Sultan of Sokoto Calls for Review of Poverty Alleviation Programmes

  • Sayss Rivers people are happy with Wike •Governor to involve traditional rulers in project implementation

Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, has decried the increasing rate of poverty in the country despite billions of naira spent by government on several alleviation programmes.

This came as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said his administration would empower traditional rulers to participate in the initiation, implementation and monitoring of projects and programmes in rural communities.

The duo spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt at the Traditional Rulers’ Day as part of the Rivers Golden Jubilee celebrations.

 The Sultan, who delivered the keynote address on the theme: ‘Traditional Institution in Nigeria and The Challenge of Re-Engineering Viable Local Economies,’ noted that the billions of naira spent on poverty alleviation programmes across the country had not achieved the desired results.

“Poverty has been growing in the past decades. We need to examine if governments have judiciously used the funds accruing to them. We have spent so much money on poverty alleviation with nothing to show for it. It calls for a revaluation of the policies, implementations and strategies employed in those programmes,” he said.

 He noted that every section of the country has legacies that support hard work and urged the government to look inward to proffer policies that would accelerate the development of the country.

The Sultan stressed that the solutions to the problems of the country should be generated from within.

Abubakar also said his visit had made him see that the people were happy with the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike.

“We have been here for two days and we have seen how happy Rivers people are now and we have enjoyed their hospitality,” he said.

He said the Traditional Rulers’ Day of the Golden Jubilee Celebration of Rivers State is significant as it brought together traditional rulers from all the country’s geopolitical zones, with the prospects of fostering unity.

He called for collaborative efforts amongst the traditional institution to bring out the best in their subjects.

In his speech, Governor Nyesom Wike, stated that his administration would empower traditional rulers to participate in the initiation, implementation and monitoring of projects and programmes in rural communities as they were critical in the government’s development agenda for the grassroots.

He said: “We shall soon come up with a viable framework to empower our traditional rulers to participate in the initiation, implementation and monitoring of development policies and programmes at the grassroots.

“We are doing all these because we believe that traditional rulers are the best partners to translate our plans and aspirations for the grassroots into reality.”

The governor said the state traditional rulers have over the years played important roles in the peace and development of the state.

Wike said: “We have no doubt that when the history of Rivers State will be written, the sacrifices and contributions of the traditional institution towards building a peaceful, united and prosperous State will be lined in gold prints.

“Apart from being the custodians of our cherished cultures and traditions, traditional rulers also exert immense political authority over their subjects. These traits make the traditional institution indispensable tool for driving socio-economic development, especially at the grassroots.”

He said the creation of the state is a product of years of conscious struggles for self-determination by heroes of the state. He said Rivers people suffered untold deprivations and disregard from the country’s majority ethnic groups.

His words: “For us, May 27, 1967 was Liberation Day. Ever since, we have had the autonomy to preside over our local affairs, pursue our aspirations and direct our collective destiny by ourselves.

 “That is why we are inspired to celebrate our Golden Jubilee and use it as a platform to project into the future. As we look back, we must appreciate the tremendous achievements we have made as a people in the past 50 years.”

The Chairman of the occasion and Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, expressed happiness that the Rivers State Government is celebrating traditional rulers for their roles to the growth of the state.

 The Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers and Amanyanabo of Opobo Kingdom, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, said that actualisation of the creation  of the state was made possible by the contributions of Traditional Rulers.

 He said that traditional rulers have the capacity to collaborate with the state government to consolidate on development in the rural areas.