Former Nigeria President, Olusegun Obasanjo is no doubt currently trending on social media over a video of him posted online on Friday wherein he was seen in a seemingly liaggressive manner asking Yoruba monarchs to stand up at a road reconstruction commission ceremony in Oyo State.
Obasanjo who spoke in Yoruba language as interpreted by Channels Television, said whenever a president of a country or a governor of a state is present, the traditional rulers must stand up to honour the authority. Adding that he respects traditional rulers but the office of a president and that of a governor is higher hence should be accorded appropriate respect by the monarchs.
Obasanjo who made the traditional rulers to stand up in demonstration and illustration of his point at the commissioning of a 34.85 kilometres Oyo-Iseyin Road and the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Iseyin Campus, which houses the College of Agricultural Sciences and Renewable Natural Resources on Friday, stressed that despite the traditional rulers’ status, it was crucial for them to respect elders and those in positions of power. Saying, doing such will enable the preservation of the Omoluabi culture of the Yorubas.
“Thank you. Please, be seated. Firstly, I greet you all monarchs and royal fathers and thank you for coming. But let me make something clear: whenever the governor or the president is present, even the royal father must stand up to honour the president (or the governor). Stand up! You can have your seat. Please!!!”, Obasanjo told the monarchs.
Adding, “In our (Yoruba) culture, we honour two main things: age and position. The governor’s position is higher than that of any monarch in as much as he is still the governor”.
He reminded that monarchs that when he was the president of Nigeria, he honoured traditional rulers, saying, it is imperative for culture and value systems to be promoted.
Olusegun Obasanjo, a retired military officer served as Nigeria’s head of state from 1976 to 1979 and later as its president from 1999 to 2007.
Oyo State Governor, Abiodun Makinde said: “we were honoured to have His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR in our dear State to commission the 34.85 km Oyo-Iseyin Road, a federal road reconstructed by our administration. As I said in my remarks at the event, our plan was to link all our zones to expand our economy and stem rural-urban migration. Having succeeded in doing this, we will proceed with the plan to repair more inner roads across the State in the coming weeks. His Excellency also graciously inaugurated the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Iseyin Campus, constructed by our administration, which houses the College of Agricultural Sciences and Renewable Natural Resources. We will have 1,533 students resuming at this campus next month. To ensure that both campuses of LAUTECH are connected, we are also constructing a new 76.67 kilometres Iseyin-Fapote-Ogbomoso Road which is about 80% complete”.
Former Nigeria Minister of Aviation who served under Obasanjo civilian rule, Femi Fani-Kayode condemned the action of the former president at the ceremony and described it as an act of disrespect to the traditional institution.
Femi Fani-Kayode statement reads in quote: “I am deeply saddened and utterly mortified by the way in which former President Olusegun Obasanjo lambasted our reverred traditional rulers in Oyo state and “ordered” them to “stand up” and “sit down” as if they were children.
“This is the same OBJ that, once upon a time, displayed his respect, humility and I daresay greatness by bowing, kneeling and prostrating before our monarchs, even when he was President, yet today he talks to them as if they are his garbage collectors and orders them to jump up and down like a molue driver talking to his beleaguered passengers and a motor park tout talking to a bunch of jobless and worthless underlings.
“Many think that the whole thing is some kind of joke but I do not. We must not take it lightly and the truth is that by doing what he did he has spat on all our faces. His words and behaviour are a desecration of our values and a grave insult to the Yoruba people and our traditional institutions.
“I am constrained to be gentle and restrained in my criticism of Baba OBJ on this and so many other issues because of the undying love, respect and reverence I have for him.
“This is all the more so given the fact that I proudly served in his Government. However his association with and support for Peter Obi in the last presidential election has diminished and demystified him in the eyes of most to such an extent that it has become pitiful and embarrassing. It is also indefensible.
“How can a man who dedicated his life to and fought for a united Nigeria support a closet secessionist, a political fraud, a patently deceitful, vainglorious and dishonest man and a religious bigot like Peter to be President? That the great OBJ is now a flaming Obidient is the 8th wonder of the world. It really makes no sense and it is simply mind-boggling.
“What we witnesed when OBJ insulted our traditional rulers in Oyo state yesterday was the Obi spirit which is now firmly embedded in him at work. First he was at a gathering in Awka where the Yoruba race were labelled “political rascals” by some Igbo leaders without a response from him and now he has the guts and effontry to tell our traditional rulers to jump up and down like yoyos and clowns?
“Baba this is too much. Please respect yourself and stop embarrasing those of us that still have some affection and respect left for you”