve a peaceful resolution of interpersonal and communal disputes, the Federal Government must partner with traditional institutions.
The partnership, the monarch said, would position traditional rulers to truly be formidable barricades that would reinforce the peace and security of the country.
Oba Adeyemi made the comments in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of his 50th coronation anniversary at the weekend, during which he disbursed N5.5 million to 550 petty traders in Oyo town, which was facilitated by one of his sons, Akeem Adeyemi, representing Oyo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, in commemoration of the anniversary. Each of the beneficiaries, selected from the four local governments areas of Oyo, got N10,000 each.
The Yoruba ruler also commissioned three solar boreholes, equally facilitated by Akeem Adeyemi, at Oluewu Compound, Pakoyi, Oyo town; Baptist Secondary School, Oke-Isanmi, Ilora; and Yara Parlour in Owode, Oyo town, on the occasion.
The first-class monarch lamented gross under-utilisation of traditional rulers for security and peace in the country, saying that they should be accorded pride of place in development efforts so that they can fully tap their enormous natural potentials and powers.
‘Obas (kings) must be seen as the symbols of the people’s past, custodian of their history and past, upholders and preservers of their culture, customs, an epitome of cultural norms and values of the society, such as truth, discipline, courage and responsibility. If the authorities adopt the traditional methods of conflict resolution as an alternative to the modern judiciary, it will go a long way in improving our current justice system, which has not only been over-stretched but also grossly abused,’ the Alaafin said.
‘The position here is that the Oba at the centre of the traditional justice system could achieve a rapid peaceful resolution of inter-personal and communal disputes which have become a clog in the wheel of our progress and development. The Obas have been doing this at the local level. But this needs to be backed and strengthened by formal governmental authority and recognitions.
‘Apart from the advisory role given to the traditional institutions in the current democratic dispensation, Obas should be seen as the coordinator of general community development as he has the natural capability to successfully act as adjudicator, mediator, intercessor and facilitator of community projects and programmes.
‘As custodians of traditions and values, we are the ones who keep peace in our rural areas and in the various local governments that constitute our various states. As Nigerians, we must respect our various religious and ethnic backgrounds, because it is God that brought us together under one country. Thus, when we understand one another, the security challenges bedevilling the country will be a thing of the past.’
Oba Adeyemi enjoined political office holders to redouble their efforts, be responsible and responsive to the yearnings of the people and administer with the fear of God.