Wednesday, October 31, 2018 11:43 pm
As the 2019 general elections approach, traditional rulers across the country have been charged to remain non partisan and apolitical, in order to ensure violent-free elections.
The Paramount ruler of Eleme Kingdom, Rivers State, HRH, Dr. Appolus Chu, gave the charge while addressing journalisits at the just concluded consultative meeting of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), South-South, South-East chapters, which held in Benin City, capital of Edo State.
The meeting had as its theme: “Ensuring a violent-free 2019 general elections in our zones and kingdoms: the role of traditional rulers,” and was co-chaired by HRM, King Edmond Dakoru, (Chairman, Kings of South-South Forum) and Eze Eberechi Dick, Chairman, Abia State Council of traditional rulers.
King Chu however advised Government authorities to provide the enabling environment for the electorate to cast their votes during the elections without fear of molestation.
The royal farther who facilitated the meeting, called on his colleagues to rise to their responsibilities, to ensure violent-free elections, come 2019.
“We want traditional rulers to rise up to their responsibilities, because we cannot just let it go the way things are going now. We would not allow things to go out of place before we rise up to the occasion. We foresee trouble, trouble can breakout out of struggle for power
“We want our people [royal fathers] to engage all the stakeholders, call all the political parties to advise them.
“We should not be partisan in politics, we should not support any political party. We should call everybody into palace and advise all political parties that they should go and try their popularity among the electorate, not by violence, not by fighting.
“We can also emphasize to our subjects to comply with government’s rules. INEC has set out rulers, they [politicians] have to respect those rules. Let them go there and cast their votes and not cause trouble.
“Government should also provide the enabling environment where the people will go and cast their votes without being molested, without being harassed, without being chased away.
“We must not allow it to go out of control, we have just one country. If we set it on fire, where then are we going to stay?, he queried.
Earlier, in his welcome speech, one of the co-chairmen, HRM, King Edmond Dakoru, who doubles as Chairman, Kings of South-South Forum, said this at the second consultation meeting aimed at finding synergy among the royal fathers and to put heads together to have a platform where traditional rulers could speak with one voice.
“This meeting is specifically convened to consider the security situation in the country. You know, the elections are around the corner, this is a very tensed time, and as traditional fathers, we try to get together and look at the matter from the grassroot point of view.
“We have at many times looked at it from the national point of view, but this time, we change tactics, to say let’s look at it from the local point of view, because, if the local government areas and communities are safe, then Nigeria will be safe. So, this is a complete departure from the past.
“As these elections approaches, we royal fathers need to rededicate ourselves to reaffirm what we have been doing, to draw up some kind of checklist. Elections always exacerbate existing problems, so we have to address the flashpoints. There is no community without a flashlight,” he said.
Goodwill message from the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja ll, was delivered by his representatives, HRM, Oba Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede, paramount ruler of Igbara-Oke Kingdom, and HRH (Arc) Aderemi Adedapo, paramount ruler of Ido Osun and Secretary of BOT, National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria.
The Ooni described the forum as a good platform from which to assist the government on election matters.
He said: “Because of incessant cases of insecurity in the country, election challenges, essentially, we need to cooperate to operate. Our fundamental concern is that everything goes smoothly and successful.”