The Ona Onibode, Oba AbdulRasheed Adetoyese, is one of the three traditional rulers in Igboholand, Oke Ogun part of Oyo State.
In this interview, Oba Adetoyese talks about his relationship with the other traditional rulers in the community, why attacks on the community by criminal herders have been frequent, the roles that monarchs should play in governance, his relationship with ethnic activist Sunday Igboho and why it is difficult to stop criminal activities in Oke-Ogun area.
The people of Oke Ogun appear to have suffered more than any other community in Oyo State as a result of attacks by criminal herders. What could be responsible for this?
In my area here in Oke Ogun 2, we have little problems. When I say Oke-Ogun 2, I am talking about the Saki axis of Oyo State. It is different in Oke-Ogun 1, which is Iseyin and Ibarapa areas. There are more herders there than here. But the herders here have been living with us from time immemorial.
Also, we have constituted a security committee, and Fulani people who have been living with us for a very long time are members of this committee. Any time they see new sets of herders coming into the community, they would inform the monarch of the town. This has helped us in keeping tabs on the new herders that are coming into Igboho. Also, the Old Oyo National Park is very close to us. There some criminal herders used to hide. But to the glory of God, it is impossible now for the criminal herders to hide because of the combined efforts of local hunters, Amotekun, vigilante and the police.
The army barracks at Saki also deters criminal herders from using the forest. So crime among herders is not pronounced in our area. We have little problem here, unlike other Ibarapa areas.
What do you think the government can do to stop the problem of herdsmen attacking communities?
I don’t think you should limit the problems of insecurity to criminal herders alone. I would prefer we address the crimes being perpetrated by both herders and indigenes.
Some of our sons are unemployed and they engage in one crime or the other. If the government gives local government autonomy, these problems will be reduced. At least, governance would be nearer to the people. It is sad that graduates do not have anything to do other than ride okada (commercial motorcycles). This set of people is tempted to commit crime or act as accessories to crime if tempted with money.
If there is local government autonomy, there will be jobs in the community. The law that established the local government should be re-examined and the government should pump more money into the local government.
Government should also fund the local hunters in order to fight crimes. They are closer to the community and they know the terrains.
Unfortunately, these criminals have continued to come with different tactics day in and day out.
Look at Niger State; it used to be safe and peaceful, but not anymore. The increase in crime rate is not peculiar to any region in Nigeria. Everybody is feeling the pain of unemployment.
The crime rate would have been high in this part of Oke-Ogun if not for the security measure we put in place, though we still have pockets of crimes here and there, like herders going to destroy farms. But if you compare this with the way these criminals attack villages in the north, the difference is poles apart.
Crime in Ibarapa is high because some of the indigenes are working in tandem with the criminal herders in perpetrating crimes in the area. Things are worse there because there is a forest in that axis that shares a border with the Benin Republic. The forest is the hideout for the criminals. Government needs to support the local hunters in fighting crime on that axis. If local hunters go there and invade the forest without the support of the government, it could be counterproductive. For example, those who arrested a suspected kidnapper, Wakili, and handed him over to the police were detained. Government needs to find a solution to insecurity. For the problem of Nigeria to be solved, we need a new constitution, not constitution amendment.
In all this, what role do you think traditional rulers should play?
Unfortunately, the present political arrangement does not favour traditional rulers. The traditional institution is not part of governance. Traditional rulers are not part of political decision making. Yet traditional rulers are closer to the people. For example, here, in each of the local government areas, there are traditional council members. Each council has 15 members who are expected to be meeting periodically. Besides that, we have the ones for states too. But most of them are currently not meeting. Some governors do not even consult these traditional rulers on security matters.
Traditional rulers do not have any role to play in the Nigerian constitution. In the olden days, monarchs were charged with ensuring peace in their communities. But now, the local government chairman is in charge. Even in electing or appointing these local government chairmen, the traditional rulers are not contacted. The traditional institution will address the problem of insecurity if the new constitution is made.
There are three traditional rulers in Igboho. How have you managed to avoid clashes?
Each of the monarchs has his own domain. If something happens, we call ourselves to manage whatever happens in the wards.
Also, the government has created wards. In my domain, I have four wards. I have the largest quarters in the town. We are always in touch.
When there is a conflict of interests, how do you resolve it?
Yes, we sometimes have conflict of interests, but what we have resolved is that whatever benefit is coming, is coming to Igboho and Igboho people are the ones that would benefit. It is one town under the umbrella of three kings. The government is aware that there are three kings in Igboho.
Majority of the people are more familiar with Sunday Igboho than Sunday Adeyemo. What is the relationship between Sunday Igboho and the Igboho community?
