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Monarchs hold solution to farmers-herdsmen clashes, say Experts

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Prompt restoration of the constitutional duties of traditional rulers in Nigeria has been identified as the needed solution to the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country.

This proposition formed the kennel of recommendations at a national seminar of the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Ilorin, Kwara State.

Keynote presenters at the yearly event, sponsored by the ARMTI to engender workable policies for the various cadres of government in the country, including Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Garba Abari, Emir of Shonga, Dr. Haliru Yahaya and a lecturer at the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin, Dr. Joseph Fayeye, said the traditional rulers remained the true custodians of the security situations of their domains.

Abari, speaking on ‘the Role/Relevance of Traditional Institutions in Citizen Mobilisation in Contemporary Nigeria: A Critical Appraisal,’ said traditional rulers in Nigeria are still highly respected and revered in many communities and thus wield considerable political and economic influence, adding: “Traditional institutions play critical roles in mediating between their people and the state, resolving vital linkage between government and the people in many instances.

“We, at the NOA, have found traditional institutions particularly useful in our grassroots orientation and mobilisation efforts.

“In many of our communities today, traditional rulers are not illiterates; they are mostly well educated people who have had distinguished careers in public and private sectors and have balanced world view and a good grasp of local, national and international development issues.

“Where then lies the gain in excluding them from national development issues, if I may ask?”

He noted that traditional rulers in the country have excelled in the areas of conflict resolution, legislative, executive and spiritual roles more than any existing institution in the country.

Speaking on ‘Harnessing the Roles of Traditional Institution for Agricultural and Rural Development,’ Yahaya said but for the interventional role of the monarchs, the Shonga commercial farming experiment of the state government would have collapsed long before its take off.

He said the cultural dichotomy between Nigerian farmers and their foreign counterparts would destabilise any synergy between them to the exclusion of the traditional rulers; hence the role of the traditional rulers “cannot be shoved aside in the area of foreign agricultural collaborations and peaceful coexistence of Nigerians across ethnic boundaries.”

Fayeye reiterating the need to harness the potentials of traditional institutions for agricultural and rural development in Nigeria, saying ruler-subject relation should move away from conservatism to innovation and productivity towards massive boosts in agricultural yields.

He added: “The achievements of traditional rulers in pre-colonial periods should be refocused for agricultural and rural development in Nigeria. The ruler-subject relations should be premised on promotion of dialogue among various agricultural stakeholders in Nigeria, especially in building up zones of competitive advantages to agricultural product development.

“Besides, they should promote peaceful coexistence among stakeholders, where competition for scarce agricultural and rural resources (land and water) are escalating into violence and criminality.”

In his address, Acting Executive Director of ARMTI, Dr. Olufemi Oladunni, said the timing of the programme was apt, as the traditional institutions hold the potential to unlock the solutions to the major problems presently confronting Nigeria.


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