Akpabio urges governments to work with traditional rulers

President of the Senate Godswill Akpabio has called on government at all levels, politicians and other stakeholders from the Niger Delta region to synergise with traditional rulers in finding effective solutions to the challenges bedevilling the area.

He stated this at the 13th Extraordinary General Assembly of the Forum of Monarchs in the South-South region in Asaba, Delta State, on Tuesday.

Represented by Senator Joel Onowakpo-Thomas, Akpabio described the meeting as timely, likewise the theme, “Strengthening Stakeholder Collaboration for the Development of the South-South Region: The Role of the Traditional Institution.”

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Heineken Lokpobiri, also stressed that increased oil production would bring more resources into the region for its development.

He said there was an urgent need to involve traditional rulers in peacebuilding, especially in the fight against oil theft, illegal bunkering and unrest in the region.

On his part, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, who was represented by Senator Jack Tilley-Gyado, advocated for constitutional roles for traditional rulers in the country to tackle the rising insecurity and, at the same time, attract more sustainable development to their domains.

Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, charged the Forum of Monarchs in the South-South region to remain pillars of integrity and fairness, mediating conflicts and upholding justice in their various domains without partiality.

“They are uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between the communities and the government. As our traditional rulers, you are to foster unity in diversity. As you meet for this auspicious occasion, I urge you to encourage your subjects to embrace education and innovation, while preserving our invaluable traditions.

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“There is no doubt that you occupy a unique and very critical place in governance. Today, we gather to recognise the pivotal role our traditional rulers play in the fabric of our community. You are the custodians of our rich heritage and the guardians of our cultural values,” he said.

Also speaking, the Chairman, South-South Monarchs Forum, King Dr. Edmund Daukoru, Ningi XII, Amanyanabo of Nembe Kingdom, said the theme of this year’s meeting was about development in all its ramifications, noting that Nigeria’s development gaps were due primarily to a lack of cooperation and synergy between stakeholders.

He said there was a lack of consultation with traditional institutions by almost all tiers of government, adding that the traditional institution had been increasingly marginalised with each constitutional amendment “to the point where we are now entirely becoming out of the purview of the Constitution of the land we once indisputably led.”

In his goodwill message, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Chief Samuel Ogbuku, who gave an overview of the giant strides of the commission, disclosed that a lot of development was going on in different states under the NDDC mandate area, pointing out that data on youths was being compiled to formulate a template that would subsequently empower them.

Ogbuku, therefore, urged the people in the region to key into the policy framework of the commission so that they could benefit from its laudable initiatives.

Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of Delta State Traditional Rulers’ Council, Major General Felix Mujakperuo (retd), said the vision of the forum was to cross-fertilise ideas on how to address the challenges of insecurity and underdevelopment as well as promote peaceful co-existence.

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God'swill Ofigo
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