The Director General of the National Institute of Legislative Studies (NILDS), Prof. Abubakar Suleiman, has alleged that some traditional leaders in Ilorin Emirate were openly partisan in the last elections in Kwara State.
Suleiman spoke during an academic lecture organised to mark the turbaning of Dr Usman Atolagbe Abubakar Jos as Balogun Alanamu of Ilorin Emirate on Saturday.
The varsity don also flayed the IEDPU, the social political group considered as the umbrella body of all Ilorin sons and daughters, claiming they allowed political differences among the elite to rub negatively on their activities.
The lecture, which was attended by creme de la crème in the society had in attendance representative of the Governor; Vice Chancellors of the University of Abuja and the University of Ilorin; representative of the Turaki of Ilorin, Prof. Abdulganiy Jawondo, and other eminent personalities.
Suleiman, during his speech, noted the relevance of traditional institutions like the emirate in the past and contemporary age.
Speaking further, he criticised the traditional leaders for openly supporting politicians in the town and canvassing votes.
“While it is not unexpected that as a political animal, our fathers may have their preferences, but the office they occupy demands of them to be highly circumspect and ensure a semblance of neutrality in their dealings as their subjects belong to different political parties.”
Citing instances, the Professor stated some infractions in the handling of some of the key cultural and Islamic activities in the Emirate in recent years.
“By this, I am referring to aspects of the implementation of the Durbar, management and occurrences at Eid praying ground and even the prestigious annual IEDPU calendar launching to mention a few. My observation is that we have allowed political differences among the elite of the Emirate to rub negatively on the way these activities are handled,” he said.
He added, “At the time of elections, I have also noticed that our traditional and religious leaders openly support and campaign for one party against the others.”
This, he claimed, does not augur well for the credibility of the traditional institutions because they become vulnerable to political retributions, blackmail and manipulation.
Suleiman then advised the Ilorin Emirate and other traditional institutions to evolve innovative financial models.
“It is important to evolve innovative financing models that insulate traditional institutions from pressures and blackmail from political office holders,” he suggested.
However, contrary to Prof. Suleiman’s observation, the Special Adviser to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq on Special Duties, AbdulRazaq Jiddah, hailed traditional rulers and described their roles in the society as compass.
Jiddah, who represented the Governor, admonished that the laws be amended to allow traditional rulers play their critical roles.
“The traditional rulers play a pivotal role in the society. They’re the custodians of our religious and traditional heritages. They’re beyond reproach. So, instead of limiting the space available to the traditional rulers in the socio-political advancement of the community, we should father advocate for an expansion of their roles.
“I therefore urge our legislators to look into the possibility of codifying the roles and responsibilities of the traditional rulers in the community.”