When in 1939, Archduke Fedinanol was assassinated in Sarajero, in the defunct Yugoslavia, nobody ever bargained that the sad event could spark the last world war, which lasted six years. Such is the innocent underestimation of a seeming minor issue, which is capable of inflaming into bigger crisis.
Hence, the on-going dispute over the traditional institution of Olubadan of Ibadan in Oyo State should be very carefully handled lest it develops into a bigger crisis which, if the past is anything to go by, always turned the defunct Western Region very wild, especially on political showdowns. The current Olubadan crisis erupted over Oyo State government’s restructuring of the Olubadan stool to create more junior obas. Whatever reason or reasons for that move were just unacceptable to the reigning Olubadan, Oba Adetunji, who saw in the government action a deliberate attempt to undermine his (Olubadan’s) supreme authority.
As to be expected, chiefs loyal to the Olubadan (still) support him while the newly crowned junior obas in erstwhile Olubadan’s sole domain are in support of the government. The latest worry is the 21-day ultimatum given to the reigning Olubadan, Oba Adetunji, or a vote of no confidence would be passed on him (Olubadan) to prepare the ground for his deposition by Oyo State Government. Even as saber-rattling, such rare if not unperfected ultimatum should be contained.
For Oyo State Governor Ajimobi, the crisis and its prospects are undeserved. With barely 15 months more to the end of his two-term tenure of eight years, Ajimobi is about the only governor since the political history of the defunct Western Region to have performed unscathed by any tension. He is also the only governor of the state to have been re-dected. Coasting home he must not allow himself to be distracted. Ajimobi must therefore resist hardliners around him, especially on any idea that a traditional ruler is defying him or that a governor has unlimited power to came a tradition ruler. Were all laws availabe in society to be enforced at the least provocation, society itself would break-down.
That is the bitter lesson of attempted or actual depositions of traditional rulers, which began in Western Region in 1954 with the deposition of Alaafin of Oyo, father of reigning Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Alaafin of Oyo. The political bitterness of that crisis still persists.
What is more, modern day traditional rulers, even throughout Nigeria enjoy security of tenure as guaranteed by fundamental human rights enshrined in our 1997 (and subsequent) constitutions to make any purported deposition of a traditional ruler questionable in a court of law. That right of fair hearing was not available under the defunct Western Nigeria constitution in all matters on deposition of traditional rulers. That was why Awujale of Ijebuland Oba Sikiru Adetona successfully challenged his purported deposition by Ogun State governor and why another Ogun State administration under Gbenga Daniel was handicapped in the threat to depose Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo.
As a matter of fact, Emir of Gwandu in Kebbi State, Alhaji Mustapha Jokolo, is now a bone in the neck of the state government. Purportedly deposed by ex-governor Aliero 14 years ago, Emir Joko challenged his deposition at High Court and Court of Appeal both of which nullified the deposition and retained the emir on his throne. The Supreme Court had to adjourn the appeal against Emir Jokolo’s victory till next May. A question of time.
Surely, governor Ajimobi would not like the spectacle of one of his actions being the subject of legal battle 10 years after he might have left office. Above all, Obas do not survive on their throne on the vote of confidence of junior Obas. That is taboo.
However, the Olubadan, Oba Adetunji, cannot resist or swim against a heavy tide. Indeed, Kabiyesi must accept the reality of the dynamics of modern day monarchy, especially in Yorubaland. All over the world, demand for autonomy is the vogue. Awuale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, remains the consulting authority but there are far far more junior obas under him than the newly created lesser kingdoms in Ibadan. Equally, Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo has numerous junior obas under him. Ditto Akarigbo of Remo. Alafin Iku Baba Yeye Oba Lamidi Adeyemi equally reigns over many junior obas. Ooni of Ife? Owa of Ijeshaland? Emirs in the North have so many District Heads under each of them.
With the newly-worn crowns of the junior obas in Ibadan, there does not seem to be any possibility of reversing. Meanwhile, Olubadan remains Olubadan.
Men of goodwill should intervene and emphasise realities of traditional institutions in modern times.
Dear God, why, why, why?
Be they Christians or Muslims, preachers always tell us that God is omnipotent and omnipresent. More than that, we are made to believe that nothing on earth occurs or is possible without God’s/Allah’s consent or knowledge, etc. There is also this unending supremacy battle between the two, as either insists on God or Allah as its preferred name for our Creator.
