By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo
Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, dozens of monarchs across Lagos State have endorsed the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, as the flagbearer of the party and possibly become the successor to President Muhammadu Buhari after expiration of his tenure.
They said that his track record over the years particularly while serving as the governor of the state, turning around the Lagos economy and laying foundation for the state to become the fastest-growing megacity within Africa.
They endorsed the APC national leader for president at a Retreat organised for traditional rulers across the State which was held at a popular hotel in Victoria Island axis of Lagos yesterday.
In a voice vote, the traditional rulers assured Tinubu that whenever he is ready to declare his intention publicly, they are ready to give him their full support to ensure that he achieves his goal.
As gathered, the endorsement was reached during the retreat while they were discussing Obas and Chiefs Law of Lagos State 2015 and the discussion was moderated by Olosolo of Isolo, Oba Kabiru Agbabiaka, who also doubles as the secretary for the council of monarchs.
After Oba Agbabiaka raised the deliberation, the entire monarchs were reported to have used their symbol of offices and with a voice vote that they had expected him to have vied for the seat before now.
Speaking on behalf of the Council of Obas and Chiefs, Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, commended the State Government for prioritizing the intellectual empowerment of traditional rulers in Lagos State.
Akiolu, who noted that the retreat “The Role of Traditional Rulers in Conflict Resolution and in Fostering Communal Peace and Economic Development”, would boost the monarch’s knowledge, implored his colleagues to continue to commit themselves to Lagos State development.
According to him, I want to implore you all that you should play your roles in ensuring that communal peace in our domains does not exist, which engender economic development.
Earlier, Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr. Wale Ahmed, charged traditional rulers in the state on conflict resolution, fostering communal peace and economic development in their domains.
According to Ahmed, traditional rulers in Lagos had continued to be development catalysts, and respected agents for mobilisation for policy implementation, monitoring, and review of policy options.
“So, your role which goes beyond being the custodian of our tradition and culture can never be overlooked in the scheme of things, in a State like ours, where peaceful co-existence is paramount to the economic progress of the State.
“Conflict resolution is a long-standing traditional engagement of our Royal Fathers. This has been passed from generation to generation and effectively replicated in our contemporary society.
“This role has contributed in no small measure to the peaceful co-existence among people of different backgrounds and beliefs in our State, resulting in remarkable economic progress for Lagos State. We thank you for this but still request that you do more, especially at this period of challenges and unprovoked aggression among people,” he stated.
The Commissioner said traditional rulers had a special responsibility to uphold not just traditional values, culture, and customs, but to also ensure that information dissemination flowed to all nooks and crannies and that residents in each community understood government policies and programmes in the simplest form, using preferably the indigenous languages.
Ahmed added that it was expected that as Royal Fathers and opinion leaders, they would properly and adequately educate their subjects, including youths, on what the government had been doing, and how they could play their own part, to help the government to deliver more dividends of democracy.
“And as the closest to the grassroots, the constant interaction with them puts you at vantage position, to get the message across to them, and to get their support and cooperation for meaningful development.
“This is not optional, but our collective responsibility to strengthen our co-operation for Communal Peace and Security. Retreat such as this is used to consolidate the interwoven synergy between the State and Traditional Rulers in greasing the wheel of progress of our dear State,” he said.
In addition, the commissioner noted that the retreat would offer the opportunity for purposeful engagement on these issues and more, and how they could leverage existing peace and stability in the State, to connect higher economic prosperity.
He urged them to be open-minded and profound in their submissions and engage resource persons on the various interesting topics lined up to map out ways for improved administration, especially at the grassroots; one that would stir towards the “Greater Lagos Dream”.
Thanking them for their efforts so far in assisting government in their domains, Ahmed urged the traditional rulers to continue to cooperate with the government, and to support her effort at moving the State to the next level, in line with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s promise to the people of the State.