The rift between the former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the Yoruba traditional institution is still raging. Obasanjo has been embroiled in a web of controversy after he asked some monarchs to stand up and salute him and the governor of Oyo State Engr. Seyi Makinde in an event.
Obasanjo was invited by the the Oyo State government to commission some projects at Iseyin, constructed by the administration of Governor Seyi Makinde.
The pan Yoruba cultural organization, the Afenifere has waded in and has asked Obasanjo to apologize for his behavior which has elicited wide condemnations from cross sections of Yoruba elders. The Yoruba elders see the act as an insult and humiliation on the monarchs and the traditional institution of the Oduduwa kingdom.
In a communique issued after its meeting at the Akure residence of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti in Ondo State, on Wednesday, they condemned Obasanjo’s conduct and demanded that the ex-president apologize to the monarchs.
Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi, decried the attempt to ridicule the revered institution by the fomer president. The explained that the Obaship is a highly respectable institution and must be respected by all irrespective of social status or age.
They said “Afenifere was taken aback by the avoidable and unwarranted incident that took place at Iseyin, Oyo State on Friday, September 15, 2023, where former President Olusegun Obasanjo commanded royal fathers at the gathering to stand up (and after complying), they were ordered to sit down. It was as though a military commander was giving orders to his troops,” the communique reads.
“We, Yoruba, respect our traditional institutions, the arrowhead of which is our traditional rulers, who, traditionally and spiritually, have acquired the status of deities. It’s not surprising that they are referred to as ‘Igbakeji Orisa’! (second in command to the gods)
“In view of the attempt to ridicule the respected Obaship institution in Yorubaland, Afenifere hereby demands an unreserved public apology to Obas from former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“As such, no effort must be spared to prevent the rubbishing of our noble tradition. In that wise, it’s hereby recommended that royal fathers are spared the trouble to stand up at public functions as obtained in the United Kingdom, among others. He must apologize for this humiliation”.
IMAGE: Daily Trust