Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, has opposed the proposal for the installation of Yoruba Oba of France, saying it is desecration of culture, custom and tradition of the Yoruba race.
He also enjoined monarchs in Yorubaland to frustrate the emergence of any pseudo Oba in the Diaspora.
This was contained in a recent letter, which Alaafin wrote to all Yoruba Oba on the request made to him by the Balogun, the Mayegun of France, who resides in 1 Pare D’Orgemount 95500-Gonesse, France, seeking Alaafin’s approval and indulgence for the appointment of a Yoruba Oba in France.
According to Oba Adeyemi, “the challenge before us as keepers and custodians of our cherished tradition is to emphasise the monarchical structure of the Yoruba society. In nutshell, the Yoruba system does not provide for honourary obaship. It is institutional just as it is traditional.”
Oba Adeyemi appealed to all Yoruba Obas to speak with one voice in resisting any desecration of their cherished institution, adding that they should “resist any temptation or sentiment for any kind of support for this mockery,” based on profound reasons.
According to Alaafin, “Yoruba is monarchical, not republican – monarchical in form of generic and heredity. There is a difference between President of Egbe Omo Yoruba in the Diaspora and Oba. They are neither synonymous, nor alternate to each other. The choice of the president can be the length of his sojourn or any other material considerations. The choice of an Oba is more sacrosanct there.
“In the Yoruba custom, the Obas are rulers over a homogeneous community, such as Ibadan, Oyo, Ijebu, Ijesha, Egba and so on. The Oba, being proposed, can only be heterogeneous of mixed Yoruba varieties.
“As I raised my response to that letter of request, what will be material affluence or age – neither of which is acceptable to Yoruba tradition and custom.
“To me, the request is as ridiculous as expecting the British citizen in France for whatever reasons to appoint a Queen of King in France. I deliberately chose that analogy between Yoruba and the British because we have common history of monarchy, both in age and value. We should not allow any negative modernity to take us back from our cherished values and customs.
“Let me appeal to all of us to raise various protests in whatever form we can adopt, including the media to frustrate the emergence of any pseudo Oba in the Diaspora. They should content themselves with elected officers for their welfare and interest in countries of their abode.”
In the response that he sent to the Mayegun of France, Alaafin explained that the proposal for a Yoruba Oba of France, “as laudable as it sounds, leaves us with quite a number of questions begging for answers. It will be interesting to know the process through which the proposed candidate will emerge. Who are the kingmakers, and through which process will they be appointed, selected, elected or empanelled?
“For our information and careful consideration, kingmakers in Yorubaland have their respective dynasties or hereditary lineages through which they are not to position at the centre. The Yoruba central authority system is a delicately-balanced system of inclusive and representative government. It is equally important to ask the central question about consenting authority for the appointment of the Yoruba Oba of France. Would the consenting authority be the president of France, who himself exercises power under a Republican order?
“It will be equally interesting to know the pattern or order of succession to the proposed stool of Yoruba Oba of France. How many ruling families are being proposed and what are the processes and procedures for their emergence? What again are the criteria for consideration in making these important appointments?
“All these are issues that are usually and comprehensively dealt with in chieftaincy declarations, which are official and registered instruments guiding the appointment of traditional rulers in modern or contemporary Yorubaland.”