The conflict between religion and culture is not new. It all began many years ago when foreign invaders undermined our institutions by invading our territory. They refer to it as colonization, modernism, or conquest, but I see it as slavery, war against humanity, or egregious violations of people’s rights to live in peace. Through education and religion, they infiltrated us. Our tormentors have expressed regret for their terrible and cruel deeds committed on our land on multiple foras.
The terrible irony is that our tormentors’ offspring are now aware of the numerous terrible deeds committed by their ancestors. Some of the characters here, whose ancestors were victims, act in ways that belittle their apology the more they apologize.
The pain would have been minimal if commoners had been the ones performing these mocking acts, but those who wear voluminous Agbadas adorned with beads, signifying royalty, and who are charged with defending our traditions and customs are the ones tampering with the values they are supposed to defend.
Instead of eliminating these individuals from the system, our leaders have persisted in supporting individuals who have chosen to denigrate customs and intentionally make fun of the habits and behaviors of our ancestors. The bigger issue is that they have become friends with our politicians, who are desperate for power and have enough money to appease hungry kingmakers.
When I saw on social media that a Yoruba monarch had knelt before a Nigerian pastor, I expected to see controversial rulers like Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Oluwo of Iwo, and Ooni of Ife. These are monarchs with a track record of dabbling in contentious issues. I even hinted to a friend that we were nearing the end of the year and they might want to conclude it controversially. I promptly searched the internet and came across Afolabi Gandhi, a recently crowned king who had recently departed Ipebi, a traditional retreat where the monarch is taught rituals, customs, and practices and one wonders what they are being taught in Ipebi.
The picture of Afolabi Gandhi kneeling down for Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseas of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), brought back memories of Adebayo Faleti’s critically acclaimed film “Bashorun Gaa.” The movie tells the story of a military commander who won numerous battles and gained the admiration of his people. He was feared by many because he was in possession of spiritual powers and was known to possess charms and medicinal powers.
Bashorun Gaa persuaded other chiefs to appoint a king after seizing control of the Oyo empire. The entire Oyomesi was taken by him, and the town was in chaos. Later on, the monarch was counseled to ask for Bashorun Gaa’s blessings. The king was depicted bowing and knelt before Bashorun Gaa in an Adebayo Faleti film, pleading for his blessings so that the community may flourish and live in peace. He begged the king to offer up a prayer for him on his knees. In order to get morning blessings, he also gave the order that the monarch must always visit his home. Before doing anything, the new king had to ask his approval. I know how it ended, you know.
It is true that Afolabi Gandhi will not be the first king to bow down in front of a Nigerian pastor while wearing a crown. Although we had experienced more distressing and similar situations in the past, the bond between Afolabi Gandhi and Pastor Enoch Adeboye reminded me of the Bashorun Gaa tragedy. I was dismayed, not shocked, to see the offensive photo of Afolabi Gandhi kneeling down for Pastor Enoch Adeboye. Why didn’t this surprise me? Following the tragic death of the late Jimoh Oyewumi, Afolabi Gandhi served as a preacher before entering the race to become the next Soun of Ogbomoso.
Why did I feel let down? I was really dismayed by the growing colony of Yoruba kings that intentionally defame customs and act in ways that belittle the thrones of our ancestors. The fact that this act of shame took place in the same state where former Olusegun Obasanjo told monarchs to sit up and behave like a teacher giving instructions to a group of uncooperative students on Assembly Ground is even more upsetting and depressing. I was depressed after seeing the viral picture and warned a friend that politicians in this country would destroy everything.
I have to utilize the internet more because this digital age requires caution. Later, I came upon a brief video that showed the occurrence. Pastor Enoch Adeboye was seen holding Afolabi Gandhi’s head as he knelt down with a crown on his head. I wondered what pastors stand to gain when they publicly implore weak traditional leaders to prostrate themselves on their knees. To prove they’re better or gather naive supporters? I would humbly like to know if Pastor Adeboye has ever witnessed the late Queen Elizabeth or her son Charles knelt down wearing a crown. Pastor Adeboye wouldn’t have asked King Charles, in my opinion, to kneel down if he were invited to Buckingham Palace to pray for him. Why is there a lack of respect here? More information on Pastor Adeboye’s animosity toward the race of his ancestors may be found here.
The only horrific event that came close to this despicable behavior, in my opinion, was when President Bola Tinubu’s son Seyi Tinubu was spotted messing with Oba Akiolu of Lagos’ beards. What consumed Pastor Adeboye, whether we forgive Seyi Tinubu for being naive or overcome by excurberance? Power, ostentation, or what? The Yoruba people as a whole are due an apology from Pastor Enoch Adeboye and his son, Afolabi Gandhi. Pastor Adeboye cannot call himself a disciple of Jesus Christ and follow customs that are not in line with the teachings of his Lord. Was there a king who knelt for Jesus? No. Did he criticize the customs he encountered? No. It is necessary to inform Pastor Adeboye that he is going beyond what the scriptures say.
Worrisome are the disappearance of traditional leaders’ ethics and the erasure of cultural practices. HRH Oba Ismaila Yahaya Alebiosu, the Olupo of Ajase-Ipo, was seen bending down two years ago to give a letter to Kolapo Ibrahim, the Oba of Ilorin. Two years ago, I witnessed a Yoruba monarch bowing down in honor of Pastor Paul Enenche. Why do we continually find our Yoruba rulers kneeling for politicians and preachers in the news? No news article that I have seen shows an Igbo monarch or emir kneeling or prostrating himself before a politician or cleric. If the world sees us as shameful, what benefit do our Yoruba kings stand to gain?
These problems highlight the flaws in our established system. It reveals the corruption in politics and the significant influence money has in the coronation of rulers. The characters we place on thrones are revealed in greater detail. It serves as a further reminder that we would be the victims of any conspiracy or hypocrisy that we permitted to grow. Our dwindling customs and traditions need to be saved.
I find it offensive that Pastor Adeboye would dare to demand that a traditional leader kneel before him. How traditional monarchs have become so susceptible is something I often wonder about. According to my understanding, the throne is supposed to grant people bravery and strength. Because they are not rightfully crowned, do they miss these powers? Clowns and religious perverts will no longer hold the thrones when we begin the customary process of choosing and installing Yoruba rulers. We implore the politicians to preserve the Yoruba race. We humbly demand that our customs and culture must be preserved. The Yoruba race has been declared extinct, and the burial is something we expect if we carry on crowning people like Afolabi Gandhi.