That Akwa Ibom Royal Fathers' 100% Support To Gov. Udom

By Essien Ndueso
Click for Full Image Size

The traditional institutions are regarded sacred because of the personality and responsibility of the occupiers of such offices. Traditional rulers are expected to be the custodians of the beliefs and norms of a society, and are expected to be an effective channel of communication of social values and policy decisions of government.

During the early colonial days, the government introduced the system of indirect rule in which royal fathers where used for an interface between the colonialists and the people. The government is responsible for their appointment in line with the procedure in each society.

Even in cases where conflicts arise, it is the government that wades in to resolve and gets the rightful claimant installed. A royal father receives an instrument of office or recognition from the state government and is charged by government on grassroots sensitization of his subjects against criminal activities in his domain. In the event that a traditional ruler is found wanting in his responsibilities, he is deposed by the state government. To this end, it is obvious that the loyalty and obligation of the royal father to the state government can never be a subject of contention.

An Associate Professor and Head, Department of Theatre and Performing Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Dr. Mohammed Buratai recently said there was no constitutional role for royal fathers in the current democratic setting, but in other domains of national life, traditional rulers are very active ceremonial heads of many governmental and non-governmental institutions, including primary functioning as Chancellors of our leading institutions of learning. “At the state and local government levels, given that the State Councils of Chiefs are operational, they still occupy some advisory positions.”

Recently, the state commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, Mr Victor Antai embarked on a grassroots tour of all the local government areas in the state. The commissioner used the occasion to intimate the royal fathers on the programmes of government especially in the area of enhanced job opportunities for the teaming youths, and to solicit for more support in the area of land and security of government investments. Beyond being royal fathers, traditional rulers are basically citizens who are under the leadership of the state.

As citizens, they owe the government the fundamental duty of support and loyalty. More so when the government is doing so much in providing jobs and providing superior infrastructure for the people. As custodians of the sacred institutions of the people, supporting the government does not amount to partisanship or bias.

On the contrary, withholding support to the government, actually smacks partisanship and misplaced loyalty. And supporting government, does not hinder a father from making contributions via advice and suggestions to the government through the appropriate channels of communication.

From the foregoing, it is therefore highly unfortunate that some media practitioners would go to the extent of attempting to create unnecessary confusion and rubbish the sacred stools of the traditional institutions. I spotted the headline in some newspapers that some of the royal fathers have denied supporting the government, and are non partisan.

This is nothing other than sheer mischief and pettiness by such journalists. Let me make it clear here that the visible aim of such dubious publications is to create the impression that the mentioned royal fathers have withdrew their support from the government, and this constitutionally amounts to lawlessness and insubordination. It’s obvious that respect to authority is part of our historical relics, and as custodians traditional rulers are not unaware of this.

Moreso, the oath of allegiance and oath of office that they swore to on inauguration has bound them, and makes it imperative that they support the government 100 %.

I have called for and previewed the clippings of the respective forums where Mr Victor Antai met with the grassroot helmsmen and from what I saw, their support to the state government and its wealth creation programmes remained glaring and unequivocal. Nobody should attempt to ridicule the traditional rulers by disputing their support for government.

With the stream of foreign investors arriving the state daily, the onus of promoting peace and stability remains an advisory role for the chiefs. In addition to supporting the government, the chiefs are expected to crave for support to government from their subjects. Peaceful communities attract development more rapidly than volatile ones.

Inciting a traditional ruler against the government does not do any journalist any good. Any journalist who sees Governor Udom Emmanuel as anything other than the man mandated by the people, ordained by God and empowered by the constitution, is only dancing ignorantly in display of illiteracy.

Atangakpaniko Essien Ndueso
Uyo, Akwa Ibom State
[email protected]