Constitution amendment: Lecturer wants traditional rulers’ roles specified

Dr Ali Abbas, a former Head of Political Science Department, Yobe University has called for the inclusion of well-specified roles for traditional rulers in the constitution amendment.

Abbas made the call on Thursday in an interview with our correspondent in Damaturu.

He said that traditional rulers have a huge role to play as custodians of the culture and tradition of their people.

“At the moment, they play some roles that are quite important to national unity,  cohesion, stability, peace building and national integration.

“These are variables that cannot be ignored in any society that needs to develop.”

He therefore added that by giving them constitutional backing, they would be encouraged to do more.

“I believe with the current Security challenge, political turbulence and current national discourse in the country, it is high time for the traditional rulers to be recognised constitutionally.”

Abbas however observed that such powers should not be in conflict with the political administration, saying the powers should be subject to checks and balances to avoid abuse and misuse.

With regards to women participation in politics, Abbas said the political space in Nigeria was not convenient for women.

He said political domination in Nigeria has been well-structured to the extent that women on their own might not be able to make it to positions of authority the without support of men.

“Our culture and tradition has also not been very supportive for women participation in governance restore the women themselves feel that the system is so dirty, cruel and not accommodating for them.”, he said.

He said such factors needed to be addressed before creating more quarters for women in governance.

On local government administration, Abbas said there was urgent need for autonomy, saying “there is need to allow local governments to operate freely, independent of interference of state governments.

He also said there was need to review the ‘Exclusive and Concurrent list’ in the 1999 constitution.

“The Federal Government should not have business drilling boreholes in the local communities. Local governments should be in position to identify and take care of such needs.

“Similarly, the Federal Government in my view has no business in construction of classrooms in the primary schools.

“How can someone decided where and how classrooms will be constructed from Abuja. The local education authorities should be allowed to do that.”, Abbas said.

He also observed that Nigeria is not ripe for state policing.

Abbas argued that most states in the country did not have enough resources to carter for it.

The lecturer advised that Federal Government should adequately fund and equip the existing security structures instead of creating another one.

With regard creation of more states and local governments, Abbas said before any state be created, it should be able to have economic means to sustain itself otherwise they should remain within the current structure. 


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