By Chris Onuoha

Oba Idris Oladele Kosoko, Oniworo of Iworo Kingdom, Lagos, was a House of Representatives member (Badagry West) in the 3rd Republic. While in parliament, Kosoko was Chairman, House Committee on Science and Technology. The monarch, who is pleased with the Federal Government’s recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day as well as the symbol of the 1993 presidential election, the late Chief MKO Abiola, however, is not happy with the arrangement that excludes other democratic institutions shut down by military intervention at that time.

•Oba Kosoko

He also speaks on the issues of security and economy as the President continues his second term in office.

His words: “I commend the manner in which President Muhammadu Buhari handled the issue of June 12. He magnanimously approved Chief MKO Abiola as president-elect arising from the June 12 election and also recognises his running mate, Babagana Kingibe, as vice president.

“To me, it is a good thing because that’s what Nigerians are looking forward to. The election was adjudged to be free and fair with other democratic institutions duly elected as well.

“To be candid, the lawmakers who served in the 3rd Republic, and I am one of them, should also be remembered and given their allowances.

“In essence, if June 12 is now officially recognised as Democracy Day, then all the democratic institutions of June 12, comprising the 3rd Republic senators and Federal House members, should be recognised too.

“These institutions made a huge sacrifice and kept faith to sustain Nigeria’s democracy before the process was disrupted by the annulment”.

Also read: Buhari meets South South Monarchs over threat to declare Niger Delta Republic

On security

Speaking on Buhari’s remark that traditional rulers should take part of the blame on the issue of insecurity in the country, Kosoko said the President got it all wrong.

Buhari had been quoted as saying: “Traditional rulers are very close to the grassroots and should be able to know everyone in their domain and, as a result, should be able to fish out criminals that live among them”.

The monarch said: “Mr. President wouldn’t have said that traditional rulers have failed in the aspect of enforcing security in the country.

“I am very sure he has not asked traditional rulers who are not armed to go out and face criminals on the street knowing full well that kings do not carry guns; meaning that a person who is asked to protect somebody without protective measures risks his life.

“Constitutionally, traditional rulers are not allowed to carry guns; meanwhile security agents detailed to us have been withdrawn.

“In this case, a traditional ruler is as vulnerable as his subjects. If the President is now saying that traditional rulers have the right to arrest criminals, our powers are limited because the Nigerian Constitution has not really defined the role of traditional rulers; if I am being compelled to get a criminal arrested, the next thing I am expected to do is to take him to the police station.

“Then the police will take him to court where he may be granted bail. If that person is freed through bail, there’s the tendency that he will come back and commit more crimes and, perhaps, this time, severe, and he will definitely come to hunt the person who took him to the police or fingered his arrest.

“Many traditional rulers today are suffering in the hands of kidnappers. Some are robbed at gun point in their palaces or while driving on the road.

“Herdsmen brazenly enter palaces and threaten traditional rulers without fear. Monarchs are also at the mercy of state governors. All these come as a result of no defined roles for traditional rulers in the country.

“I think it will be wise for Mr President to give an order for the Constitution to be amended to define the roles of traditional rulers with adequate security provided for effective community policing.

“That’s the only way traditional rulers will be motivated to do a thorough job of security within their domains and community at large.

“If the roles are not constitutional defined, I am afraid there is nothing much traditional rulers can do.

On toll plaza

“I am of the opinion that the issue of toll plaza is not necessary especially now that the country has so many things to do with limited resources.

“I forwarded a bill to the 8th National Assembly that was supposed to ratify the issue of toll plaza in the country. The bill is on the alternative to toll plaza.

“It comes in form of vehicle stickers that will fetch the nation about N450 billion annually. And the process will create job opportunities for more about 10, 000 people without disrupting vehicular movement.

“Looking at how former toll plazas were dismantled after a short period of use, it does make economic sense when government channels the resources that should have been used to bring back toll plazas to other infrastructures that are begging for attention.

“And this in a way is a waste of tax payer’s money and that’s what motivated my sending the bill to the National Assembly for consideration.

“The bill has passed the first reading and waiting for the second reading. However, there’s been an impediment to that noble idea from some lawmakers who say toll plazas should be brought back on build and transfer (BOT) basis.

“I see this as a way of taking us backwards and allowing few people in government to misuse public money. I advise Mr. President to look inwards and consider what will benefit the masses more, than leaving a legacy for his party”.

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