WITH the critical ingredients of national development clearly lacking or better still corrupted in Nigeria, interrogating the roles of traditional rulers becomes not only apt but compelling.
The speech: Redefining the Role of Traditional Institutions for National Development
I am very humbled to be chosen by the King of kings, to be in this position, this exalted throne. It is not by my power nor by my might. We give God the glory and all the adoration.
As we have a throne here on earth, we have the same in heaven. If you look at the scriptures, the Bible, the Koran and any other holy book, you will see the emphasis that God placed on kings. It is the authority of God for kings to be his representatives, direct affairs and put things right.
Every other system is all man-made; democracy and others are all man-made structures. It is very important for all of us to know where we are coming from for us to have a sense of direction, for us to know who we are and for all of us to know why we are in this world. There is a purpose for each and every one of us. It is important for all of us to know the depth of our culture and tradition because that is our way of life.
And it is very important for us to know how impactful that culture, that tradition has been and really made us who we are. From generation to generation, it is very important for all of us to know how we started. The things that we borrowed from the western world have really confused the very deep intent of our tradition and culture. There is nothing wrong in borrowing ideas and initiatives but the two can be properly blended to make this world a better place.
The two can be properly aligned together for all of us to have better lives. Before our colonial masters came, there were structures, traditions and kingship systems in our midst. They saw the way our traditional leaders were directing our affairs. And they were in our midst for years. Trans-Atlantic slave trade affected a lot of things.
Remember at some points, there were no boundaries in Africa. But kingdoms and territories were secure and we all had respect for one another across the entire continent. In 1884 after the Berlin Conference, our colonial masters decided that black Africa should be demarcated and the scramble for Africa began. It took one of the greatest leaders of this world, Abraham Lincoln to abolish the slave trade.
How has that affected us? We need to go back to our roots and discover how we lost our values and heritage. It is very important for us to know all the good things that came out of us in the pre-colonial days and realise that we have the ability to make our society meaningful.
For instance, the gong in the hands of my entourage has been in existence for hundreds of years. Agogo was invented by Oduduwa (our progenitor). Our colonial masters came and saw it and it was improved upon. It was later developed into the megaphone; now it has been developed to the microphone. That shows that development started here, civilisation started from the black race, it has been proven.
The colonialists met everything here, including democracy Our ancestors left us with great things to develop and make life a better place for each and every one of us. Before the Aristotles of this world came, Ifa had been in existence and Ifa is the custodian of every wisdom of this world. But we don’t appreciate what we have.
The innovation and invention of the computer came from Ifa and that is the truth. Methodism and science came out from Ifa and that is the truth. It is not a coincidence.
Go and find out. Our colonial masters came, saw all these, and knew that we are the custodians of this early knowledge. You can see how our origin, culture, and tradition have been impactul on development. Any stream that forgets its source must surely run dry. It is only proper for us to know where we are coming from, in order for us to be able to determine where we are going to. I have been asking questions on what is fundamentally wrong with the black race.
We have everything but do not put it to good use. Brothers are killing their own brothers and sisters doing the same. Our forefathers have bequeathed so many traditional legacies to make life easy for us. Let us put them to good use. The role of traditional leaders in national development just did not start today. It has always been part of our existence globally.
Every government in the world needs traditional leadership to survive. Traditional leadership is very pivotal to nation-building. The leaders are closer to their people, they relate more to their communities, they understand their people more than the government.
The role of traditional rulers had been part of our constitution, it was taken away and my prayer is that at some point, it will be taken back. For example,when political leaders aspire for positions, where do they come to? They come to the traditional rulers to plead that the leaders talk to their people and as well provide royal blessings.
It is unavoidable. They have to go to them. And in return, the traditional rulers will call their people and sensitise them. There is a clear difference between traditional institution and politics.
The two should not be mixed together and that is where we are getting it wrong today. Traditional leaders are there forever, but politicians will be there just for a while. But the two can work together to make life better for each and every one of us.
My message is: we need to practice what we preach. As traditional leaders, we need to practice what we preach. As a traditional leader, I will continue to lead by example.