By Olufemilade Oyinade
The proposed bill on traditional council law of Ogun State 2021 does not set out to specifically thinker with the burial rites as being speculated by some set of people, rather the legislation was initiated to correct many existing anomalies in the traditional institution, especially the conduct of installation without following due process including absence of declaration for some traditional stools, which has been creating difficulty on how to determine those entitled to the throne.
The Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo, who made the clarification, while declaring open, a public hearing on the bill at the Assembly, Complex, Oke- Mosan, Abeokuta, 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 time.
Recounting 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, the Speaker assured that the Assembly with the support of all stakeholders would ensure the passage of a bill that would amongst other issues, put a stop to the attendance of political rallies by monarchs, thereby returning the institution to its pride of place and honour.
“We have equally seen where a town or village is in existence (as orile) and the Baale 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, instead of promoting the existing Baale to the status of a coronet Oba. 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 and if you look at the number of petitions before the House and litigations going on in the various courts of law in the State, over 70% of such court cases are based on Obaship issues because of the lacuna and errors of application of the existing traditional council laws”, the Speaker stated.
Assuring the stakeholders that their view would be harmonized to arrive at an all encompassing bill, Speaker Oluomo underscored the essence of government’s authority on the installation of any category of traditional rulers, that 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 being for rituals, as the world has moved away from that barbaric practice, which is even against the right to life and human dignity as
guaranteed by the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria”, the Speaker declared.
He also seized the occasion to assure all the stakeholders including traditionalists, who still needed time to submit their contributions to the bill to do so on or before Friday, 23rd July, 2021.
In their contributions, other stakeholders including the representatives of Egba Traditional Council and Towulade of Akinale Kingdom, Oba Olufemi Ogunleye, National Secretary, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Comrade Yinka Folarin, Chief Imam of Gbagura, Prof. Kamaldeen Balogun, harped on the essence of peaceful co-existence among religious groups and commended the Assembly on the proposed bill with an assurance of conveying their positions through memoranda in due course.
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 traditional institution, stating that monarchs were to be buried in line with the traditions and customs of their people.