The proposed bill on traditional council law does not set out to specifically tinker with Obas burial rites as being speculated, Olakunle Oluomo, the Speaker of Ogun Assembly, has said.
Mr Oluomo made the clarification Wednesday while declaring open a public hearing on the bill at the assembly complex in Abeokuta.
Traditionalists and clerics had stormed the assembly complex Wednesday morning to participate in the public hearing of the bill titled ‘Obas, Chiefs, Council of Obas and Traditional Council law of Ogun State, Bill 2021.’
According to the traditionalists, the bill, if passed, would eradicate all traditional rites pertaining to kingship in the state.
But the speaker noted that the legislation was initiated to correct existing anomalies in the traditional institution, especially the conduct of installation without following due process, including the absence of declaration for some traditional stools.
He said the anomalies had been creating difficulty on how to determine those entitled to the throne.
The speaker submitted that such unethical practice had made it very easy for unqualified persons and strangers to lay unmerited claims to the stool, thereby creating distortions in historical records in recent times.
Mr Oluomo recounted such irregularities recorded in the twilight of the immediate past administration in the state, where some unqualified people were haphazardly selected without adherence to due process.
He assured that the assembly, with the support of all participants, would ensure the passage of a bill that would put a stop to the attendance of political rallies by Obas, thereby returning the institution to its pride of place and honour.
“We have equally seen where a town or village is in existence and the Baale (community head) is there, but in their developed area, where plots of land were sold to strangers to erect residential structure, such strangers were later allotted a traditional stool illegally.
“It has been the new norms of short-changing the original inhabitants of the area in the selection of monarchs to the advantage of strangers which must stop.
“These are part of the things we are trying to correct,” he said.
Mr Oluomo assured the ‘stakeholders’ that their views would be harmonised to arrive at an all-encompassing bill.
He underscored the essence of government’s authority on the installation of any category of traditional rulers, that the same authority enabled the assembly to enact relevant laws to regulate the revered institution.
“Nobody is saying they should not do traditional rites for installation and burial of Obas, but we are not going to support the usage of human beings for rituals,” he said.
He also assured all the stakeholders, including traditionalists, who still needed time to submit their contributions to the bill to do so on or before July 23.
In his contribution, the representative of Egba Traditional Council and Towulade of Akinale Kingdom, Olufemi Ogunleye, harped on the essence of peaceful coexistence among traditional rulers and religious leaders.
Kamaldeen Balogun, representing League of Imams and Alfas, commended the assembly for putting up the bill and for inviting all the stakeholders concerned, saying that all inputs should be considered before passage.
Also, the representatives of the traditional worshipers’ group, Fagbemi Ifakorede from Ota, and the State Secretary of Ifa worshippers, Faniyi Awoyemi, noted that the traditional belief remained essential in the running of the traditional institution.
They stated that monarchs were to be buried in line with the traditions and customs of their people.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), and traditionalists from different parts of the state were also present at the hearing. (NAN)
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