Home Opinion Government's Undue Meddling In The Emergence Of Traditional Leadership: A Personal View

Government’s Undue Meddling In The Emergence Of Traditional Leadership: A Personal View

By Gora Albehu Dauda

NEWSDAILYNIGERIA– Nigeria for all intents and purposes is a crises ridden contraption, little wonder then that Things continue to Fall Apart and consequently The Center is not Holding. It is difficult to.outline and digest the myriad of problems conflating to producing the combustible mix responsible for Things Falling Apart. We acknowledge that there is no society anywhere on the globe free completely of problems. I have often times surmised that problems/crises together of singly are the FUELS which drive the society. The very purpose of governance and government is to properly manage such problems or crises which could and certainly do rise up from time to time. It is in the area of effective crises management that the leadership in this country has a huge deficit. Problems are either NATURAL or MAN MADE. Most of the myriad of problems or crises besetting this country are traceable to poor leadership. There is more than enough evidence to suggest that meddlesomenes or outright interference in the Traditional institution is a causative factor for many a crises in this country.

I had cause to enquire from an elder statesman as to governments penchant for interfering in the Traditional.imstitutions especially in the selection process for one to succeed to a throne. I was trying to find out what the justification could be for a government rejecting the outcome of the effort by theTraditional Kingmakers. We all are aware that the Kingmakers have the primary responsibility of deciding who the successor to a throne ought to be. The Kingmakers arrive their decision via a voting system in which they constitute an electoral college of sort. The elder statesman’s reply was shocking when he replied that the outcome of the electoral college vote according to the old laws of Northern Nigeria required the outcome be passed on to government for it to make the final.approval. Since the decision of the kingmakers is usually a reflection of the will of the.subjects of that domain why do governments simply approve the outcomes? What usually happens in Kaduna State where I am living is that government usually do not respect the decision of the Kingmakers and rather goes for a stooge ( that is someone pliant enough to serving not the interest of the subjects but that of the government that appointed him). This practice completely undermines the leadership emergence process and is fraught with the likelihood of pitching the subjects against the leader and the government.

During the dark days of Military dictatorship in Nigeria, the excuse usually advanced by government in explaining away electoral fraud used to be simply labelling the preferred candidate as a ” Security Risk “. What such a description means is still a vexed question. While there could have been some sense in this amorphous 2 word phrase during the First Republic which provided for Houses of Chiefs, now that the Parliamentary System is now defunct there can be no justification in the current unjust system of deciding successorship to a throne. Many a crises have been occasioned by such government meddlesomenes in deciding traditional leadership. The latest being the selection process for the Zazzau Emirate after the demise of the HRH Alhaji Shehu Idris. The dictatorship in Sir Kashim Ibrahim House made sure it serially interfered with the entire processes until the dictstor’s preferred candidate was announced and very quickly installed. Such interference has pemeated down to the lowest level where District Heads are known to have similarly undermined the decisions of the Kingmakers to install their favourite candidates. This kind of undue meddling was witnessed in Kano State, Sokoto and it is said that trouble may be brewing in Gombe State where the Kingmakers have zeroed in on a particular candidate and the powers that be in the Executive arm of government are verging on imposing their preferred candidate.

Instead of bothering the traditional Kingmakers with the burden of electing or selecting who should occupy or succeed a deceased monarch given that their choice may not be respected by the Executive as was the case with the Zazzau Emirate throne, the final decision taking body should just appoint whoever their favourite candidate is. The case of the Zazzau Emirate exposed the traditional Kingmakers to ridicule given that the dictator in Sir Kashim Ibrahim House accused them of taking bribes. In my humble view, no bribe can be greater than discarding the efforts of the Kingmakers for that of an individual with an underlying interest in the process. In the end some critics are of the view that the dictstorship clearly manipulated the succession plan to his most favoured candidate and it stood. Such illegalities by the Executive have only succeeded in dymistifying the traditional institutions particularly in the Northern States to almost a level of near insignificance except for the heavy dresses and turbans which they are always adorned with as if their uniform.

Lets now examine how government’s meddlesomenes in the traditional institution is playing negatively in the security situation in the land. First and foremost, the moment an individual aside their preferred choice is imposed on a people there if the likelihood of a disconnect with the subjects. When this happens, some channels of communication would have been severed. This has the propensity of undermining security given that the aggrieved subjects might feel that they cannot work with him who was imposed on them as traditional leader. To remedy this, a humble advice will be that the Executive would need to bury their personal interest(s) and to respect the wishes of the subjects as expressed through the decision of the Kingmakers. Any leader freely chosen by the subjects is most likely to enjoy a trouble free reign. Impose a traditional leader on a people and you can bet that such an individual will most likely be viewed for who he really is ” An imposed leader ” not the choice of the people. When the right thing is done, harmony will return. Doing this, the security situation is likely to get better.

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