By Femi Ogbonnikan,
Ogun State governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mr. Rotimi Paseda, has pledged to create a separate Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs from the current Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in order to accord respect to the traditional institution, if he emerges as the next governor of the state.
In an exclusive interview, Paseda said the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs will be split.
“There will be Ministry of Local Government that will deal with the affairs of local government administration and there will be Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs. That Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs will be headed by an Oba, not a civil servant or a technocrat, but it has to be headed either by one of the four Paramount rulers in the state, the Alake of Egbaland or Awujale of Ijebuland or Olu of Ilaro and Paramount ruler of Yewaland or the Akarigbo of Remo, depending on whosever turn is.
“One of them will head of that ministry. In that ministry, you will see but monarchs, apart from the public servants who will be in-charge of the administrative side of things. That is what I am going to do. Matters concerning them will be dealt with, by them and within themselves. What will happen is that, the state will just put a stamp.
“When we get that started and we will make a law or policy or practice in my state and that means we are returning power back to where power belongs. They will be part and parcel of the government, not outsiders that will be used as a willing tool whenever the governor needs to use them,” said the SDP governorship candidate.
Paseda said he was working on the premise that when the white men came to Nigeria, they met a functional administrative system presided over by paramount rulers.
The colonial masters referred and deferred to kings and would go to palaces and sit on the floor to talk to Obas, but the institution was debased by our own people because of politics.
“All of a sudden they turned it around and Obas became subservient.
“As governor, I am not going ask a king to take his cap off or bow to me. This idea that the governor now becomes involved in who becomes an Oba or who they give the chieftaincy title to, is going to be removed completely from state policy.
“Anybody that the ruling or royal house says, “approves to become an Oba, so be it. It should not be the governor that should be dictating who should be an Oba for the people. If there is dispute, the dispute must be settled within the monarchial system. Let them decide the traditional way. That will be more effective. And if the Oba says he wants to give somebody a chieftaincy title, it is not government affair. It is a traditional ruler’s affair. They must have rights to make those decisions. Technically, they are the leaders within their communities.
“For ceremonial reasons, they will bring them out and give them envelopes. It is an insult to the traditional institution.”