By Lanre Adesanya
The Lagos State House of Assembly has called on Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode to bolster the standing of the Obas and Baales through an upward review of their salaries,considering the germane roles they play in ensuring peaceful society.
The state legislature urge Ambode to direct the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs to effect the change.
This call followed the passage of a motion for the Upward Review of Traditional Rulers Remuneration and the Use of Yoruba Language as a Medium of Communication at Palace and other Public Functions” by the House.
The House said the step had become necessary with a view to enhancing the performance of their traditional responsibilities in their various domain, directing the ministry, as a matter of urgency, to look into the indiscriminate creation of new stools of Obas.
According to them, the ministry should ensure that the process of upgrading the Baales to the status of Obas is strictly adhered to in the state.The House also enjoined monarchs and Baales to always use Yoruba language as a medium of communication in their respective palace and other public functions.
The prime mover of the bill, Mr Lanre Ogunyemi, the Chairman, House Committee on Education described the current salaries of Obas and Baales as “embarrassing and ridiculous considering the enormous responsibilities of the traditional institution”.
Ogunyemi said: “This House notes the enactment of the law to provide for an approved method for the selection, appointment and recognition of Obas and Chiefs in Lagos State and for purposes incidental and supplementary to it, Volume 8, Ch.02 of the laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.
“The House notes that the institution of traditional ruler is an enduring part of our heritage that plays a critical role in the preservation of culture and tradition.Also, notes that the stipend being paid to the traditional rulers as salaries despite the enormous challenges in administration at the grassroots, could cause distraction in the performance of their traditional responsibilities in their various domains.
“This House observed that if traditional rulers are encouraged to perform their statutory roles, their wealth of experience would fast track the desired change in their various communities and add values to governance.”
The lawmaker decried the use of English language to conduct most of the palace ceremonies and programmes instead of mother tongue.He expressed worry over the discretionary process of upgrading Baales and Obaship positions in recent times, saying that such development will degrade the esteem position.
In his contribution, Mr Tunde Braimoh,the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Strategy and Security, called on the traditional institutions to support the efforts of the government on security.
According to Mr Nurudeen Saka-Solaja, the Chairman, House Committee on Science and Technology called for direct payment of monarchs’ salaries from the state government.
The Deputy Speaker, Mr Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni urged the House to include the White Cap Chiefs in the arrangements saying Lagos Island does not operate with Baales.
The lawmakers took turns to support the bill before it was passed by the House as its resolution through a voice vote conducted by the Speaker, Mr Mudashiru Obasa.
Obasa described the current salaries of the traditional rulers as shameful, adding that it was important for the government to consider it and increase it.
He said that there was a need to sanitise the creation of new stools and upgrading of obas, adding that the government should always screen anyone before assuming position of Obas.The House adjourned its plenary session until June 5.