Panel on Chieftaincy commence work in Kogi State
The government of Kogi State recently set up a committee for the review of chieftaincy matters in the state. The government invites memoranda from interested members of the public, especially traditional rulers, and all those who are interested or are aggrieved by previous review exercises.
According to Elder P.S. Ocheni who is secretary to the committee, the terms of reference includes, among others:-
* a comprehensive look at chieftaincy institution in the state.
* Review of the grading system of the chieftaincy institution.
* Review of the past up-grading/down-grading and deposition of traditional chiefs from inception with a view to:
(a) Determine whether actions taken by government were appropriate; and
(b) Correct cases of injustice or undue favour where established.
* Recommend to Government the appropriate grading system for Kogi State chieftaincy institution.
* Take a critical look at nomination procedures or processes of chieftaincy matters with a view of making it more dynamic and responsive.
* Consider appropriate measures of ensuring checks and balances in the administration of chieftaincy matters to ensure justice, fairness and equity.
* Make any other recommendations to the government that are incidental to the above matters with the overall objective of better administration of our chieftaincy institution.
Members of the committee are to pay courtesy calls on the chairmen of Local Government Traditional Councils during which memoranda from the royal fathers would be received, and when the committee would take oral evidence from interested people.
In view of the role chieftaincy institutions play in the lives of rural dwellers, especially in the maintenance of the cultural values and the preservation of the indigenous languages, the committee’s work is one that is bound to elicit the interest of numerous groups and individuals.
For one thing, the issue of chieftaincy is one over which the impoverished people of Kogi State and, indeed, the Middle-belt region, have dissipated a lot of energy, financial and material resources over a long period of time in recrimination and litigations. This has left many communities mutually antagonistic and divided along territorial or clannish lines and, so, contributed immensely to retardation of growth and progress in the entire cultural Middle-belt.
The foregoing conditions were brought about largely by colonial administration as inherited by the defunct regional government, and later by the various states in the area. In addition, the willful perversion of history and the utter neglect of the traditional cultural systems by successive so-called modern governments contributed immensely to the sorry pass in which chieftaincy institutions are now found.
As a matter of public service in accordance with the principles of democracy and an open society, the Editorial Board of Our VISION assembled experts on the issue to collate facts and evidences material to the terms of reference given to the committee, with the hope that the compendium emanating there from would assist not only Kogi State Government, but the governments of the states in the entire cultural Middle-belt region. In which case, Kogi State and specific ethnic groups in the state are used as case studies. It is our hope that the committee and relevant authorities interested in healthy debate, development and growth of the cultural heritage of our people will find this compendium very useful.
Culled from Our VISION magazine, Vol.5 No.4, 2004