Controversy is trailing commands issued by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to some traditional rulers in Oyo State on Friday, DAILY POST reports.
DAILY POST recalls that some traditional rulers at an event in Iseyin, Oke-Ogun, Oyo State, on Friday, were commanded by Obasanjo to stand up and sit down as a sign of respect to the state governor, Seyi Makinde.
The incident occurred during the commissioning of the Iseyin campus of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso.
Obasanjo was invited by Mankide as a special guest of honour for the commissioning of the project.
In the course of the event, the former President commanded the traditional at the event to stand up and sit down as a sign of respect to the governor.
Obasanjo while addressing the gathering, told the traditional rulers that the governor’s position is superior to that of any king.
“Please, please, all of you, the traditional rulers, I greet you, thank you for your presence. But, let me say something, anywhere where there is a Governor or President, no traditional ruler, he has to stand up and greet the governor or the President. Stand up, sit down.
“Please in the Yoruba land, we respect two things: age and position. The governor’s position is superior to that of any king in as much as he is a governor. When I was a president, I prostrated for kings openly. But indoors, the king would bow down for me. Let us respect our culture,” he said.
But some traditional rulers, groups and individuals within and outside the state have expressed divergent views on the matter.
Those who spoke condemned the action of the former President.
He will never dare that against the Northern Emirs – Oluwo
The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, in his reaction, explained that Obasanjo can never do that to the traditional rulers in the North.
Oluwo, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Alli Ibraheem, noted that Yoruba traditional rulers are not uniform men anyone can command at will.
The monarch, in the statement obtained by DAILY POST on Saturday, added that the traditional rulers who stood up to obey such an embarrassing direction are to be blamed.
The monarch maintained that the display by the former President was an affront, an intentional desecration and sacrilege against revered stools of Yoruba land.
“I trust myself and my stool. At death, there are certain things my soul will not take let alone when alive, active and kicking. I only blame the monarchs who stood in obeisance to such an ignoble and desecrating of traditional institutions from the old man. Respects should be earned not demanded.
“Traditional Rulers respect their subjects too. There is a way respect is accorded to people of old age and position by monarchs. Kingship is an institution of God. As such, relating with kings requires a high sense of modesty, courtesy and respect.
“The display by the former president of Nigeria, General Obasanjo was an affront, an intentional desecration and sacrilege against revered stools of Yorubaland. An injury to one is an injury to all. Yoruba traditional rulers are not uniform men anyone can command at will. I don’t blame him, those Royal Fathers who stood up to obey such an embarrassing direction are to be blamed.
“I have strong assurance that such will never happen in and some few monarchs I will not mention “Iwo kogba igbakugba”. The show by the former general is condemnable. Yoruba traditional institutions demand an apology for the open desecration to molest and bring down the institution. He needs to prove himself as a core Yoruba man with an apology letter. Kings are not toddlers. We are fathers. He will never dares that against the Northern Emirs.
“This action should be a great challenge to the Yorubas most especially the Royal Fathers. This is the result when monarchs joined Ogboni confraternity and became junior to a road side mechanical engineer or carpenter. As a responsible monarch, you don’t have to join any secret society where you may be controlled by a teacher or even a herbalist,” he said.
Do not come to Oke-Ogun without an apology – Indigenes warn Obasanjo
Indigenes of Oke-Ogun have advised the former President not to come to the area without an apology.
The indigenes under the platform of Ebedi Frontliners, Iseyin (EFI) called on Obasanjo to apologize to traditional rulers in the zone without further delay.
They noted that the former President should steer clear of the zone if he failed to tender an apology.
EFI reacted to the incident in a statement signed by its Vice-President, Mr. Bambi Abiodun, and Public Relations Officer, Alhaji Segun Fasasi.
The duo in the statement made available to DAILY POST on Saturday, noted that the outburst by Obasanjo was unwarranted and not expected from a Yoruba elder and traditional chieftaincy holder.
They added that what Obasanjo did has caused global disrepute to the images of the monarchs and affected their collective psyche.
“We on behalf of true Yoruba sons and daughters, are using this medium to call upon the former President of Nigeria to immediately apologize to monarchs from Oke-Ogun zone for his undeserved remarks over his claim that they failed to stand up when the governor and himself climbed the podium at yesterday’s commissioning of the LAUTECH’s College of Agricultural Science and Renewable Natural Resources, Iseyin.
“We understand that upon the arrival of the former President and the Governor to the event, all the people rose as a sign of respect to the duo and did same when they climbed the rostrum to make their speeches, what made Chief Obasanjo barked orders at our monarchs to ‘stand up and sit down’ like a school headmaster to primary school pupils.
“We want it to be on record that with this action of the elderly politician and supposed statesman, we expect his apology soonest and if he fails to do so, we will want him to know that he is not welcome to step in any of the Oke-Ogun communities. We did not benefit anything from his eight years reign as Nigerian President, why would he come here to shout on our Obas? Those that know him well to give him candid advice should tell him to immediately tender unreserved apology to the monarchs”.
It is a taboo, display of rudeness to crowns in Yoruba land – Council of Yoruba Elders
The Council of Yoruba Elders in its reaction, described what Obasanjo did as a taboo.
The group made this declaration in a statement signed by the duo of Dr. Victor Taiwo, Secretary General and Mr Lanre Ogundipe, Publicity Secretary.
The statement was made available to DAILY POST on Saturday.
The group added that Obasanjo’s action was an arrant display of megalomania and utter rudeness to crowns in Yoruba land.
The Council said, “It was at this occasion that we saw, through a video which has gone viral, Chief Obasanjo acting like an adept overwhelmed by the spirit of Sango celt repugnantly vituperating and lambasting the large congregation of our Obas in attendance and commandeering them in the utmost contemptuous and denigrating manner to rise, and sit down like an Army General would his soldiers.
“When we saw this video, it initially occurred to us as a fictional movie. But when it dawned on us that it was a reality, lo and behold, it was a scene that could burst one’s lachrymal gland into rupture. For one thing, what Obasanjo did was infradignitatem to our Yoruba culture and tradition. It was a taboo. It was an arrant display of megalomania and utter rudeness to our crowns in Yorubaland.
“The position of our Obas could be discerned from their appellation as the Igbakeji Orisa (Second in command to the deity). And so, that the desecration of our Obas has come from a person of the status of Obasanjo whose Yoruba identity is under question is a great shame and denigration of the Yoruba culture and tradition.
“We, therefore, condemn this dastardly act from Obasanjo in all totality and so, we call for his public apology to all the disgraced Obas and the entire Yoruba people by extension. While we condemn the arrogant act of Obasanjo, we also feel ashamed and let down as well by all the Obas in attendance who kowtowed to the command of the lesser mortal as pupil would their teacher”.