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 project the 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.
In November last year, I was a keynote speaker at an event in Ile Ife, where the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi met over 300 monarchs, while the Alaafin of Oyo, His imperial majesty, 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.
After the meeting, which was held at Ife Grand Resorts, all the royal fathers present at the gathering issued a communique, where 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 Iwo land, 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 will 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 Obas 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 indigines and Progenitors migrated from Ugbo land? 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 Obas 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 Yoruba land, 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.
For instance, last Wednesday, Oba Bamidele Akinwe, Akogbe of Ajueland in Ondo State, was presented with a staff of office. Ondo State Deputy Governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, gave Oba Akinwe the staff of office on behalf of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
When you instal an Oba, government presence must be felt or else, everything is null of void. Who did Akeredolu send to represent him when Akinruntan engaged in that anti-traditional institution action in his palace?
All these characters that Akinruntan installed, how come nobody followed them from where they reside abroad to the so-called installation? What type of business are they engaged him in their places of abode? Are we not preparing the ground for a gigantic embarrassment for Yorubaland?
Are they recognised by governments in those countries?
Akinruntan crowned one as king of Georgia, a state in the United States (U.S.) and the other two characters as kings of countries – Liberia and Republic of Ireland.
Do we have any king ruling Ondo State, Oyo State, Ogun State? Do we have any king ruling Nigeria?
What an idiotic action from a so-called ‘number one king in Yorubaland?’
This is what one of them, the so-called Oba Yoruba in Liberia, Omobolaji Ogunkoya, said after his so-called installation by Akinruntan:
“We appeal to the Federal Government to include diaspora traditional rulers in the scheme of things, so as to give them the financial wherewithal and moral rectitude to help the people in the diaspora”.
Can you imagine? Financial backing to a so-called Yoruba Oba in the Diaspora? What exactly are they going to do with this money? Which people are they going to help with this ‘financial wherewithal’?
There are many foreigners in Nigeria. Have you heard of British Monarch, Netherlands Monarch, Belgian Monarch or Ireland Monarch in Nigeria? What exactly is wrong with Akinruntan?
Since Akinruntan embarked on a fruitless exercise of fighting the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, for no just cause, he has been moving from one mistake to the other. I have this feeling he will soon start fighting the Alaafin of Oyo for no other reason rather than ego.
But hear what Akinruntan said in his palace during the so-called installation: “I am ready to crown more kings from the Diaspora as long as I remain the number one king in Yorubaland. I am the custodian of Yoruba culture. I am going to give more Obas in the diaspora crowns. Many of them will get crowns and staff of office from me and nobody can query me. They know that I’m a special Oba in Yorubaland. My father is the owner of Ife, Oba Makin Osangangan.
“I am the leader of all Obas in Yorubaland. I speak with thunder in my mouth and I make bold to say so. No one is above me in Yorubaland in as much as it has been accepted that we are from Ife. I am the one that Oduduwa met at Ife”.
What arrogance! What impudence! What uncultured remark!
Who made Akinruntan the number one king in Yoruba? On what authority is he crowning Yoruba Obas in the Diaspora? Who told him that nobody can query him?
He said he remained the number one king in Yorubaland. Which Yoruba history is backing this arrogance?
This is a person that went to the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, to help beg the then Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, to instal him as Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom.
What is Akinruntan’s position in Yoruba history? Does he think by parading himself as a rich man, Yoruba will respect him for trying to desecrate the land? Who does he think he is, embarrassing the Yoruba nation at every opportunity?
Which Northern Emir abuses the Sultan of Sokoto, Emir of Kano, Shehu of Borno or Emir of Zazzau? Which Northern Emir distorts history of the Emirate the way Akinruntan is trying to distort Yoruba history? What exactly is the matter with this featherweight who classifies himself as the best thing to have happened to Yorubaland?
Does he learn from history at all? What exactly is responsible for this arrogance coming from an Oba who is, traditionally, constitutionally and spiritually, mandated to protect Yorubaland? Does he think this arrogance will take him anywhere?
At his age, what exactly does he think he will gain by abusing fellow and superior Obas in Yorubaland?
The late Ooni of Ife, Oba Adesoji Aderemi, was not only wealthy, he also played a principal role in the defunct Western Region administration. He never used his wealth to distort history.
His successor, the late Oba Okunade Sijuwade, was also wealthy and he never used that position to create crisis in Yoruba traditional institution.
So, where is Akinruntan coming from? Who is using him to cause crisis in Yorubaland?
He refers to himself as Chairman, Yoruba Obas Conflicts Resolution Committee. Is it not funny that he is the one creating tension in the land with his attention-grabbing publicity stunt?
I want to tell Akinruntan that nobody can buy the Yoruba, at home and abroad. You cannot gain respect by attacking other Obas, especially those senior to you.
One of those characters he ‘installed’ as Yoruba Oba in Diaspora, Saheed, hails from Ila-Orangun.
The Orangun is one of the sons of Oduduwa. Why didn’t Saheed go to the Orangun to instal him as a Yoruba Oba in Ireland? The Orangun will never do such a thing because he knows the implication.
From Ila-Orangun in Osun State, he went to Ugboland in Ondo State to be ‘installed’ as Yoruba Oba in Diaspora. To all sane Yoruba men, women and elders, that installation is inconsequential, a futility and of little importance.
We all know the history of traitor-Obas in Yorubaland and how they ended ignominiously.
Akinruntan, you are climbing the tree higher than the leaves.
As we say in Yorubaland, a word is enough for the wise.
*Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams,
15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland.