Connect with us

News and Report

Royal incursion on political turf



Traditional rulers are gradually but increasingly getting involved in political activities under various guises, even as they are expected to be neutral.

In the run-up to 2011 general elections, Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers put up an action that many interpreted as an audacious incursion into the political terrain. The royal fathers had, in an unprecedented move, openly thrown their support behind the then governor, Ikedi Ohakim, one of the contestants.

Jonathan,-Ilomuanya-and-OkorochaThe traditional rulers, had, at one of their meetings at Imo Concorde Hotel, Owerri, resolved to support Ohakim’s second term bid.

In a communique signed by the then chairman of the council, Eze (Dr.) Cletus Ilomuanya; and the Secretary, Chieftaincy, Imo State, Jude Okorie, the members claimed that Ohakim had recorded unprecedented achievements in piloting the affairs of the state that he needed to be encouraged to continue in office for a second term.

The communique added that the traditional rulers in Imo were highly satisfied with the “extra-ordinary and superlative” achievements of the governor. They therefore resolved that all the traditional rulers in the state would stand by him in the 2011 governorship election.

Ohakim incidentally lost the election to the current governor, Rochas Okorocha, who ran on the ticket of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Okorocha has since ditched APGA for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The unusual step by the traditional rulers’ body is yet to be retraced from Imo politics. If anything, the government has built on it, and, in the process, systematically tying the royal fathers to its apron strings, albeit in veiled forms.

For instance, early in the life of the administration, the governor unfolded strategies to stamp out kidnapping and other violent crimes in the state with the traditional rulers placed as Chief Security Officers of his Community Government Council (CGC) initiative.

Apparently to underscore the importance of the initiative, Okorocha vowed to interrogate and withhold the salary of any monarch from whose domain a kidnapper was detected and apprehended.

Even with foot-soldiers of the governor swearing that the move was intended to rid the state of criminals and bring governance to the people, his political opponents, however, saw the arrangement as a veiled attempt at erecting a platform with which to co-opt and coerce traditional rulers into the politics of the state.

They argue in particular that proven loyalty of a traditional ruler to the governor is a major consideration in his participation in the scheme.

Sam Onwuemeodo, the governor’s media assistant, has however denied the charge, insisting that the exercise is merely intended at taking governance to the grassroots

“That is the erroneous interpretation of the waning opposition. The idea (CGC) is to (quicken) development at the grassroots and enhance healthy competition among the communities for development,” he said.

Ideas, he stressed, are bullets, arguing that the opposition in the state has been overtaken by events.

Elsewhere, there have also been actions that have been seen as amounting to involving monarchs in politics. Recently, for example, President Goodluck Jonathan came under attack from the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Odulana Odugbade, over his visit to the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, without seeing him.

The Olubadan, who is the current chairman of the Oyo State Council of Obas, felt slighted that the President visited his state without first calling on him. Jonathan had, within the period, paid courtesy visits on the Oba of Lagos, the Alaafin of Oyo, the Ooni of Ife and the Emir of Kano in an unprecedented one-day traditional rulers visiting programme.

Incensed that he was ignored during the visit, Oba Odugbade described the trip as selective, and capable of jeopardising the peace and bringing the Ibadan chieftaincy institution to disrepute.

Olubadan and other members of the Oyo State Council of Obas were said to be waiting for Jonathan, hoping he would visit his palace. However, on arriving Ibadan, the President, accompanied by Governor Abiola Ajimobi, drove straight to see the Alaafin.

The action, according to the Secretary of the Oyo State Council of Obas, showed that Ajimobi still recognised the Alaafin as the permanent chairman of the Oyo Council of Obas and Chiefs, stressing that it was contrary to the state’s Chieftaincy Law as amended in 2011, which prescribes that the chairmanship should be rotated among the Alaafin, the Olubadan and Soun of Ogbomosho every two years.

Jonathan has, however, cleared the air on the visit, stressing that he holds the Olubadan in high esteem and had no intention of ignoring him.The explanation appeared to have rested the issue.

Critics, however, fault the gradual but steady co-option of traditional rulers by high officials of federal and state governments into politics under different guises. Some particularly frown at the President’s selective visits to influential traditional rulers, interpreting the exercise as veiled attempt at initiating his 2015 campaigns from the back door. Those who reason along this line insist that the action and the royal fathers’ acquiescence run counter to the role expected of them in stabilising the polity.

Curiously, 1999 Constitution appears silent on traditional rulers’ participation in politics. Lawyers are, therefore, divided on whether the royal fathers should participate in the game in any way.

Monday Ubani, chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja, Lagos, for instance, argued that it is only in monarchical arrangement that traditional rulers have defined role in politics, but not in a presidential democracy as being practised in Nigeria. In the latter system, he said, the role of the royal fathers is essentially advisory.

