AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE GOVERNOR OF ONDO STATE ARAKUNRIN OLUWAROTIMI ODUNAYO AKEREDOLU, SAN AT THE MEETING WITH TRADITIONAL RULERS AND INAUGURATION OF THE CHAIRMAN/MEMBERS OF ONDO STATE COUNCIL OF OBAS HELD ON MONDAY, 11TH SEPTEMBER, 2017 AT INTERNATIONAL EVENTS AND CULTURE CENTRE (THE DOME)
Let me begin by welcoming with profound respect and honour our very distinguished Traditional Rulers in the State to this maiden meeting. Todays event, which is the first of its kind since this Administration came on board has been organised to afford me and our respected Kabiyesis the opportunity to have mutual interaction, thereby further cement our harmonious relationship and keep our fathers abreast of the programmes and focus of our Administration. I, therefore, heartily welcome our Kabiyesis to this auspicious occasion.
I heartily welcome the Security Chiefs who have been invited to be part of this important meeting as major stakeholders in the maintenance of peace and security in the State as we deliberate on issues of security in the various communities of our kabiyesis.
Let me tender my unreserved apology to all the Traditional Rulers for holding this meeting months after my inauguration as the Governor of our Sunshine State. The meeting had been scheduled to hold about three times in the past only to be put off as a result of other compelling national and state matters. This Administration does not underate the importance of this interactive session and would not, in any way, play down on the revered position of our Royal Fathers as our senior citizens and major stakeholders in the issue of governance. Let me assure our Kabiyesis that this Administration hold our Traditional Rulers in very high esteem and shall continue to place high premium on you as partners in progress and in the development of our State.
Kabiyesis this Administration on assumption of duty was briefed by relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and, from the briefing, some observations were made which called for attention and government action. Prominent among these are problems in several communities arising from the filling of vacant stools, appointment and installation of minor chiefs and other chiefs, delay in constituting the State Council of Obas, etc. There have also been some security challenges in the State since we came on board. There had been cases of kidnapping, murder and arson in some of our communities. The menace of the Hausa-Fulani herdsmen in the communities increases by the day. In sum, the lives and properties of our dear people have been at great risk.
This meeting, therefore, provides an opportunity for the stakeholders i.e. the Royal Fathers, Security Chiefs and Chairmen of Caretaker Committees in the Local Governments to deliberate on this ugly development with a view to taking drastic measures to end the security challenges. Priority attention will continue to be given to the welfare and security of our Royal Fathers within the limits of available resources. My administration has already taken some proactive measures to ensure the security of the good people of Ondo State by the deployment of more detachment of security personnel to the State. This is to ensure the security of lives and property of the good people of Ondo State. By the grace of God, never again will Ondo State witness the kidnap of any of our Traditional Rulers.
Also, I want to believe that the recent Government circular suspending the appointment and installation of minor chiefs by the Traditional Rulers would easily come to the minds of our Kabiyesis. The rationale behind the circular was primarily to address the brewing and raging crises in the some parts of the State based on the security reports that, if urgent actions were not taken, the installation of chiefs was capable of truncating the relative peace in the State. This goes to explain that the government action at stopping unguided appointment and installation of minor chiefs was neither meant to withdraw the prescribed authority of the Kabiyesis nor to reduce their power to install chiefs in their respective domains. The provisions of the extant circular, therefore, subsists.
The erstwhile State Council of Obas was dissolved by the immediate past Administration. The same Administration also announced the appointment of His Royal Majesty, Oba Akadiri Momoh IV, the Olukare of Ikare-Akoko as the new Chairman. I am pleased to inform you that the new Council of Obas will be inaugurated today.
We are aware that the last Administration constituted the Justice C.E.T. Ajama Chieftaincy Review Commission to look into deserving issues of recognition, upgrading and other chieftaincy matters desirous of Government action and policy. I want to inform our Kabiyesis that we are still studying the report of the Commission and a Government White Paper will be issued on it in due course.
I wish to appeal to our Traditional Rulers to continue to cooperate and collaborate with this Administration in the maintenance of peace in their respective domains. Our Traditional Rulers are the immediate point of contact for the man on the street in settling disputes without the rigours of the processes that obtain in other means of settling crisis. In other words, the traditional institutions provide alternative means of dispute resolution, which, to a large extent, has remained a veritable instrument for fostering mutual relationship and understanding among the people.
This Administration had been briefed on the numerous vacant chieftaincy stools and efforts being made to fill them. Some communities have concluded the selection process of filling their vacant chieftaincy stools. The report of such selection process will be considered for possible approval by the State Executive Council. The State Government has also observed that efforts at filling some vacant stools had been stalled by the failure of the respective communities and stakeholders to resolve their differences, coupled with pending litigations in the Court of Law. It is the desire and resolve of this Administration that appointment are made into those chieftaincy positions in good time.
This, however, can only be done with the cooperation of the concerned communities as this Government will not, in anyway, indulge in any unnecessary interference and imposition of Obas in any part of the State. When communities are ready to put behind their animosity and rancour in their quest for new Obas, this Administration will not hesitate to give due consideration to recommendations received from the communities.
I wish to, once again, extend the hands of fellowship to our Traditional Rulers as partners in progress in the development of our dear State. The present Administration has drawn up socio-economic programmes to improve the living condition of the good people of Ondo State. The success of these programmes depends on the maintenance of peace and stability throughout the State. We have confidence that we can together build Ondo State of our dream, to the admiration of others.
In concluding this address I wish to appreciate our Royal Fathers for honouring this invitation and I wish you safe journey back to your various destinations at the end of this interactive session.
Thank you and God bless.