Wednesday, February 12, 2020 5:00 pm
By Adegboyega Oyetola
I consider it a great honour to have been invited as the Special Guest of Honour by the Board of Trustees of the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding at this auspicious event of the National Summit on Security and Insecurity in Nigeria.
I heartily welcome our revered Royal Fathers, Invited Guests and other stakeholders from the 36 States of the Federation to the safe, serene and culture-rich State of Osun, and the hospitality of our people.
I commend the organisers of this Summit, the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, for organising this Summit as an intervention in the prevailing security challenges facing the Nigeria.
Osun is the home of culture, the haven of security and the annual destination of tourists across the world, who are eager to catch a glimpse of the rich cultural heritage and artifacts of the State. I am confident that Osun will stir up creativity in the participants and deliver the practical solution to the security that we all desire.
Through tourism, Osun has enhanced local and international mutual coexistence, understanding and peace. It is no wonder therefore that The State of Osun is the reigning most peaceful State in Nigeria and the harbinger of the Omoluabi ethos of peace, love, integrity, good neighbourliness and hard work.
The theme of this Summit, Security and Insecurity in Nigeria: The Role of Traditional Institution, is apt as it seeks to bring together experts across relevant institutions, including the academia, youth organisations, security agencies and the traditional institutions to brainstorm to further empower our traditional leaders who have responsibility for promoting peace, security, governance and development in the country.
There is no doubt that the traditional institution has contributed immensely to the security and the integration of the nation and has also played a role in tackling the prevailing insecurity situation in the nation.
However, the scope, scale and manner of prevailing insecurity, especially the technology and international dimensions, which pose new threats and challenges, require new strategies and contemporary competencies to tame. It is on this score that the decision of the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding to organise this Summit to expose our traditional rulers to these new requirements is also apposite.
I thank the organisers for carefully choosing experienced resource persons to deliver new strategies for tackling the new threats and challenges.
The nature of the participants, which includes security experts, youth organisations, academics and traditional rulers who are critical stakeholders will provide a huge empirical basis for a pragmatic approach to resolving the national security challenges.
The unprecedented scale of the security challenges requires a more cordial relationship and engagement between the Government and the traditional rulers for a more effective approach to security delivery. Government should therefore regularly engage with traditional rulers while programmes of this nature should also be consistently held at the State and national levels for optimum effect.
The traditional institution is the closest body to the grassroots and the custodian of the people’s culture and tradition. All crimes emanate from homes, communities, villages and towns. The traditional institution is, therefore, naturally the first port of call on security matters.
At moments of peace and at all times, it is the function of the traditional rulers to teach and encourage their subjects, including parents, guardians, youths and children to embrace and promote our cherished values of peace, good neighbourliness, love, tolerance, honesty and hard work in the interest of communal and national peace.
In situations of insecurity, traditional rulers must collaborate with the security agencies, sensitise and encourage their subjects to provide intelligence, expose the criminals in their domains, have dossiers on their residents, educate the people on government policies and programmes, and broker peaceful coexistence among ethnic and religious groups under their domains.
The first step to nipping crimes and insecurity in the bud is to intensify our community watch system to identify the bad eggs among us and bring them to justice before they turn around to kill, kidnap and terrorise us.
The State of Osun holds traditional rulers in high esteem as the embodiments and custodians of our culture, tradition and our Omoluabi ethos which make us tick. We regularly engage with them on security and other issues and carry them along on our policies and programmes as a way of delivering same to the people. We convene Town Hall Meetings across the State to engage in security talks and compare notes on how to better secure the State.
As a government, we have adopted bottom-up approach to address security matters. We are also collaborating with the governors in the South West and soliciting the assistance of the highest leadership of the military, the Police and other security agencies to secure the region and the State. It is such collaboration that led to the birth of Amotekun, aimed at securing the region and Nigeria.
All these have yielded positive dividends as our cattle herders and crop farmers relate in peace. As a way of demonstrating our commitment in that regard, we have in place Committee on Peaceful Co-existence between Fulani/Bororo and Crop Farmers in the State of Osun. With the help of the committee, we have resolved over 7,000 cases amicably. Your Eminence, Distinguished guests, let me also place on record that The State of Osun is the only state in Nigeria that has not recorded any act of violence to the extent of burning houses, maiming and killings usually associated with Herder/Farmer’s clashes.
Our residents coexist peacefully with Osun people and the security challenges which we witnessed early last year was swiftly tackled.
I have no doubt whatsoever that, given the cross-institutional composition of the participants at this Summit, the pedigree of our resource persons, our peculiar experiences and our collective passion for a safe and secure Nigeria, we shall arrive at positive outcomes that will resolve our security challenges.
Once again, I welcome you to the State of Osun and I wish you a stimulating and impactful Summit.
Thank you and God bless.
• Speech by the Governor, The State Of Osun, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, At The National Summit on Security and (In)Security in Nigeria: The Role Of Traditional Institution, held at the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, Osogbo, on Wednesday, February 12, 2020