Similarly, his colleague, Abdulazeez Ibrahim, who spoke from Kaduna, emphasised that the Constitution does not have provision for traditional rulers’ participation in politics, adding that allowing them to join in the fray would widen the scope of ethnic politics in the land.

Two other lawyers, who asked not to be mentioned, told our reporter that the prescription of traditional rulers’ non-involvement in politics is basically a moral issue that has no constitutional backing. They argued that given that the traditional rulers are held as fathers in their respective communities, they are not expected to be overtly affiliated to any political organisation.

Incidentally, participation of the royal fathers in politics, though under various guises, is not a recent phenomenon. During the colonial era, precisely under the Indirect Rule system, emirs were directly involved in administration of Native Authorities and Emirates, especially in collection of taxes in the North. Warrant chiefs performed similar roles in the East, and Obas in the West. The arrangement, to some extent, obtained even after the country’s Independence. Even without professing alliance to any political affiliation, the royal fathers were known to have allied with the ruling parties in their states. Some perceived to be recalcitrant or of doubtful loyalty were visited with different kinds of punishment ranging from suspension to, in extreme cases, dethronement.

Analysts, thus, see the current romance by traditional rulers with government at state and federal levels as mere survivalist strategy to keep their job.

By: Emeka Alex Duru

Continue Reading

News and Report





Nigerian Access Bank has been very outspoken about strengthening ties with France, but has not yet made much progress.

On the 10th floor of the Access Tower on Victoria Island in Lagos, the only sign that Access Bank has what it calls a “French Desk” is a tiny French flag in a corner. It has been nearly four months since the bank’s main shareholder and non-executive director, Herbert Wigwe, opened the Desk, but it has not yet done anything.

The Desk has been set up to help French companies work in Nigeria and vice versa. To this end, a partnership with the Business France office in Lagos is currently being finalised. However, its efforts will first focus on Ghana. Access Bank’s branch in Accra handles accounts for several major French companies, including TotalEnergies and the consultancy Mazars.

Presence in Paris

In May, Minister Delegate for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships Chrysoula Zacharopoulou attended the inauguration of the new French Desk, intended to mark a new step forward in Access Bank’s French strategy. Two weeks before, on 15 May, Wigwe became chairman of the French-Nigeria Business Council, replacing Abdulsamad Rabiu of BUA and then inaugurated a Paris branch at the Petit Palais with French Foreign Trade Minister Olivier Becht in attendance

Like the French Desk in Lagos, the Paris office, a branch of Access Bank’s London and run by Justin Maria, cannot do much. It currently cannot open an account for any clients, discussions are still on going with the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority.


Westward bound

The Paris branch of Access Bank and the French Desk in Lagos, which will also benefit from an office in Paris in the coming months, indicate its interest in the West African Economic and Monetary Union. The Nigerian bank acquired Standard Chartered Bank’s assets in Angola, Cameroon, The Gambia, Tanzania and Sierra Leone, and now intends to break into the markets in Senegal and Ivory Coast.


  • The Capital

Continue Reading

News and Report

Businesses to enjoy more value with Glo Prime




A new offer, Glo Prime, has been unveiled by Digital and telecommunications solutions provider, Globacom. It comes with a portfolio of call and data package aimed at aiding the growth of businesses by keeping them connected at all times and ensuring they get more value for the money they spend on the network.


The product, according to a Globacom statement, comes in four different plans with each of them delivering immense value to the businesses and other customers. The plans includeN1,500, N3,000, N5,000 and N10,000 packages.


Customer who chose Prime N1,500 pack will get 45 minutes of calls and  4GB of data, while those who prefer the Prime N3,000 plan will enjoy 100 minutes of calls and 12GB of data. Those who opt for Prime N5,000 pack will get 300 minutes of calls and 25GB data while 750 minutes of calls and a whopping 60GB of data await customers who pick the N10,000 pack.


Globacom stated that, “In a highly dynamic environment, there is  need for constant innovation to offer more value to our new and existing customers. The Glo Prime is, therefore, a portfolio of new plans designed to surpass similar products in the market in terms of flexibility, ease of use and value”.


It added that the introduction of Glo Prime reinforces the company’s position as a provider of the most competitive Voice and Data solutions for high value customers, both individuals and corporates.


The company, which marked its 20th anniversary in August, recently received two awards at the Consumer Value Awards and picked up another two at the prestigious Marketing Edge Annual Brand and Advertising Awards, lending credence to its  commitment to excellent service delivery and innovative offering to subscribers.

Continue Reading

News and Report

Court halts Aiyedatiwa’s impeachment, kinsmen hold solidarity protest




The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday, restrained the Ondo State House of Assembly from impeaching the Deputy Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, over alleged gross misconduct.

