Since the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Lagos state governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, recently stirred the honet nest by disclosing that only three monarchs in Yorubaland are upright, describing others as “useless”, the region has known no calm.
“You are not part of the useless Obas in Yorubaland who will sell out, we know them and it is not yet time to mention names. In Yorubaland today, you are the best monarch and that is not contestable. The good Obas’ in Yorubaland, who are forthright, firm and stand by the truth are not up to five, they are just three. Oba Awujale, Oba Akiolu and another,” Tinubu said when given the podium at special prayer session held at the Ijebu-Ode Central Mosque to mark the 80th birthday of the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona.
Several traditional institutions in the region however have begun to meet on Tinubu’s comment describing it as an aberration on the sacred Yourba tradition. Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, while addressing a group of foremost traditional rulers in Osun State lampooned the APC national leader over his statement.
He said it was the traditional rulers in the South West that held their subjects together, giving room for people like him (Tinubu) to actualise his political ambition. The traditional ruler said he had to express his protest over the statement credited to Tinubu on behalf of the majority of Yoruba rulers in Nigeria.
According to Sijuwade, Tinubu had forgotten that “when our country was upside down, it was the traditional rulers in this country that saved the situation. If we left the country as politicians did, there would have been no state for the leader of APC to rule when he came back.
“Two among the three obas mentioned by him were the best friends of the late military head of state, General Sani Abacha and among them, one was on the paylist of the late General and one lifted crude oil allocated to him by General Abacha. You can ask them, Abacha gave me money on more than one occasion, but I refused.
“And if you want to talk of the annulment of late Chief M.K.O. Abiola’s election, these two/three traditional rulers should be properly investigated, because they were neither here nor there,” the traditional ruler said.
“If any of our leaders wants to make a categorical statement on an important issue like the Oba in Yorubaland, he should please try to check records to know exactly what each one of them has done, because there is so much blackmail and, fortunately, the late Abacha’s Chief Security Officer (CSO) is alive and he is in a position to tell the world the obas who were close associates of his late boss,” Oba Sijuwade added.
A senior traditional chief in Lagos who does not want his name in print said“ Am sure Oba’s in Yoruba land will officially respond to him. We meet and discuss the issue, we know our worth, our subjects respect us and hold us in high esteem, why should a politician who want to lead the Yoruba nations say the Traditional rulers are useless. With this Tinubu can never be addressed as a Yoruba leader. In fact he does not worth being called a Yoruba man; a son will not insult his culture.”
The high chief said that Tinubu’s generalisation of Yoruba Obas as useless, is self indictment as the APC leader has collected chieftaincy titles from these Obas he labeled as useless. Apart from being the Asiwaju of Lagos, Tinubu is the Agba Akin of Ijeshaland; Aare of Ile-Oluji; Aare Atayese of Ilawe Ekiti, Aare Ago of Egba land amongst others.
Describing Tinubu’s statement as an insult on the entire traditional institution in Yorubaland, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose said “only someone without history and integrity will open his mouth to castigate our Obas, who are the custodians of Yoruba culture and tradition.”
Fayose maintained that “traditional rulers in Ekiti State are not useless, and we take serious exception to any individual or group rubbishing our revered Obas. It is either all Obas in Ekiti State are not forthright, firm and honest or there is just one of them that is forthright, since he (Tinubu) had already mentioned two Obas among the three that he believed are forthright in Yoruba land.”
Fayose said Tinubu’s comment is a calculated attempt to cause disunity among our revered royal fathers by playing certain obas against others. The PDP candidate said all true sons and daughters of Oduduwa must rise against any attempt by the politicians to sow discord among the traditional rulers through careless and unguarded talks.
“We are also not unmindful of the refusal of the APC government in Ekiti State to pay palace staff and denial to our Obas the five percent share in the Excess Crude Oil Proceeds. Tinubu’s statement is therefore a continuation of the APC’s contempt for our traditional institution, and we condemn this insult on our revered traditional rulers in Ekiti State in its entirety. We also demand an apology from Tinubu and his party, APC.”
Also a politician and public affairs analysis, Babatunde Olalere Gbadamosi, said “the arrogance of some people is beginning to become nauseating. How can one politician pronounce all Yoruba Obas useless and there is calm across the land? The outrageous statement credited to the owner of the APC calls for responses from all blue-bloods in Yorubaland.
“I am from Ikorodu, and my Oba, His Royal Majesty, Kabiyesi Oba Salaudeen Oguntade Oyefusi, Ayangburen II, is most certainly not useless!! The Akran of Badagry, His Royal Majesty, Aholu Wheno Menu-Toyi 1, is certainly not useless, and neither are countless other royal personages across Yorubaland.
“The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubuse II; The Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, His Royal Majesty, The Timi of Ede, The Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, The Soun of Ogbomoso, The Alake of Egbaland, The Akarigbo of Remoland, The Olubadan of Ibadan, The Ataoja of Oshobgo, The Olofa of Offa, The Olu of Ikeja, The Alara of Ilara, The Alaketu of Ketu, The Olowo of Owo…these and many more are deservedly respected across the land and in their respective domains.He who spits on his culture spits on himself” he said.
Osun state Governor Rauf Aregbesola, however shares a different view from his national leader. He described the traditional rulers as custodians of culture.
“Traditional rulers are powerful, revered in Yorubaland and their subjects attest to this. Therefore, I urge you to use your influence in your various domains to ensure that peace reigns perpetually beyond election period,” he said.
Yoruba’s are waiting passionately for Tinubu who owns the traditional title of Aare Ago of Egba Land, to release the list of third ‘upright’ traditional ruler in the land.