As the August election draws near, the Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Thursday, 15th May, 2014, appealed to traditional rulers in the state to redouble their efforts at ensuring that peace prevails in the state.
This was even as traditional rulers at the end of the two-day conference were unanimous in their call for the unity of the Yoruba people as one indivisible entity.
The Governor while delivering his address at the closing ceremony of a two-day conference organised for frontline traditional rulers in the state held at the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding in Osogbo held that election periods are always a defining moment in the polity of the country.
He described the role of traditional rulers as one that is vital to the effective governance of Nigeria.
Aregbesola held that traditional rulers have equal duty in ensuring that democracy does not fail in their time.
He said, “you owe it to your people to ensure peaceful, free and fair elections in your various domains.
“It behoves you all to mobilise the people not to allow enemies of democracy to subvert the will of the people in the oncoming polls through rigging and violence.
“The good people of Osun deserve freedom; freedom from want, poverty, unemployment, poor education and collapsed infrastructure. Our people deserve to have their aspirations for development and material betterment come to realisation”.
The Governor pointed out that traditional rulers are complementary in keeping peace, ensuring social order and cohesion.
He averred that traditional rulers as eminent men who occupy leadership positions in society, carry an equally heavy burden of responsibility regarding the land and the people in their domains.
According to the governor, “traditional rulers must consequently exercise no doubt as to the fact that they bear as much responsibility for the peaceful and orderly governance of the State of Osun as we do, even though we occupy a higher level of authority in the modern governance arrangement.
“This is why we will always accord you the deserved honour and reverence in the scheme of things in the land. As a government therefore, contrary to the impression that some have tried to give, we have always held our royal fathers in high regard, with important priority accorded to them in our policy and governance.
“We will continue to place you on this high pedestal because it would amount to disrespect for our people and our customs to act in any contrary manner. This conference we have organised for you is partly aimed at confirming to you the kind of honourable position in which we place you”.
The paramount ruler and Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, in his remark, commended the governor for his monumental achievements in the last three and half years.
The Ooni said for the Yoruba nation to move forward, Yoruba people must unite and forge a common front.
“We traditional rulers occupy a central position in our respective domains and we must make sure that we set a good example for the people to see.
“It is clear testimony that the present government has performed even beyond people’s expectation and I urge the people to support the government so as to be able to do more.
“Yoruba nation must progress: Yoruba nation must move forward and our people look up to us as their rulers to chat a way forward. And we must not fail to demonstrate our leadership role,” the Ooni said.
Chairman of Yoruba Council of Obas’ Technical Committee and Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, in his speech, said that the primary role of traditional rulers is the unification of Yoruba people.
The first class monarch stated that what the traditional rulers should be working assiduously towards is the good of the yoruba nation.
He attributed the disaffection among obas in Yoruba land to lack of understanding of their traditional positions and hierarchy.
The monarch counselled his traditional ruler colleagues to shun partisan politics but must not fail to acknowledge any government in power, which has performed wonderfully well like Governor Aregbesola.
He said: “Unity is our strength. Traditional obas must unit for the progress of Yoruba land.
“Therefore, we the rulers must first unite among ourselves so that we can unit our people for the progress of Yoruba land.”