Justice Emeka Nwite gave the restraining order in a ruling shortly after Aiyedatiwa’s counsel, Kayode Adewusi, moved an ex parte motion to the effect.

The judge also restrained Governor Rotimi Akeredolu from nominating a new deputy governor and forwarding the same to the lawmakers for approval pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.

Justice Nwite held that after listening to Adewusi, he was of the view that the interest of justice would be met by granting the application.

“Therefore, the application of the applicant succeeds,” he held.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the embattled deputy governor had, in a motion on notice marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1294/2023, sued the Inspector-General of Police and the Department of State Services.

Others joined in the suit are Akeredoku, Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Chief Judge of Ondo State, and the House of Assembly as 1st to 6th respondents, respectively.

In the application filed by Mr Adelanke Akinrata on September 21, Aiyedatiwa sought four reliefs.

Justice Nwite, who granted all the reliefs, adjourned the matter until October 9 for hearing.

Meanwhile, hundreds of indigenes of Ilaje community in the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, on Tuesday, stormed Akure, the state capital, to protest against the ongoing impeachment process against Aiyedatiwa.

Aiyedatiwa, who is also an Ilaje man, had been served the impeachment notice by the state House of Assembly and was expected to respond to all the allegations in the notice.

The protesters, who gathered in front of the entrance of the Assembly gate with leaves in their hands, chanted various solidarity songs to express their support for the embattled deputy governor.

Some of them carried placards with inscriptions such as “Justice for Lucky, Lucky is innocent”; “Stop accusing him wrongly”; “Ilaje Nation stands with Aiyedatiwa”; “Aketi, Lucky is not your enemy,” and “Let Lucky finish his term,” among several others.

The protesters alleged that the impeachment proceedings were a plot to take Aiyedatiwa out of the race of the 2024 governorship election in the state.

Speaking on the development, one of the leaders of the protesters and Founder of the Ilaje World Congress, Mr Ola Juda, declared that the indigenes of Ilaje would not tolerate the impeachment move against Aiyedatiwa.

He said, “This gathering is the gathering of sons and daughters of Ilaje land; not only Ilaje, but we also have other sympathisers from Akure and Ese-Odo Idanre axis that have come together to protest against injustice and the battle that is going to erupt in Ondo State. The peace of Ondo State is being threatened by the actions of the Ondo State House of Assembly.

“For the past decades, an Ilaje man has never been a deputy governor but for the first time, we have a deputy governor, and yet powers that be have vowed that he will not finish his tenure. Aketi/Lucky mandate was given to both of them and if Aketi is still the governor of Ondo State, our mandate as the deputy governor remains.”

However, no member of the House came out to address the protesters.

The Akure Area Commander of the Ondo State Police Command, Mr Nzota Chidi, who addressed the protesters, advised them to be peaceful in order not to be infiltrated by miscreants.

In a related development, some former members of the Ondo State House of Assembly have condemned the process taken by the state Assembly to impeach the deputy governor.

The former lawmakers, under the auspices of the Concerned All Progressives Congress’ Ex-Lawmakers in Ondo State, said it was too early for the members of the 10th Assembly to take the issue of impeachment as a major priority at the expense of various challenges facing the state in recent times.

Speaking in Akure on Tuesday on behalf of others, a former lawmaker, Mr Abiodun Jerome, urged the state Assembly to play the game according to the rules, warning them against causing chaos in the state.

Jerome said, “Our intention is purely advisory. May we remind you, dear honourables (lawmakers) that Chapter 5 Part 2 and Section 90 to 129 of the Nigerian Constitution is very clear on the establishment of the House of Assembly and its functions.

“The present House of Assembly is less than four months old, and it’s very unfortunate that impeachment proceeding is their priority amongst the myriads of critical issues confronting our state presently.

“As former lawmakers, we have the responsibility to point attention to all forms of abnormalities we observe so that the general public is not misled. Although we could have ordinarily ignored the shenanigans of the orchestrators of the dastardly act, we are compelled by the trust once held by us with the political responsibilities as representatives of our various constituencies.”

Similarly, a political organisation under the aegis of Ondo State Consciousness Movement, on Tuesday, warned members of the Ondo State House of Assembly against being used as a political tool in the hands of the executive to achieve a predetermined objective.

The chairman of OCM, Shalom Olaseni, in a statement, said that the legislature should not allow its hallowed chambers to be tainted with political witch-hunts or targeted vendettas as being rumoured in various quarters in the state.

He said, “The alleged discord between the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who recently returned from a protracted sick leave abroad, and the deputy governor, stemming from the deputy governor’s alleged gubernatorial ambitions, should not be allowed to overshadow the pursuit of justice and adherence to constitutional principles.”


Continue Reading