By Magnus Effiong
The Chairman of the Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council, HRM Etinyin Etim Okon Edet, has called on President Bola Tinubu to create Ministry of Chieftaincy and Rural Development so as to enhance development at the grassroots.
In a chat with our Reporter, Etinyin Edet, who doubles as the Paramount Ruler of Bakassi local government area, also called on the federal government to give specified roles in the constitution for traditional rulers, saying such roles would mitigate security challenges.
He said, “I appreciate the current House of Representatives Speaker for harping on constitutional roles for traditional rulers. The traditional institution is the last hope of the people at the grassroots. Governments at all levels would always come and go but the institution remains.
“The white men themselves, when they came, met the traditional rulers who were already administering their respective domains. It is necessary that the traditional rulers be given constitutional roles just like what is practiced in South Africa.
“As we all know, the traditional institution is made of retired military officers, professionals in various disciplines such as doctors, engineers, lawyers, career diplomats amongst others. Let the government tap from their wealth of experiences to improve the socio-economic dynamics of our country.
“I am hereby advocating that President Bola Tinubu and indeed Governors of the 36 States should establish the ministry of chieftaincy and rural development and appoint a minister and commissioners of Chieftaincy and Rural Development. This ministry will accommodate the traditional institution and will enable traditional rulers to have a complete sense of belonging.”
The Royal Father insisted that creating such a ministry, with the active involvement of the traditional leaders would engender development at the grassroots and curtail challenges of insecurity.
“if we are given that role in the constitution, as grassroots leaders too, Royal fathers will work towards rural development of their domain where they live.
“Traditional rulers have authority to mitigate insecurity if the government would empower and encourage them to live in their domains.
“We should know also that the traditional institution is like the Judiciary and should not be under the control, whims and caprices of the State government so that they could have that missing independence and boldness to speak the truth to powers.
“Why I am asking for the establishment of the ministry of chieftaincy and rural development is so that we could have that needed independence. If the ministry is replicated in all the 36 States and Abuja, we will witness the effect and, besides, local government should be autonomous.
“I believe that when traditional rulers are so empowered and in collaboration with Chairmen of council areas, our local government system would once again become vibrant.”