Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, has called on governors in the South West to call the Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom in Ondo State, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan, to order over what he described as a desecration of Yoruba culture by installing Yoruba monarchs in the Diaspora.
A press statement from the Office of the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, read in part: “I was in far-away South Africa, on a week-long holiday, when it was brought to my attention, a desecration of Yoruba culture and tradition by the Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom, Oba Fredrick Obateru Akinruntan.
“One of the persons who called me likened the conduct of this monarch to ‘Sigidi’ in Yoruba culture, who, out of nothing to do or sheer pride, said it should be taken to the stream or river.
“Millions of Yoruba were shocked when they heard that Akinruntan, a few days ago, installed some characters as Yoruba Obas in the Diaspora in his palace in Ugboland.
“As the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, I swore during my installation in January 2018, to always protect the name and image of Yorubaland. That is exactly the purpose of my intervention at this moment.
“What Akinruntan did (he was even arrogant about it by referring to himself as the number one king in Yorubaland) is a complete desecration of our culture, tradition and value and I urge South-West governors, especially Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, and Yoruba monarchs to please call him to order immediately before it is too late.
“This impudence is fraudulent, a clear and present danger that can destroy our tradition if something urgent is not done immediately.”
Adams noted that in November 2018, he was a keynote speaker at an event in Ile Ife, where the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, met over 300 monarchs, while the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, sent a powerful delegation, to a three-day- meeting, organised under the auspices of Heritage Forum to discuss all the pertinent issues in Yorubaland.
He continued: “After the meeting, which was held at Ife Grand Resorts, all the royal fathers present at the gathering issued a communiqué in which they unanimously agreed that nobody should parade himself as Yoruba Oba in the Diaspora. They condemned the act, adding that nobody has the right to install an Oba outside the shores of Nigeria.
“What Olugbo did, he did it single-handedly, against the wishes of all the Yoruba Obas in Nigeria as a whole. A good example of this historical hiatus happened not long ago, when some surrogates came from France, asking the Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdul Rasheed Akanbi, to install them as a Yoruba Oba in France. But rather than toeing the path to perdition as Olugbo just did, the Iwo monarch resisted, saying he would never go against the wishes of the Yoruba Obas. Oba AbdulRasheed Akanbi knew what was right from what was wrong. As a royal father, he does not want to go to Golgotha.
“I am delighted to say it anywhere that Yoruba history is rich in all ramifications. Nobody has the audacity to distort our history. For instance, one can only become an Oba either by hereditary or by conquering territories. None of the newly- installed Oba in Olugbo’s palace has a history of being related to royalty, either by blood (hereditary) or by conquering a territory.
“In Yoruba history, Ile Ife remains the cradle of our existence, with over 99 per cent of the race migrating from Ile Ife. Apart from Ile Ife, Oyo has always been a foremost institution in Yorubaland, with Oranmiyan being the great progenitor. The two ancient towns occupy the most prominent position in Yoruba history. So, who among the great Yoruba indigenes and progenitors migrated from Ugboland? It is a story for another day.
“If Akinruntan is a student of history, he will know that those who tried to betray the Yoruba race never ended well. Against all known laws and customs of our land, Akinruntan ‘crowned’ three characters living abroad who are not even known by Yoruba living at home and abroad, as traditional rulers. The three ‘chiefs’ have no royalty in their blood. The three characters are, according to Akinruntan, the Oriade of Georgia, Oba Bernard Shola Akinrimisi; the traditional ruler of Yoruba in Liberia, Oba Omobolaji Ogunkoya, Oodua Gbadewolu I and the traditional ruler of Yoruba in the Republic of Ireland, Oba Saheed Ibrahim Adufe.
“As the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, I want to tell Akinruntan that he only crowned these characters as chiefs in his domain, not as Yoruba Oba in the Diaspora, because he doesn’t have the power. It is fraudulent, it is an affront on our history and we will not allow anybody to distort our history.
“In the same vein, I think all the socio cultural groups in Yorubaland, including Afenifere, Yoruba Council of Elders, Yoruba Unity Forum and other notable groups in the South West should raise their voices against such fraud. It is our responsibilities to protect our history, and put our records straight.
“More importantly, I will like to tell some of the professors Olugbo is using to desecrate the traditional institutions to desist from such acts as that can later hunt them in the future.
“When you install an Oba, government presence must be felt or else, everything is null of void. Who did Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State send to represent him when Akinruntan engaged in that anti-traditional institution action in his palace?”