Yoruba elders, under the aegis of Council of Yoruba Elders, have asked former President Olusegun Obasanjo to apologise publicly for asking traditional rulers in Oyo State to stand and greet Governor Seyi Makinde at an event on Friday.
Obasanjo, who was invited by the governor to inaugurate the Oyo–Iseyin Road project, was seen in a viral video expressing displeasure that the monarchs did not rise to greet the governor. The former president, who spoke in Yoruba, described their action as disrespectful to the office of the governor.
“I greet the kings and chiefs here sitting; I am grateful that you are here. Let me say this: wherever the governor is or the president, the king has to stand up. Stand up,” he ordered them.
Reactions have continued to surround the utterance as many Nigerians criticised Obasanjo’s action, saying it was disrespectful to the traditional institution.
The elders in a statement signed by the Secretary-General, Dr Victor Taiwo, and Publicity Secretary, Mr Lanre Ogundipe, lampooned the former president, saying “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.”
The group described the act as defamatory and shameful, adding that Obasanjo’s behaviour demeaned the Yoruba culture and tradition.
“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 infra dignitatem to our Yoruba culture and tradition. It was a taboo. It was 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). That the desecration of our Obas has come from a person in the status of Obasanjo is a great shame and denigration of the Yoruba culture and tradition. We, therefore, condemn this dastardly act from Obasanjo in all totality and we call for his public apology to all the disgraced Obas and the entire Yoruba people by extension.”
Similarly, the Yoruba Council Worldwide described the ex-president’s act as sacrilegious and embarrassing to the Yoruba culture, insisting on an immediate public apology, or else a traditional and legal action would be taken against him.
The YCW President, Oba Oladotun Hassan, said at a press conference in Abuja, “The recent weeks have witnessed a barrage of monumental embarrassments, ridicules and brazen abuse of traditional royal Obas and most shocking to grasp with this well-intended orchestrated embarrassment by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who dropped the biggest bombshell taboo in the history of Yorubaland.
“Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has since left the corridors of honour. While we reiterate as the leading vanguard voice for all Yoruba people globally, we have an eternal duty to preserve the aesthetic distinct Omoluabi ethos, royal stool and ancestral customs and traditions of the Yoruba Obaship, precipitating our demand for immediate apologies by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo within the next three days or he will face untold traditional and legal reprisal consequences. This is not limited to filing action in a court of competent jurisdiction for defamation and scandalous libel, while we shall call for stripping him of all chieftaincy titles conferred on him by any Yoruba monarch.”
“Furthermore, we shall mobilise all market women, youths and leaders of thoughts against Baba Obasanjo for desecrating the Yoruba ancestral cultural heritage, norms, tradition and values.”
Meanwhile, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, in a statement by his Press Secretary, Alli Ibrahim, condemned the act, while blaming the traditional rulers for obeying Obasanjo.
The statement partly read, “I trust myself and my stool. In 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 desecration of traditional institutions from the old man. Respect should be earned not demanded.”
Also, the All Progressives Congress, Oyo State chapter, in a statement by the party’s spokesperson, Olawale Sadare asked Makinde and Obasanjo to apologise for the act, saying such was unexpected from a statesman, chief and leader on the continent.