Monday, 24 October 2016

IS TRADITIONAL RULERSHIP FOR SALE TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER?? By Ugaba Emmanuel

I am but a child without adequate knowledge of the history of Igede cum Idoma traditional procedures and prerequisite qualifications for the selection of persons to occupy a seat in Oju and Obi LGAs council of chiefs.



Prior to the present day politicization of traditional positions, I was made to understand that in Igede land, people used to run into hiding to avoid being made a traditional king because such a person after undergoing the necessary rites may not be allowed to do other things but a duty is placed on him to adjudicate any dispute brought before him fairly, in righteousness and in truth in accordance with the oath he took.

The positions of Clan Heads and District Heads were given to people with proven integrity to occupy. In Igede land, those whose origin were doubtful like war captives, were not allowed to be crowned king because such categories of people have no seat in the village sacred square exclusively reserved for men that are clean in spirit and in deed.

Today, the reverse seems to be the order of the day. The first set of Ward Heads and Clan Heads that were appointed in this current Democratic dispensation were not subjected to any form of financial hardship as it is now.

In Obi LGA now for instance, to aspire to occupy a vacant seat of a Clan Head, the aspirant must obtain what I best describe as INTENT FORM at the cost of N120,000 and another N150,000 if selected, besides goats and assorted wines and tubers of yams.

My question now is, why these conditions? Are these positions political offices? Funny enough, it is rumoured that competition is being encouraged because of the monetary involvement.

This is a very serious situation that calls for government quick intervention so as to sanitize the traditional institution and make it honourable and respectful.

This current practice is among the reasons why our traditional rulers are into all kinds of unwholesome practices that are inimical to the traditional, social and economic development of our land.

The Fulani herdsmen saga and other transborder crimes are not without the knowledge of these traditional rulers who enjoyed monetary gains from the Fulani invaders.

With this development, even where a prefered candidate is chosen to be their Clan or Ward Head but has no money to pay, the position will be given to a Shylock whose stock in trade is a pound of flesh. This is contratray to the custom and tradition of our forefathers and could be the reasons why many of them no longer live long on the throne. Aside that, there are several litigations arising from chieftaincy disputes in our court of law these days, all because the traditional institution has been bastardized and commercialised.

Who can save our traditional values, customs and tradition, if the positions are for sale to the highest bidder?

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