By James Ogunnaike
A governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Segun Sowunmi has called for devolution of powers to community leaders, in order to stem the tide of insecurity in the country.
Sowunmi, who said this in Abeokuta, during a consultation meeting with Baales in Egbaland, as part of his governorship bid ahead of 2023 elections, noted the community leaders are the first level of security chiefs in their domains, noting that there is need for administrative and legal structures to empower them to carry out this task.
The Baales were drawn from Obafemi Owode, Abeokuta South, Abeokuta North, Odeda, Ifo, Ewekoro, all local government Areas in Ogun Central Senatorial district.
Sowunmi opined that Baales are not in contention with monarchs and should be allowed to perform their roles to drive the security and development at the grassroots.
He said “I am particularly concerned that we have not been able to find an administrative structure to accommodate Baales and take advantage of the closest they are to the people and the proximity to the land and it has cost us gravely.
“Part of the reason we have not been able to secure our fringes is because we have not given any responsibility to our Baales. It is time now to create a framework where the Baales will have bigger roles according to the procedures of the service in such a way that we know that these are the responsibilities they have and the wherewithal we have given them to be able to carry out the duties.
“If we must be secured, if we must develop evenly, if we must be prosperous, then we must figure out how to devolve more powers to the Baales.”
Sowunmi said if elected governor, he would amend Ogun traditional council law in order to address what he called “neglect of Baales.”
Responding, the Baales declared their support for Sowunmi’s governorship bid, saying he understands their challenges.
Chief Tunji Falola, who is also the chairman of the Baales in Egbaland, applauded Sowunmi, also an Egba son, for his development blueprint especially as it affects the traditional chiefs.
He said “We need to look for a capable leader, a leader with integrity, who is able, can do it and do it well. Then, we have leaders and leaders but where are they today? I am happy that Sowunmi is meeting us Baale for the first time now. A thousand and one other are still coming, I am sure of that.
“But do they realize that Baales are at the grassroots and that they can call their people and say ‘this is where we are going and their people would agree’. Not all leaders realise that here we are today with Sowunmi amongst us, coming here first and foremost even before going to the Obas, to seek our opinion and cooperation on his agenda.”