Tinubu, South-South monarchs’ desire for inclusive, responsive governance

In a key engagement with the South-South Monarchs Forum this week, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to tackling the multifaceted challenges facing the South-South geopolitical zone, a region historically embattled with environmental degradation and developmental hurdles.

The South-South Monarchs Forum, under the leadership of the chairman of the Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers and Vice-Chairman of the Forum, His Royal Majesty Major-General Felix Mujakperuo (Rtd), is a collective voice of authority. Their audience with the President signifies the monarchs’ desire for an inclusive and responsive governance in the country.

The President’s address to the traditional rulers was reassuring. He outlined his government’s strategies, which encompass a broad spectrum of initiatives from combating climate change to enhancing infrastructural development, all while prioritising the security and stability of the region. This holistic approach demonstrates the President’s awareness of the intricate interplay between environmental health, economic progress and social stability.

The President’s commendation of the monarchs for their understanding and support of his administration’s economic reforms, particularly the controversial removal of the fuel subsidy, underscores the complexity of decision-making in a nation striving for sustainable development.

His promise that the sacrifices made today will yield benefits for future generations reflects a vision of long-term prosperity and resilience.

Acknowledging the critical role of the traditional institution in Nigeria’s socio-political development, the President emphasised the importance of intelligence sharing for national development.

His recognition of the monarchs as vital sources of grassroots intelligence and his invitation for open communication signal a collaborative governance style, crucial for addressing the unique challenges of the South-South region.

The President’s assurance to personally address each concern raised by the monarchs underlines his commitment to the region’s welfare.

His call for continued support and prayers, and his encouragement for youth engagement, reflect a leader attuned to the socio-cultural dynamics of the country. This approach, emphasizing unity and collective effort, is key in navigating the path toward national progress.

In response, Major-General Mujakperuo’s appeal to the President for diligent follow-through on developmental efforts in the region highlights the community’s eagerness for tangible progress.

His acknowledgement of the President’s expertise in the energy sector, coupled with his experience, fosters optimism for a future where the long-standing issues of the South-South region are not just acknowledged but effectively addressed.

The meeting, steeped in symbolic significance, speaks to the President’s understanding of the intricate relationship between governance and traditional institutions.

It also shows the fundamental role of leadership in bridging the gap between policy formulation and grassroots implementation.

The South-South geopolitical zone, endowed with abundant natural resources, has been at the forefront of Nigeria’s economic narrative. Yet, the region has grappled with environmental degradation, chiefly resulting from oil exploration activities. The ecological footprint of these activities has manifested in pollution, loss of biodiversity and a compromised quality of life for the inhabitants.

The President’s focus on environmental restoration as a key agenda item would address these long-standing concerns, promising a future where economic activities do not come at the expense of ecological health.

Also, the President’s emphasis on infrastructure development in the region opens avenues for enhanced connectivity, economic diversification and improved living standards because Infrastructure is not just a matter of physical construction but a catalyst for socio-economic transformation, essential for the region’s integration into the broader national and global economy.

Security and stability in the South-South region are another cornerstone of the President’s commitment. The region’s history of militancy and unrest, often stemming from a sense of marginalization and environmental injustices, necessitates a security approach that is as much preventive as it is responsive. Therefore, the President’s pledge to ensure stability is a crucial step toward creating an environment conducive to development and prosperity.

The President’s meeting with the South-South Monarchs Forum reaffirms his administration’s dedication to inclusive governance. By engaging with traditional rulers, the President recognizes the intrinsic value of cultural leadership in governance.

The interaction also marks a significant stride in addressing the region’s concerns. His commitment to environmental restoration, infrastructural development and regional stability, coupled with an inclusive governance approach, sets a hopeful tone for the future. The collaboration between the government and traditional institutions paves the way for a harmonious and prosperous South-South region, integral to the nation’s overall advancement.

This meeting, thus, signals a new chapter in the narrative of the South-South region — one of active engagement, progressive policies and sustainable development.