Sunday Adeyemo is a native of Igboho. He had in many interviews explained that he grew up in Modakeke, Osun State and his father, while living in Modakeke, was known as Baba Igboho because he hailed from Igboho. Then people were calling him Sunday Omo Baba Igboho. Later, they removed the ‘omo’ and started addressing him as Sunday Igboho when his father left Modakeke and returned to Igboho. He is an Igboho son. His father and mother are from Igboho.
Not all the Yoruba are in support of his crusade, especially his quest for an Oduduwa nation. If you were to advise him, what would you be telling him?
You should understand that something brought about the agitation. The killing of the Yoruba in Ibarapa area brought about the agitation. Even many people were in pain before his own agitation started. Many people felt these herders would not stop oppressing the natives to the extent that even when their cattle graze on the farms, if the farmer resisted, he would be arrested. And the police were helpless too. Many of the natives were displeased with this. That was the beginning of the agitation. Some who were displeased but could not do anything decided to support him.
For those who are against him, you should understand that not everybody would accept your cause. Some people who feel that a united Nigeria holds more benefits for them than a fragmented country would not support him. Probably in his own wisdom, he feels if Yoruba stands as a nation, it would be beneficial than being part of a united Nigeria.
Even among the traditional rulers, there is no consensus.
Traditional rulers are suffering. Ideally, we are supposed to assist the populace. But it is not so. And that is why you see traditional rulers pandering to the wishes of politicians. Those who are advising Sunday Igboho to do this or that have reasons for doing so.
Traditional rulers are now running away from tradition and some rites. Do you think this is healthy?
Yes, that is true. And there are many reasons for this. If you don’t know the foundation of something, it will be a lot difficult for you to destroy it. If you check the history of Yoruba monarchs, you would see that the majority of them had short reigns. The reason was not far-flung. Most of these people who were privy to the traditional rites had the key to the lives of these monarchs, and they would do anything to terminate the reigns of such traditional rulers if they were displeased with them. But the present day monarchs are wiser. They avoid some of these rites in order not to be entangled. This is the more reason they run away from certain rites and they live longer. Monarchs are more careful now.
We’ll not ban Almajiri qur’anic education, but reform it — Gov. Tambuwal
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has said the state government was targeting the remodelling of the Qur’anic education system and not banning it.
Tambuwal stated this on Saturday at the closing of a two-day workshop for the adaptation of the Indonesian Pondok system into the Almajiri-Islamiyya educational system in the state.
He expressed government’s determination to ensure that the initiative was implemented to the letter, stressing that any recognisable success of the system would upgrade and improve the state’s educational system.
He said: “We are not aiming to ban the Almajiri qur’anic education system as some people have urged the Sokoto State Government to emulate other states.
“We are striving to provide reasonable solutions to the challenges and with the present initiative the time has come.”
Tambuwal assured of full implementation of the suggestions made by resource persons and the design of a programme that would surely be a solution to the educational challenges, especially bridging the gap of out of school children.
In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, urged the Federal Government and its agencies, including the Universal Basic Education Commission, to consider making financial provisions to the Almajiri qur’anic educational system.
Abubakar noted that when the implementation of the initiative begins, the out of school children figure will drop as well as curtail those roaming the streets.
The Sultan urged others states to emulate Sokoto state on the initiative, in recognition of its importance and suitability to Nigerian’s system of education.
The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Social Investment Programmes, Maryam Uwais, expressed delight at the initiative as it was in line with the President’s efforts at reducing poverty and empowering Nigerians.
Uwais said: “The huge numbers of marginalised youths and children, who have no education, school dropouts who have no skills, have contributed to the dismal outcomes of security challenges.
“The challenges also include females who faced incidence of gender based violence, along with cases of early marriages arising from lack of education, which leads to diminished opportunities.”
She noted that the Pandok system focuses on character development and addressing socioeconomic challenges that children faced, as well as improving educational levels which were all aligned with Sustainable Development Goals.
Uwais added that her office was working towards empowering between 30 to 50 youths in all the local government councils, to supervise and monitor others on valuable skills to be acquired, through various initiatives.
Earlier, the Executive Director, Sokoto State Arabic and Islamic Education Board, Alhaji Umar Altine, said based on the study conducted, the Pandok system of education in Indonesia were owned and managed by individuals or communities, regulated and assisted by the federal ministry of religious affairs.
Altine said the major sources of sustainability were Endowments (Waqf) and Alumni, noting that based on advocacy and sensitisation by the board, six Qur’anic schools had adopted the model.
In her presentation, UNICEF Education Specialist, Sokoto Field Office, Dr. Safiyya Tahir, said that no fewer than 1.2 million children were out of school in Sokoto State, noting that early children development centres were mostly owned by private schools, with only a small percentage owned by public schools.
