NIGERIA: DEAR respected Nigerians, particularly those of Yoruba ancestral root, how many of you have seen the video trending now on the Facebook and Whatsapp over the “scornful” behaviour of Oba of Lagos Rilwan Akiolu to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi?
IN the video, Oba Akiolu, a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, shunned (or disgraced) Oba Ogunwusi, who bowed in deference (a sign of respect to an elderly person) to the Oba Lagos to greet him at a public function in Lagos where there were many traditional rulers in attendance. This happened after Ooni had greeted and was embraced by the Obi of Onitsha, who sat beside Oba Akiolu.
A quick look at the video will, no doubt, give the impression that the action of Oba Akiolu was deliberate, probably due to factor(s) only known to him.
HOWEVER, you’ll recall that recently (March 28, 2017), I initiated a post, on my Facebook wall, titled “Oba Rilwan Akiolu: Kabiyesi Beware!” In the post, I advised the Kabiyesi on his utterances. Oba Akiolu had said then that there’s no vacancy at Alausa in 2019. The implication of that statement is that the current first term Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, would automatically run for second term, even two years before the race would commence. Do you still recall Oba Akiolu’s rancorous statement before the 2015 election in which he was alleged to have told the Ibos in Lagos to jump into the lagoon if they would not support Ambode, the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, to win the governorship election?
WHILE I’ll wait for the defence of Oba Akiolu on his “rude” action to Oba Ogunwusi, but from antecedents, based on my personal experience over the years, I can say without hesitation (though I may be wrong) that the Lagos monarch acted deliberately.
OBA Akiolu is too impetuous. I’ve seen him display uncomplimentary attitudes at a public function. In 2005, at the 90thbirthday thanksgiving service of the late Alake of Egbaland, Oba Oyebade Lipede, at St. Peter Cathedral, Ake, Abeokuta, the Oba of Lagos shunned the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuawade. Oba Akiolu, who got to the church late and was in angry look, refused to greet Ooni. But funnily enough, he exchanged pleasantry with Oba Lipede who sat close to Ooni Sijuwade.
I wish my eyes can play out what I saw that day between Ooni Sijuade and Oba Akiolu.
THERE was another ugly incident that day involving Oba Akiolu when he elbowed Otunba Kunle Ojora almost pushing him down in the church while going to the altar for Oba Lipede’s blessing by the Bishop of Egba Diocese. Indeed, it was Olori ‘Bimpe Lipede that came to the rescue of Chief Ojora. I was the ONLY newspaper journalist that saw it and reported that angle in my medium, The Comet newspaper, the edition which I still have in my library till today. I wish I can scan and
I wrote: “The 80th birthday church service of the Alake of……was nearly marred yesterday when Oba Akiolu elbowed….”
FUNNY enough my report caused uproar that during a discussion on it at the Island Club in Lagos my cousin called in the NIGHT to alert me on the anger of Oba Akiolu and some club members. He even joked that I shouldn’t visit Lagos because I’ve been declared “wanted.”
HISTORICALLY, less than a year after the incident I was with an Egba Prince to visit Oba Akiolu in his palace, the first in my life inside Iga Idunganran.
WITHOUT knowing that I was the writer of the Ake scenario Oba Akiolu made reference to it. He expressed bitterness on the publication and justified his action against Chief Ojora (his account is still fresh in my memory with him making reference to the late Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele).
I didn’t disclose I was the journalist and without him knowing, I recorded ALL his conversations with us that day on tape (which I hide under my cloth): how a newspaper reported him with his picture on the front page during the ascension to the throne of Oba Adeyinka (or so), which made him determined to become Oba of Lagos, life in the police, etc. Indeed, he was a good historian by his account that day despite been a University of Lagos graduate of Law.
DEFINITELY, from the above I can say that the action of Oba Akiolu to Ooni Ogunwusi could be deliberate, probably to the “Ooni stool” (not to the person of the King) due to his frequent impetuous behaviors.
OR could Oba Akiolu be looking at Ooni Ogunwusi’s age, as a “boy” he could be his father? But, if so, Ooni’s stool goes beyond age. At least, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is now 80 years and six years senior to Oba of Lagos, prostrated for Ooni Ogunwusi when he visited his palace shortly after his installation. So, what is the big deal in respecting culture? At least, some others who are senior to Oba Akiolu still bow and prostrate for him due to his exalted throne.
WITHOUT doubt, Oba Akiolu must stand up for Governor Ambode at a public function, despite the fact that less than 10 years ago when Ambode was a Permanent Secretary in Lagos State, he must have prostrated to greet the King whenever he visited his palace. But today, will the same Ambode prostrate for Oba Akiolu?
ABOVE all, Oba Akiolu needs to watch his behaviours before he would become public embarrassment not only to himself, but the good people of Eko, his admirers, Yoruba race and indeed Nigeria.
MY appeal is that fellow traditional rulers should wade into the unbecoming attitude of Oba Akiolu (to counsel him appropriately) to prevent him from being attacked by overzealous followers of Ooni, disgraced or become public opprobrium in the eyes of those who should not only always respect but honour him.
– Chief Femi Shodunke, a journalist, is the Baaroyin of Igbeinland and Baaroyin of Agbonland.