Those who have seen a brief video that went viral in which a Yoruba man and former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, openly chastised monarchs in Iseyin, a town in Oyo State, for regalingly sitting down as Seyi Makinde and other dignitaries entered the venue of the opening of the Iseyin Campus of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), are still airing their complaints about the situation.
The incident, which many social analysts deemed absurd and an attack on Yoruba customs, particularly the value and very soul of the race Obasanjo claimed to represent, actually resembled a scene from the well-known Nollywood film “Sarowoide.”
It will be simpler to tie what happened in Iseyin to a specific scene where Lapite (Kola Oyewo) was seen berating Baales—heads of villages—from a storey building if you have seen the film. He referred to them as bastards while they remained silent after one Baale who opposed him was detained. In addition to lecturing monarchs on showing respect to presidents and governors, ex-President Obasanjo chastised monarchs and made them get up and sit like a principal would make a student in first grade.
Obasanjo was not completely mistaken. Every person in the country is expected to stand up and show respect when a governor or president enters the room. They refer to it as convention or tradition, but in my opinion, those with poor self-esteem overemphasize this habit. Are monarchs immune from having to stand up for governors or presidents when they enter a building? Of course, not.
In our constitution, there is no place for special citizens. Governors are head of states and elected leader of citizens including traditional rulers. If local governments keep paying monarchs their salary and benefits, they’ll still be viewed as LG employees wearing Agbada and beads.
The incident gave the impression of having two opposed sides to a coin. There were good and bad. The outright denunciation is illogical, absurd, short-sighted, and very low in level and worth of the person involved. Elder statesman Obasanjo is. The politician from Owu needs to learn better that criticizing kings in public is improper. Obasanjo definitely would have had his head chopped off for doing this back when rulers were revered as gods.
Power can occasionally be harmful. Only those with exceptional character and individuality may survive its toxicity. The same force that made Dapo Abiodun sit haughtily when he was prostrated for by council chairmen also affected Obasanjo. Our traditional leaders should not be ignored at the same time as we criticize Obasanjo for putting salt to exposed wounds. These scars, in reality, do not excuse or justify what Obasanjo did. To completely heal these wounds, our kings must be consciously upright.
It is impossible to tie corns around your waist and not become a chicken clown. Yoruba kings aren’t celebrities; they’re the incarnations of the gods. Monarchs and young celebrities now compete in public places. We have had cases where Obas led mob to the homes of their alleged rivals and yelled threats to hurl stones.
Obas use governors’ assistance to threaten their subjects or escape justice when they conduct crimes like land grabs and other offenses. The political rally was attended by a king. For electoral success, another person organised prayers. Why should politicians respect those who are in lower in rank?
Some obas have been known to leave their palaces to welcome guests at the edge of their towns. Some obas display a lack of restraint when acting and speaking in public. To push for contracts, they visit the homes of politicians while wearing white flowing Agbadas. Some Obas relied on their connections with governors to scale through questioning and would abandon or perform poorly contracts intended for the public interest. It is impossible to sow the seed of disrespect and harvest the fruit of respect.
While I concur that colonialism had a significant part in the destruction of traditional stools, it is crucial that our obas maintain their hallowed positions in a religious manner. They must protect local customs and retain a strong bond with their ancestors by taking part in all rituals. Simply put, throne security is impossible without tradition protection.
Kings now engage in open combat. They became embroiled in a messy marriage that would be scrutinized by the public. They ask lawmakers for financial help by calling or writing. They play politics and pursue the females of their subjects. These actions cannot honor the throne.
Our monarchs cannot continue to flourish in actions motivated by bad attitudes and expect to be respected. Respect for our monarchs must be earned if they truly desire it. They shouldn’t wear corns tied around their waists if they don’t want to be made fun of, since impolite people will undoubtedly find a reason to do so.