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Pretence on role of traditional rulers

By Eric Teniola

SOKOTO  the home of the Caliphate received lot of dignitaries recently for the tenth anniversary of the twentieth Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar II. The attendance was a fitting tribute to the throne of the Sultan of Sokoto.

Recently the British Government returned the flag of the Caliphate which was captured on March 15th 1903 during the reign of Sultan Muhammadu Attahiru 1, who died in 1903. In his book titled The fall of Nigeria, Professor Obaro Ikime wrote a lot on this conquest.

The institution of the traditional rulers is facing hard times these days. Pardon me to refer, as always to the constitution to advance my argument. I cannot but make reference to the constitution for it is through the constitution that we are been governed. The 1963 constitution recognised the role of traditional rulers in our country for it gave automatic membership to the legislature to certain traditional rulers. Section 34(ii) of the constitution of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria 1963 states that (2) The Senators representing the Federal territory shall be

(a)The Oba of Lagos, who shall be an ex-officio member of the Senate; (b) a Chief selected in such manner as may be prescribed by Parliarment by the White-Cap Chiefs and War Chiefs of Lagos from among their own number; and two other persons selected for that purpose in such manner as may be prescribed Parliarment.

Section 4 of the Constitution of Northern Nigerian Law, 1963 states: There shall be a Legislature for the Region, which shall consist of the Governor, a House of Chiefs and a House of Assembly and which shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Region.

5 (1) The House of Chiefs shall consist of – (a) all first- class Chiefs, who shall be ex-officio members of the House; (b) ninety-five Chiefs having such qualifications and selected in such manner as may be prescribed by the Legislature of the Region (c) an adviser on Moslem law.

(2) The seat in the House of Chiefs of a Chief other than first- class Chief shall become vacant in such circumstances as may be prescribed by the Legislature of the Region. (3) In this section— “Chief” means any persons who is for the time being recognised by the Governor as a Chief;” First-class Chief” means any Chief whose officer is for the time being graded as that of a first-class Chief under any law in force in the Region.



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