The Aare ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Aare Gani Adams has call for caution on the increasing bastardization of yoruba tradition with the crowing of Yoruba king in the diaspora
Adams in a letter written to South West governors, traditional rulers in Yorubaland and other stakeholders said described the action as desecration of Yoruba customs and inimical to the tradition
“This desecration of our customs and tradition is not perpetrated by strangers but some Yoruba who I will refer to as ‘shady characters’, living outside the shores of this land.”
Below is the full text of letter:
YORUBA OBA IN DIASPORA
This is to bring to your notice a ‘clear and present danger’ ravaging the land of Oduduwa.
Pitiably, this desecration of our customs and tradition is not perpetrated by strangers but some Yoruba who I will refer to as ‘shady characters’, living outside the shores of this land.
Your Excellency, I am writing this letter to you because as you are the number one citizen of the state, and ‘protector of our traditional institution’, any immediate or remote threat to our age-long monarchical system must be nipped in the bud through all legal means.
Through this letter, I am also bringing to your notice the activities of an illegal group known as ‘Council of Yoruba Obas in the Diaspora’.
This group is not known to our law, the modus operandi is alien to our customs and tradition and if nothing is done urgently to caution and sanction its promoters, our highly-revered traditional institution may, God forbid, becomes extinct soon.
In truth, our traditional institutions derive legitimacy and authority from traditions of a particular village, town or city.
As the governor, it is your duty to protect traditional institutions in your state, and other relevant authorities take instructions from you.
For instance, the hierarchical order has been with us for centuries.
In other words, it is a taboo to replicate the role of an Oba or question his authority. That is why he is referred to as ka-bi-o-osi (Kabiyesi).
In Yoruba land an Oba is not only a king, but a sacred king. As the custodian of history and culture, words of an Oba remain sacred and any attempt to desecrate age-long customs of the people must be crushed without any delay.
Being one of the sons of the progenitor of the Yoruba, Oduduwa, the popular belief is that without the Oba (who is the spiritual head of a domain), there is no village, town or city.
Also, I need not emphasise the fact that royal families and government play an important role in who becomes an Oba anywhere in Yorubaland.
For anybody to become an Oba, he must be a son of a king or of the same blood line as chosen (royal) families from which a king might emerge.
This customs associated with royal families date back to centuries but the activities of ‘Council of Yoruba Obas in the Diaspora’, if not checked immediately, threaten this age-long tradition.
To summarise, members of this group, who reside mostly in Europe, North and South America, are standing logic on the head due to their inordinate ambition.
In some countries in these continents, these characters now install themselves as Obas.
They wear crowns similar to what our royal fathers wear in Yorubaland and parade themselves as Obas, with a complete paraphernalia of office.
They also come to Yorubaland and parade themselves as such.
These are characters who have no royal blood flowing in their veins, no affinity with any traditional institution in Yorubaland and no government recognition.
The questions to ask are: When they leave the stage, who will be their successors?
Where are the kingmakers who recommended them for the position?
Which government recognises and coronates them?
Where are their palaces?
Who are their subjects?
If we keep quiet now, are we not allowing these characters to desecrate Yoruba traditional institutions?
Some of these characters engage in some shady deals, every now and then.
If tomorrow, one of them, with his paraphernalia, is arrested at any airport abroad, will the headline of newspapers’ publications not read: “Yoruba Oba arrested at Heathrow Airport in possession of…”
The British monarch has existed for centuries. Can a replica of Queen of England be seen in any part of the world?
This is an ugly trend that is gradually creeping into our traditional institution, an aberration which must not be allowed to continue.
Your Excellency, it is your constitutional mandate to protect our traditional institutions.
We have close to 200 countries globally. As stated earlier, you can never find a replica of the Queen of England in any other country, despite the fact that the British monarchy has existed for centuries, so, why Yoruba Oba?
The coronation of a Yoruba Oba in the Diaspora is alien to our culture and tradition. In fact, it is an absurdity.
Monarchs are always men of noble birth. The position is not about money, not about people with shady character.
An individual can be the leader/coordinator of a Yoruba group in a foreign land, but not to be crowned as an Oba.
In this wise, the promotion of our culture is legitimate but the usurpation of the powers of Yoruba monarchs by some shadowy groups or individuals abroad is sacrilegious.
Your Excellency, on this ugly development, we have to be decisive because History is a good teacher.
There were empires and kingdoms that have become extinct today because those in charge then didn’t stamp their authority at the right time.
The way some of these characters are going, in a few decades, only God knows what will happen to our traditional institution in Yorubaland.
Before an Oba is installed, certain necessary traditional rites must be done.
If I may ask again: Under whose constitutional authority are these so-called Obas appointed and coronated?
Who gave the approval? Presidents of those countries?
It is sacrilegious and a travesty of Yoruba history and culture for such characters to arrogate to themselves the position of an Oba.
This is unacceptable and must be condemned by all well-meaning Yoruba.
Your Excellency, I call on you to immediately intervene and stop this ‘cancerous spread’.
If anybody is parading himself as an Oba in Diaspora, Please, call him to order.
Let me also explain further that the issue of Yoruba Oba in the Diaspora does not affect all our royal fathers in Republic of Benin. They were being delineated by the Berlin Conference of 1884/85.They all have their roots in Yoruba land, including that of Oyotunji in North Carolina in America.
During my installation as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo on January 13, 2018, I vowed that I will do everything legitimate and legal to protect the name and project the image of Yorubaland.
I hereby reiterate the commitment to ensure that this latest attempt to denigrate Yoruba traditional institution is nipped in the bud.
Oduduwa a gbe wa o.
Ile Yoruba ko ni daru o.
Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams
Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland.
Cc: All South West Governors
Cc: South West Obas
Cc: All South West Hon. Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs.