Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, the former President of Nigeria and the Owu- born general is a popular figure not only in Nigeria, but beyond the continent of Africa, Baba Iyabo is a notable figure.
He carries along with his huge credential a facade of a cultural advocate and a promoter of the Yoruba heritage. At many international fora, Chief Obasanjo has demonstrated his love for the music, dance and other elements of Yoruba culture. From the home front, he carved a nitch for himself as a respecter of Yoruba etiquettes, I recalled in the early days when His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ooni of Ile-Ife just ascended the throne, Chief Obasanjo politely and publicly prostrated before him to show respect for the royal father, this singular action gained traction on social media then.
As a journalist, I have had cause to cover Chief Obasanjo, and of particular interest to me was in one of his visits to late Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade, I recalled as Chief Obasanjo was entering the Ogbomoso ‘s palace that faithful day, my attention was on how he will greet the imitable Soun Ajagungbade, the former President greeted Kabiyesi in a manner befitting the status of a royal father from a cultured Yoruba elder.
But all these were happening when Obasanjo was never ‘seized by courage’, the same thing that happened to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, at the Eagle Square, Abuja on 29th of May, 2023, during his Inauguration as President, exemplified by his adlib, that led to sudden removal of fuel subsidy without any preparation.
Chief Obasanjo in a video trending on social media was a special guest of Governor Makinde at the inauguration of Lautech, Iseyin Campus, and commissioning of the abandoned Oyo-Iseyin road constructed by governor Makinde. Like his obidients group in Nigeria, who have no respect for their hosts, OBJ ridiculed our fathers.
He was seeing seized by courage as a five star general telling the army of royal fathers in attendance to stand up and sit down, reminiscence of primary school children. Having acknowledged the royal fathers for making it to the event, Obasanjo reminded them that they are nobody “wherever there’s a governor or President, every royal father must stand up for him, stand up, sit down” He barked at them as the army of royal fathers followed the unfortunate order.
It was indeed, a show of shame and a desecration of the values and Yoruba etiquettes, that Obasanjo later reminded them that even when he was a President, he could prostate before a royal father in public, in private, such royal father must tremble before him, what I do not understand is whether the venue of such ignoble display of share arrogant was his room, or private place. Indeed, the former President is typical example of “Eni a gboju okun le tio jo eni Agba” ,
One of the accounts leading to this event said the royal fathers were the culprits that threw the first shot of disrespect to the constituted authority, by remained seated when the state governor arrived the venue.
For me, this argument is too weak to stand the insult our royal fathers witnessed, did OBJ expected traditional rulers to be falling on one another because of the presence of a state governor? Can Obasanjo display similar unbridled arrogant before emirs in the north? If Kabiyesi, late Alaafin Adeyemi was to be alive, can he acts the same way before the Iku Babayeye?.
Personally, I blamed the royal fathers for lack of courage, should we have a few courageous fathers among them, what they need to do to teach Obasanjo a lesson is a walk out, but unfortunately, many of these fathers may not be able to muster such gut because majority of them had in the past, begged cap in hand for money, or to ascend the throne through the back door, so who the hell are they to display courage?.
Going forward, if we do not want to continue to be a laughing stock before the world, especially those who are surely going to tap from what Obasanjo did, traditional rulers, even from armlet must understand the value of the institution they represent, and must be willing to protect it. Traditional institution is not for the lilly livered, as such, courage should be part of their core values, afterall each of them will out live every constituted authority. What the former President did was a beautiful nonsense!
Dayo Ogunsola, an Oke Ogun son writes from Abuja. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org