Place Of Obas In Yorubaland

The centrality of the traditional institutions at its apex, the Obaship is of profound importance in Yorubaland. The Yorubas revere the institutions and its mixture of tradition as well as democratic checks and balances.

In the First Republic, in the crucial transition from colonial society to flag Independence, the institutions were immersed, in the head long drive towards modernization. Unlike in the Northern Region, indirect rule was not used in the Western part of the country. Some of the Obas clearly stood. For example, the first Governor of the Western Region, the then Ooni of Ife, Oba Adesoji Aderemi; the then Alake of Egbaland, the Olowo of Owo, all played commendable roles at a critical juncture. Their contributions are still remembered with gratitude and quite rightly too.

What has unfortunately been happening since, has quite frankly been disconcerting. Far from been revered, some of the Obas have become objects of scorn and ridicule. This is an unfortunate trend. The unedifying spectacle of the Oba as hustler cannot, but be a devastating commentary on the current state of the firmament in Yourbaland. Hitherto, Obas in days of yore were quite contented with tributes in the form of farm produce, gifts and so forth. Sadly, not anymore. The hustle for filthy lucre has degraded the institutions in many quarters. Fundamentally, it has altered the relationship between the Obas and their people. It has to be stated here that the biggest tribute, of course, will always be the bond between the Obas and their people.

The desecration of the bond has had awful consequences. Obas now openly connive with illegitimate civil powers and previously military impositions, to the detriment of their own people. All of this is, because of the hustle for government procurement popularly referred, in the local parlance, as contracts. Obas now demean themselves and the age-old revered institutions they hold in trust in the perennial pursuit of government patronage. Not surprisingly, many become entangled in messy deals. This has hardly edified them. In addition, Obas are now chasing contracts through the use of proxies and fronts. This is disgraceful.

Fortunately for Yorubaland, most of the culprits-in-chief are ageing. It is now in auspicious to rebuild the sanctity of the institutions. The acts of corrupt relationship with the powers that-be must cease. There is a need for the population to be led, rather than exploited. The traditional rulers must be in the vanguard of jealously guiding and protecting the rights of their people.

They must use their authority to fight for the rights of their people. They are custodians of a tradition and of an established set of rights and obligations. To re-establish their authority, they must place their relationship with governments at arms length. A period of soberness is called for. In the sad case of Osun State, it must not be said that Obas aided and abetted the current spate of gangsterism, rampaging the state. Standards must be restored, for the very straight forward reason that these institutions are too central to the health of Yorubaland to be allowed to sink into perfidy. There is a social contract between the Obas and their subjects, the time to restore it, is now.

3 thoughts on “Place Of Obas In Yorubaland”

  1. The announcement of the new Ooni is very commendable. It was fast, in accordance with law, timely and decisive. The issues I want resolved are:

    There were ruling houses in Ile Ife and the rightful house was invited, they presented their candidate to the kingsmakers, Ifa was consulted and the choice of Ifa was accepted.This is under one year and a new Ooni emerged.

    In Iwo land a distance of about 45 kilometers to Oshogbo the seat of government where Olorire Rauf Aregbesola governs and Alhaji Moshood Adeoti from IWO serves as secretary to the government, despite the fact that the Oluwo’s stool had been vacant for more than two years to give enough room for those who will want to say otherwise, the government had foundit unnecessary, unbefiting and worthless of IWO to have a king.
    I am constrained to say that probably IWO has no ruling houses and perhaps if they have there were not enough princes of quality that could be chosen from. When the last Oba was to be enthroned in the days of Governor Adeleke, we saw overnight stern looking security officers in the town and the deal was done.
    What I want the government to know is that when there is a contest for the throne all princes whether it is the turn of their ruling house or not, whether rich or poor even those in ill-health will all come out. That coming out was a strategy for the future. Some will sink money, time and powers to emerge. Some will die in the process BUT once a candidate is chosen and is undergoing necessary rites for the palace all other candidates will stop, and at the appropriate time will prostrate before the new king. This outing is borne out of the fact that no prince or princes will desecrate their collective royalty. In turn the new king knows the entitlements of his co-contestants and will definitely give it to them.
    If Ile Ife the cradle of Yorubaland which is about 60 kilometers to IWO can have a king in under one year what offence have we committed in Iwoland to deprive us of the spiritual head of our town.
    I am not from the ruling house and I live 15 hours of flight time to Iwo but I dont want to plead BUT want to challenge the sence of justice in the honorable people mentioned above to DO SOMETHING.

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