A former member of the House of Representatives and an Ogun State APC stalwart, Hon. Kayode Oladele, has urged politicians and their supporters to respect traditional rulers and protect the institution “as part of our collective responsibility”.
According to Oladele, traditional leaders are regarded as the custodians of our customs and cultural heritage and are referred to as our royal fathers, regardless of their age or economic status.
In his opinion, “ if we as Omoluabis, people of good character, humility and respect cannot openly abuse our natural fathers and strip them naked in the market place even when they unduly chastise us or disagree with our position just because and for the only and fundamental reason that they are our parents, the same respect should be extended to our traditional rulers based on the position they occupy and what they represent in our culture and tradition”.
Oladele believed that, as traditional rulers and due to their position, they cannot engage in media diatribes with individuals or fight back to protect their reputation; therefore, it would be unfair to turn them into punching bags as a way of expressing our political opinions, particularly when disagreeing with their positions.
According to Oladele who is a human rights lawyer and former National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) activist , “as the general elections draw near, tempers are rising and polity is being heated up by the day. I expect naming callings, accusations and counter accusations to be on the increase and occupy the media space. However, in all of this, we must insulate and protect our traditional institutions. In addition, we must know that there are certain lines we cannot cross even when exercising our constitution freedom of speech”.
Oladele, therefore, appealed to politicians and their cohorts to eschew any and all forms of “hate or abusive, incitement, threatening speeches or writings that express prejudice against individuals or groups under the pretext of exercising constitutional freedom of expression. He said that it is even sacrilegious when such statements are directed at our traditional leaders. According to him, what binds us together is far beyond elections and we “must avoid situations where we would allow politics to tear us or our traditional institutions apart”.
According to social media watchers, Oladele’s admonition came in the wake of a recent audio posting on some of the social media platforms in Ogun State in which an unidentified individual used several unprintable words against the Olu of Ilaro and the Paramount leader of Yewa, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle for the Yewa Traditional Council’s endorsement of the incumbent Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun who is seeking re-election into the office.