Olugbon of Orile Igbon, Oba Francis Olushola Alao, has said his silence and that of his colleague-obas over the recent outburst of former President Olusegun Obasanjo should not be seen as an act of cowardice.
The traditional ruler broke his silence on the humiliation obas in the Oke-Ogun axis of Oyo State were subjected to by the former president at Iseyin, last Friday.
Obasanjo had openly rebuked the obas present during the inauguration of the Iseyin Campus of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH).
He accused them of not respecting the state governor, Engineer ‘Seyi Makinde, by not standing up for him at the event, as demanded by protocol.
He subsequently humiliated the obas as he ordered them, like primary school children, to stand up and sit down
The Olugbon, who is the deputy chairman, Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs, eventually broke his silence on the incident in a press statement, dated 18 September, 2023.
Oba Alao stated that he was aware that the Obasanjo outburst has generated anger and varied responses from true sons and daughters of Oduduwa in all sections of the society.
Olugbon stated in the statement which he personally e-signed that the silence of the affected traditional rulers since then is not an act of cowardice, but a necessity to maintain unity and peace in Yorùbáland.
Oba Alao disclosed that the incident will be tabled, reviewed and responded to appropriately during the next meeting of the traditional rulers with Governor Makinde.
“First and foremost, I will like to emphasise that the inauguration ceremony was a huge success, while the road and campus projects represent another milestone in the development strides of Governor ‘Seyi Makinde who has been working hard to take Oyo State to the next level of development.
“All the royal fathers involved understand the pain caused by the incident and appreciate the well-placed reactions.
“I wish to state that the incident is an internal affair which will be properly reviewed at the next meeting of the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs,” the Olugbon stated in the statement.
“Let me assure all Yoruba, and other well-meaning Nigerians who have respect for the traditional institution, and who feel concerned about the incident that our silence since Friday is not an act of cowardice.
“When we sit down with the governor, and hold our next meeting, we will review and respond appropriately,” he stated in the statement.
The Olugbon also made it known that there is a mutual respect between traditional rulers in the state and the governor.
“Our governor respects us and traditional rulers in Oyo State also hold him in high esteem. I, therefore, sue for calm over this issue.
“We want everybody to apply decorum in line with the Omoluwabi ethos for which Yoruba are greatly respected.
“Ile Yoruba land shall remain peaceful. Our unity is sacrosanct. These ethos must reflect in our day-to-day activities,” he added.
The Olugbon also made it known that traditional rulers in Oyo State are not regretting supporting President Bola Tinubu and Governor Makinde during the presidential and governorship elections, held in February and March, respectively.
Olugbon also declared that the obas would be willing to support Tinubu and Makinde, if they would be participating in future elections.
“Let it, however, be well noted that traditional rulers in Oyo State have no regret in supporting Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Governor ‘Seyi Makinde in the last election. The traditional rulers will be willing to support them even in the future.
“This is the clear position of monarchs in Oyo State. Any other information from anywhere that is contrary to this should be disregarded,” Olugbon stated unequivocally the statement.