Traditional rulers from Edo South Senatorial District have unanimously declared their backing for the implementation of a 1979 Law on local council administration, commending the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, for the implementation of the new regime where all traditional rulers in the 18 local government areas of the State will receive monthly allowances to administer their domains.
The traditional rulers made their position known on Thursday when they paid a ‘Thank You’ visit to the governor at the Government House, Benin City.
They expressed their appreciation to the governor for what they described as a bold step taken by him to address the age-long lingering problem.
This is as they disclosed their unflinching backing of the governor’s action, noting that this development will not only enhance good governance at the grassroots level but also give a sense of belonging and authority to the traditional rulers to effectively administer their various domains and put in check their people.
The Enogie (Duke) of Dukedom Evbuobanosa, Professor Gregory Iduorobo Akenzua, who led the delegation while commending the governor for the new regime, applauded him for his government’s developmental strides across the state.
According to him, “For a number of years, we have observed a portion of the local government law of Edo State that affects Enigie and wondered for a while why it was not being implemented.
“But by your recent declaration, you have given a monumental opportunity for Enigie in Edo South to participate actively in the governance of the State and we are grateful.
“We thank you for your courage, wisdom, and determination to write anything that is not right since you assumed the reign of government in Edo State. We thank you very much as we are very appreciative of the monumental strides in development at all levels that we have experienced in your time.”
He added, “This is why we are here to show our appreciation and pledge our loyalty to you and thank you and your team of determined public officers. We thank you on behalf of the people of Edo South Senatorial District who have not felt the impact of traditional governance effectively for some time.”
In his response, the governor, who thanked the Enigie for the visit, said he will continue to work with the traditional institution in the State to ensure widespread development and growth across the state.
Obaseki said, “We took the decision in response to your letter you wrote to me last year. We looked at the issues critically and felt the reasons in the letter were valid particularly in terms of the situation in Nigeria today.
“You asked me to implement a section of the Edo State Traditional Rulers Law which by law, I have no choice but to do and that law stipulates that every local government should have its own traditional council.
“The reason why that decision was taken and enacted many years ago is that the traditional authorities in every jurisdiction should assist the government in enforcing law and order and ensuring development within the area. The law applies to the whole of the State, including the North, Central and South Senatorial Districts.”
He continued: “A very close look at the implementation of the law, you can see the advantages that North and Central have had as a result of full implementation of the law, which has allowed full participation by the traditional authorities in the administration of each local government.
“By implementing the law in Edo South Senatorial District, we now expect a much faster rate of development than we have seen in the past. We know some of you in the past have assisted local government authorities in areas like security, education, and welfare which you did on your own.
“You have assisted in the past to support vigilante groups, improving security in your area. I thank the Enogie of Ehor who worked tirelessly with us to deal with kidnapping at Ehor and Igieduma axis a few years ago. Working with him made us understand the issues more and we were able to checkmate their activities in that area.”
Obaseki charged, “In your meetings which must be regular, you must work closely with local government authorities and ensure every land is policed, especially the forest areas as we don’t want our forest to be used as camps for criminals and bandits.”
The governor further thanked the traditional rulers for collaborating with his administration to fight human trafficking and illegal migration in Edo State, adding, “We must also take the issues of education very seriously as we have noticed that we don’t have as many schools as we should have in your jurisdiction. People are not willing to live and teach in those areas as a lot of migration to Benin City.
“In our 30-year development plan, one of the things we will put in our development plan is how to make our areas more comfortable to enable us to reduce the rural-urban migration. I thank you for your support and collaboration in our fight against human trafficking and irregular migration.
“We need to reverse migration as Benin City can’t take everybody. You need to make your area attractive by providing infrastructure and services for people to live comfortably.”
Reaffirming his government’s commitment to the welfare and well-being of Edo people, Obaseki said the government is sustaining efforts to tackle poverty and improve the livelihood of the people.
He stated, “A register for the poor and vulnerable was compiled in 2019 with 314,000 households and 1.2 million people in your domain. Verify the register as we work with you to put in place a system to disburse money on a monthly basis for these people to enable them to take the pressure off you because they come to you for help.”
Recall that about two weeks ago, the Edo State Government Executive Council approved the implementation of a 1979 Law on local council administration, which translates to a new regime where all traditional rulers in the 18 local government areas of the state will receive monthly allowances to administer their domains.
In a statement to that effect, Secretary to the Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie noted, “The Council resolved that there would be a traditional council in each local government area across the state’s 18 local councils.
“In the law, the Oba of Benin remains the permanent chairman of the Edo State Traditional Council of Obas and Chiefs and also the permanent chairman of the Benin Traditional Council.
“The Benin Traditional Council is the umbrella body of Edo South Traditional Council.
“The budget and funding of the Benin Traditional Council will be completely independent of the financing which goes to all other traditional councils of the various local government areas in the state.”