Traditional worshippers across the entire Yoruba land have vowed to protest against the Ogun State House of Assembly if it continues to pass the bill seeking to modernise the installation and burial of Obas in the State.
It was reported last week that the Ogun State Traditional Rulers (Installation and Burial Rites) Bill 2020, was on Tuesday read for the second time at the State Assembly.
The bill, it was learnt, is to allow the installation of a new monarch in accordance with his religion, while also giving an Oba the right to be buried according to his faith.
The lawmakers, at the plenary, were united in supporting the bill, which was sponsored by Hon. Akeem Balogun, the lawmaker representing Ogun Waterside State Constituency.
But the traditional worshippers within and outside Ogun State are strongly opposed to the bill.
In a statement jointly signed by the traditionalists on Monday, they said, “We decry the fundamental display of bias and crude hatred for our history, heritage, prestige and value as Omo K’aaro Ojire, by members of the Ogun State House of Assembly, who are hell bent on making history as the first legislative house to quash the agelong Yoruba Obaship installation and burial rites via this ill-motivated and unpatriotic bill, which to many traditional promoters and custodian of the Yoruba culture, is the biggest mistake to have berthed on our shores of reasoning; and if allowed, this will inevitably erupt unprecedented woes and chaos that will forever spell doom and inadvertently upset our history book for many years to come.”
They alleged that the “untenable errors about to be committed by the Ogun legislative house, in concert with the Executive, is the most incredible conspiracy to weaken the Obaship stool and authority and reduce it to an ordinary face-stool.”
According to the statement made available to DAILY POST, they stressed that the action of the Assembly members may not be unconnected with the fact that Governor Dapo Abiodun is a Christian, saying, “This misadventure and poli-drama is indeed a big slap against Is’eese (Yoruba tenets and religious beliefs). Because we now have a Christian Governor in Ogun State today, must our tradition be cast as a monumental taboo and extreme barbarism?”
They emphasised that “It is high time all proud sons and daughters of Oduduwa, Kings, High Chiefs, Captains of Industries acted and jointly stop the Ogun State House of Assembly from delving into traditional rites issues, without due consideration to specifics on guiding rules, efficacy of the rites, as they lack expertise on the rudimentary knowledge about Yoruba traditional heritage.”
The traditionalists maintained that the bill is an infringement on fundamental rights, freedom of religion, association, thoughts and conscience, stressing that it will create a lacuna that will remain impossible to correct or fill.
They said: “It is absolutely unacceptable to see our tradition being blazingly desecrated by politicians, whose span of tenure are limited, while our Obaship stool remains eternal.
“We are all aware that if the oath of office is to be administered on our Obas during installations without going through the ‘Ipebi’ rites, it will lead to corruptible menace and ridicule the highest stool of respects. This is indeed deceitful, absurd and illicit.
“Yoruba heritage is one of the world’s most appreciated tradition, considering our identity and cultural balance, wherein our strength lies in the efficacy of those rites and prestige associated with the Obaship stool from time immemorial till date.
“Amotekun remains a thing of joy generally acceptable to all Yorubas because of the efficacy of our traditional heritage and norms, hence our strong belief in the value and respect the Obaship stool commands. Whereas, if the Ogun led bill succeeds, tomorrow, a non-Yoruba “atohunrinwa” who has money, can buy Obaship stool for 10kobo or N10million, depending on the highest bidder. So disgusting to imagine how Obaship stool will be if you are to unilaterally determine how you want to be installed without going through the normal prerequisite rituals and prayers of installation.
“Imagine the Queen of England today, she wears a big crown of authority that is bestowed with high respect. This is not out of civilization, but reverence of their culture and history.
“We have our own highly respected Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Ooni Adeyeye Babatunde Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, who has displayed love and respect for the Obaship rites. He teaches and preaches how to live a life of peace, love and harmony, which are the trite lessons learnt during the Ipebi rites.
“We are aware how some Obaship stool and crowns are ridiculously reduced in class and posture to a mere face-cap.
“It is rather defamatory and derogatory for some members of the Ogun House of Assembly to term Obaship traditional installation and burial rites a taboo. This could incur the wrath of the ancestors.”
The group also demanded an apology from the lawmakers, saying: “We have unanimously resolved to demand for an immediate apology from the Ogun State House of Assembly in widely circulated newspapers, television, radio and other media platforms on or before 10th of March, 2020; else we shall institute a civil action for libel and slander against the government of Ogun State.
“We call on all the Ogun State legislators to stop the ongoing bill and its subsequent accent by the Governor forthwith, else Yoruba Obaship will become a huge embarrassing joke.
“We shall commence a mass peaceful “white” protest across the length and breadth of the State as warning signal towards final filing of a strict legal action at a court of competent jurisdiction, if this obnoxious evil act remains unabated forthwith.”
It was reported that the statement was jointly signed by HDG Oba Isoro O. Dada, the Obalesun Arole Obatala Agbaye; Aare (Barr) Oladotun Hassan, the Aare Aje Agbaye; HSM, Obabirin Ajetoke Oyekan, the President, International Organization of Aje Cultural Heritage; Oluwo (Dr.) Fasola Faniyi, the Coordinator, All Onisese Agbaye, Ogun State; Oloye Atanda Fagbenusola, President Arsadic; Oloye Solagbade Popoola, President, International Council for Ifa Religion; HSM, Oba Rasheed Ifakunle, the Oba Ogboni Ogun State; Oloye Fasola Akanbi, Agbongbon Awo Ijo Orunmila Adulawo, Egba; HSM Ifarotimi Adifagbola, Oba Isese Ogun State; Oloye Tantala, Oluwo Ifa, Egba; Oloye Aregbesola Anipupo; Oluwo Ifa of Ogun State and HSM Agbaje Sabitu, Obarisa of Awori land.