Editorial

Absentee Traditional Rulers

Governor Rochas Okorocha’s innovative concept of community government was a welcome idea when it was introduced.
But we dare say that our traditional rulers who choose to live outside their domains have ruined it so far and made a total mess of it. They have compromised the whole thing with their decision to go and rather face their businesses.
We wonder why such rulers should not be dethroned forthwith and none of such ever be enthroned again. There are so many home-based people who are capable of replacing them. Are there not?
No ruler can do a good job while living abroad; away from his duty post.
We cannot understand why the government should turn round and retain or tolerate traditional rulers who live away from home in flagrant disobedience and disregard of this time-honored requirement.
A lot of things condemn this practice.
It is truancy, dishonesty, irresponsibility, corruption and delinquency of a high order.
Physical presence is the first thing needed for a job to be done. The other is presence of mind. A person must adhere to the conditions of his appointment. Otherwise he should not accept to serve.
The traditional ruler is not just a name. It is the enormous duties attached to it.
The duties are many and include law-making, conflict resolution, administration, maintenance of law and order, custodianship of culture, ensuring security and safety, heading ceremonies, government relations, environmental and infrastructural development. Others are steering the course of the community and mobilizing people for road works, clearing of roadsides and general repairs.  Ugoezes hold meetings for the womenfolk and exercise moral influence over them and their families. These cannot be done from afar.
Truant and absentee rulers can be check-mated from the office of the State Council of Tradition Rulers which should open a weekly register for them and receive their activity reports on which they can be evaluated. Communities whose rulers are not living wit h them must say so promptly. Government must stop the payment of whatever stipend it gives absentee traditional rulers.  They should be replaced and perhaps penalized for dereliction of duty. This sounds stringent, but it is necessary.  Those on sic vocation could be spared however.
We draw the attention of the governor to the fact that keeping absentee rulers is a waste and disservice to the state. They have ruined the social life in their communities. The urban and rural areas of the state will breathe a new lease of life if traditional rulers are to live at home and be subjected to the disciplinary protocols of their office.

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