This situation is not helped by uncontrolled proliferation of emergency pastors or alfas all over the country enriching themselves by exploiting the problems, fears and prejudices of their desperate followers.
In that wise, it is tempting to ponder why poor, suffering, dehumanised and disoriented Africans in various countries on the continent subjected to deliberate tragedies do not seem to attract God’s attention. The first of such unfortunate Africans at independence era in 1961 were Congolese (Léopoldville) what started as political pranks of some demented soon engulfed the whole country. God must have had reasons for allowing subsequent tragic events. Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba was kidnapped by mutinous soldiers led by the man he appointed the first Congolese head of the army, Joseph Mobutu.
While a shocked world pondered on what was going on, Lumumba was announced by his captors to have escaped only to be reported dead. That mystery was known to God. Army leader Mobutu and his conspirators President Kasarubu and Katanga regional political rival Moise Tsombe. These criminal suspects were acting under the direction of the departing Belgian colonialists. Account of the bloody experiences of innocent Congolese civilians is too gory to be recounted.
After eliminating all rivals, Mobutu’s reign of terror of more than 20 years ended as he flew into exile in Algeria where he died unmoored. Pastors and alfas have a duty to enlighten humanity on why God allowed such sharply contrasting strokes, a situation where Joseph Mobutu died peacefully unlike legitimate Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba who was butchered and disappeared till today.
Yes, God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform. Still, questions can be un-ending. Why is it that the same Congolese who suffered under Joseph Mobutu are today experiencing the same near-genocide under a supposedly youthful President Joseph Kabila? By the way, to escape notoriety of the past, the country’s name was changed from Congo to Zaire Mobutu… But guerilla leader who drove Mobutu out of office into exile, Laurent Kabilla, further renamed the country Democratic Republic of Congo.
God’s mystery on Congo continued as Laurent Kabilla after only a few years was assassinated in his office in daylight. Instead of fresh elections to choose a new leader, the son Joseph Kabilla, was manipulated into office. One of the youngest African leaders, Joseph Kabilla is emerging no less ruthless than Mobutu, all in determination to remain in office in violation of the constitution under which he already completed two terms. Joseph Kabilla many times breached peace agreement arranged by international bodies for his peaceful exit. The atmosphere the man has created is that without Joseph Kabilla Democratic Republic of Congo would not exist.
And to sustain that situation, according to independent reports, Congolese government under Kabila employed armed militia and militants to kill protesters, with the casualty figure at over 3000. Mass graves have been reported in the opposition stronghold of Kasai where women and their daughters are routinely raped by government soldiers. Over one and a half million Congolese are reported to have been displaced.
Why does God allow mass or group tragedy in Africa virtually daily, monthly or yearly? Why are these tragedies almost limited to Africa? And why do the culprits get away with their crimes against humanity? Why are whites the only group reporting these tragic events or showing any concern? Why is the Democratic Republic of Congo experiencing the human tragedy for the fourth time since independence in 1960? In the on-going human tragedy in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has estimated that at least 400,000 children are suffering from malnutrition and many of them may die unless outside intervention offers any rescue. These are innocent children not involved in the struggle for political power in that country.
These human tragedies all over Africa are worrisome and frustrating. According to preachers of the two main religions, autumn leaves may not fall from trees without God’s knowledge and human beings are made in the image of God. We should, therefore, plead with Baba God to make it possible and willing for a country like Nigeria to speak out against genocide or even ethnic cleansing anywhere in Africa. What hypocrisy playing “we too” to the gallery at United Nations against ethnic cleansing in Myanmar? Which is nearer, Myanmar on one side or any country in Africa wherever genocide is on-going
Nigeria shows no concern about crimes against humanity in Africa but at the same time, parleys with the culprit nations at United Nations, African Union and Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS). United Nations has been critical of human tragedies in Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Togo and Cameroon. What, therefore, does Nigeria stand to lose by taking a stand against the mammal destroyers scattered all over Africa?
God, how and why is it possible for these gangsters to survive in office by butchering fellow citizens protesting against one man rule?
• This column is off on holidays from next week and resumes January 11, 2018. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all readers.