• en
ON NOW

Local Government Chairmen More Powerful Than Monarchs, Says Ooni of Ife 

He’s advocating for constitutional review to give more powers to traditional rulers

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II on Saturday raised concern over the manner by which the powers of traditional rulers have been whittled by government and therefore demanded constitutional review to give more powers to monarchs in Nigeria. 

According to him, a situation where even a local government chairman is more powerful than traditional rulers does not augur well for the country. 

He also told Nigerians to be patient with President Bola Tinubu saying he is neither a magician nor messiah to have solved every problem in the country within a short time.

The traditional ruler, represented by the Onifegunwa of Ifegunwa in Ile-Ife, Oba Adedire Adewole Solomon, stated these in Abuja during the 8th anniversary of the Nigeria Most Influential Awards (NMIA) organized by VGlamour Magazine. 

The Ooni who was also recognized at the event called on politicians to move closer to the grassroots, adding that every humanitarian deed has a reward.

“What we need as traditional rulers is that the constitution must be reviewed. We have a constitution whereby the government has total power over the traditional ruler. There is a clause in the constitution that makes the King less powerful to the extent that even a local government chairman has power over a monarch. It is not done, there should be a review”, he stated. 

He described the N27.5 trillion budget estimates for the 2024 fiscal year presented to the National Assembly by President Tinubu as a promising one. 

“The budget is a promising one and I want everyone to know that a lot of things have happened down the line, that things are so bad and it is not easy for you to bring up good thing. It is a gradual process. The President we have now is doing it gradually. The Ooni is closer to the President, advising him and with what we are seeing now, as times go on and by this time next year, we would all smile. The President is not a magician nor a messiah. We all know that it is not easy. If you are going to be great, you will be chastised but you have to remain focus”, the Onifegunwa said.

The Onifegunwa in his capacity described the Ooni as a monarch who has the people’s progress at heart. 

He said, “Position is good but personality matters. Ooni is very simple. He is down to earth. With that, he knows what the people and communities need. Your position doesn’t matter but how close are you to the grassroots? The other time, the Ooni was telling members of the National Assembly that they are living in affluence and luxury but how many of them can go to their town and villages for one week? We Kings do it. 

“That is to tell you that the Ooni does these things. He is man that gives to people and helps the less-privileged. He spends nothing less that N10 million in a day. Many people come to him for help and he sponsors a lot for them. In Ife, he has a Foundation where people from all over the country come there to train and he pays from his own purse. He is also ensuring that our cultures are revived despite that he is young and well educated.”

The Founder and Director-General of Tinubu Support Organisation (TSO), Aminu Suleiman, re-echoed the Ooni’s sentiments, while pleading with Nigerians to exercise patience with the President. 

While describing the current economic crisis as ‘a test from God”, he called on Nigerians to pray for their leaders. 

Suleiman said, “The current President, we are among the first people that began the journey because we all know his capacity. He was a former Lagos State governor and you see that for just four to five months that he took over, he has gone all over the world. This is the first time that we would see an African leader go to India for the G-20, he went to Saudi Arabia and he is in Dubai. We just need Nigerians to exercise patience with him because he met a lot of challenges. 

“Everyone knows that insecurity and many things are going on. Insecurity is a major problem because without a secured environment, you won’t be able to do many things. I think he is going to tackle security first and other things will follow. As a Muslim, this kind of economic crisis happened during the time of the Prophet. We can’t blame anyone for this. It is from God. I want to acknowledge the words of the former President Muhammadu Buhari who said ‘change begins with me.’ We, Nigerians also have problems. We have to start the change individually.”

The Publisher, VGlamour magazine, Vivian Lam, said the Nigeria Most Influential Awards was designed to honour excellence, innovation, and purposeful leadership across all various sectors in Nigeria. 

She said the awardees had in the last used their influence to stand in the gap between the government and the people while also impacting individuals, youths, women and children. 

Lam added that the process of picking winners was rigorous but highly transparent.

Friday Olokor, Abuja

ON NOW