Tahir said the Pandok system would be relevant to the culture of Sokoto people because they shared similarities with the Indonesians as many families prepared their children for enrolment in religious schools in early life.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that several resource persons made presentations at the occasion, including Dr. Bala Muhammad of the Mass Communication Department, Bayero University, Kano, and Prof. Abdullahi Sule-Kano of the Political Science Department, BUK.
Others were: Prof. Maryam Koko of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto; Prof. Suleiman Khalil, Sociology Department in UDUS; Prof. Bashir Galadanci; and Prof. Muhammad Junaid.
The Eagle Online
Resident Doctors Vote to Continue Indefinite Strike
Striking resident doctors in the country have resolved to sustain their ongoing industrial action until their demands are met by the federal government.
The strike by members of the National Association Resident Doctors (NARD) has entered its seventh week, with their parent body, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), also threatening to embark on solidarity strike if the dispute is not resolved by next weekend.
The resident doctors are demanding payment of arrears of salaries of their members on GIFMIS platform as well as approval of new hazard allowance for the health sector, among other demands.
Rising from its Annual General Meeting (AGM) that ended yesterday at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi State, NARD said that it had unanimously resolved by vote to continue the total and indefinite strike action.
A new national leadership also emerged at the meeting with Dr Dare Godiya Ishaya as the new president of NARD.
NARD said that: “After critical appraisal of the performances of both federal and state governments on all the issues that led to the ongoing strike as stated above, the AGM unanimously resolved by vote to continue the total and indefinite strike action until our minimum demands are met”.
In a communiqué jointly signed by NARD President, Dr. Dare Godiya Ishaya; Secretary General, Dr. Suleiman Abiodun Ismai; and National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Alfa Yusuf, the doctors said that federal government should ensure that their demands are urgently met before normalcy would return to the health sector
The resident doctors said they are demanding the payment of the Medical Residency Training allowance within 72 hours since the money meant for it is available and verification of the list for payment has been completed.
They also demanded payment of the arrears of salaries of their members on GIFMIS platform within 72 hours while the migration process continues.
Other demands of the Resident doctors include: “Withdrawal of the case against us in court in the interest of peace; and payment of our withheld August and September salaries”.
NARD said that federal government should prevail on various state governments to urgently “pay arrears of salaries and allowances owed our members in the state tertiary health institutions as stated above”.
In the communiqué, NARD said they were committed to the smooth running of the health sector, but can only do so when their welfare is given the desired attention.
“We, therefore, call on all well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to set aside all technicalities as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari and resolve the aforementioned demands in the interest of the masses and our members who are currently suffering because of the ongoing strike action,” it said.
Earlier during the AGM, the doctors bemoaned the delay in payment of death-in-service insurance benefit to the next-of-kin of the fallen heroes despite their sacrifices to the country.
They expressed concerns over the conditions of their members under different state governments’ employs, especially Abia, Imo, Ekiti and Ondo states, where their members are being owed 20 months, six months, four months and four months’ salary arrears, respectively.
They meeting also observed with serious concerns the poor response of most state governments in domesticating the Medical Residency Training Act of 2017 while commending states like Delta and Benue for adopting the law.
In particular, NARD expressed appreciation to the governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who has paid its members the 2021 MRTF during the ongoing strike.
The meeting lamented the acute manpower shortage in most tertiary health institutions and the attendant burnout effects on its members.
The communiqué said that NARD observed with serious concerns that despite several meetings with the presidential committee on salaries and other top government stakeholders on the review of hazard allowance for health workers, the hazard allowance still remains a paltry N5,000.
It also noted the non-payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance to some of the members in federal and most of its members in state tertiary institutions.
Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Thisday News
BREAKING: IPOB orders sit-at-home on October 1, removal of all Nigerian flags from southeast
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has declared a sit-at-home across the Southeast on October 1.
IPOB said the October 1 sit-at-home is to show its rejection of Nigeria and all the country stands for.
In a statement by its spokesman on Saturday, Emma Powerful, the group also declared the commencement of “operation no Nigerian flag begins in Biafra land from October 1st.”
Powerful said the sit-at-home order was declared to celebrate Ambazonia Independence Anniversary.
The statement reads partly: “IPOB has declared 1st of October 2021 total shutdown in Biafra land as a sign of our rejection of the evil construct called Nigeria and there shall be no movement in Biafra land on this day.
“Also, IPOB has declared from today 25th September 2021 that all Nigerian flag mounted anywhere in Biafra land must be brought down, Banks exceptional, IPOB leadership will communicate to Banks directly and give them reason they must peacefully bring down Nigeria flag in their banking premises before we do it ourselves in our own way.
“Every body must strictly adhere to this directives from IPOB leadership, we want to let the world know you that Biafraland is not Nigeria and shall not be. Don’t say I don’t know, a word is enough for the wise.”
Seun Opejobi, Daily Post
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