Alaafin receives Owa Obokun, cautions against throwing traditional rulers to the dustbin of politics, governance.
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba [Dr.] Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, has said If the British who colonized Nigeria and introduced liberal democracy still preserve their traditional institutions by making the Queen of England the Ceremonial Head of State with powers over the British armed forces, there is no justifiable reason to throw traditional rulers in Nigeria to the dustbin of modern politics and governance.
Alaafin gave the admonition when the Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Dr. Adekunle Aromolaran paid him a courtesy visit in his palace in Oyo town.
Oba Adeyemi stated that since the citizens who are the major determiners of the success or otherwise of democratic and development programmes are under the traditional influence of the Obas, the position of the traditional rulers as potent mobilisers, advisers, mediators, facilitators, adjudicators and nominators should be greatly harnessed.
‘’It is therefore suggested that the traditional institutions which are the only remnants of our pre-colonial political system must be preserved, promoted and strengthened through official constitutional recognitions and acknowledgement .
He lamented that traditional institutions had gone through thick and thin in the country’s political history from the pre-colonial, through the colonial and to the post-colonial eras.
He noted that from the pre-colonial era, the traditional institutions have been strengthened and weakened, elevated and humiliated, empowered and disempowered by emergent political/ruling class.
Before the coming of the Europeans, Oba Adeyemi submitted that traditional rulers held sway not only as the recognized political rulers of the states and kingdoms in Nigeria but also as the custodians of the people’s history, culture, religions and economy.
According to him, ‘’the traditional institutions in the pre-colonial Yorubaland had all elements of modern governmental systems and they perfectly suited the social, political and economic situations of the era with the overall goal of the welfare of the generality of the people’’.
The paramount ruler continued,‘’ the advent of colonial rule and the imposition of Western styles of government not only reduced the powers and relevance of the traditional rulers but also made them subservient to their subjects, the educated elite. Since independence in 1960, the political statuses of traditional rulers have gone from bad to worse with far reaching consequences for governance and administration in the country’’.
Despite the century long disturbances and turbulence, Alaafin asserted that the basic culture and civilization which the Yoruba have built, endured and in fact political, economic, religious and intellectual developments were not only promoted, but withstand the tests of time.
‘’The Yoruba developed a highly sophisticated system of government with effective checks and balances, which was spiced with a high level of gender consciousness. The Yoruba traditional system of government is indeed and indisputably one of the oldest forms of democracy in the world.The Yoruba have unique and rich cultures and civilizations which have remained resilient to any foreign cultural domination in spite of Yoruba contact with the Europeans. They Yoruba people have utilised their rich cultural heritage to impact the Nigerian state positively in various walks of life in the past’’.
Oba Adeyemi strongly affirmed that the traditional institutions particularly the Yoruba Obas are part of the working tools that could make democracy and development sustainable and consolidated in contemporary Yorubaland.
While describing the Owa Obokun as a ‘’ renowned author, and an erudite traditional ruler whose commitment and selfless contributions to educational development in the country still withstand the tests of time’’.
Earlier, Oba Aromolaran has described the Alaafin as a ‘’ visionary traditional ruler with intellectual values both with wit and class, whose narrative and descriptive write-ups, coupled with a good retentive memory and a fantastic ability to remember dates and people is second to none.’’
The monarch said those opportune to have interaction with the Alaafin would surely testify that “a moment with him is like an exploratory adventure through the school of history”.
He added that Alaafin made the best of every situation fate presented him.
The royal father said he was in the palace to intimate the Alaafin on his 80th birthday ceremony scheduled for next month in Ilesa, Osun State, and that he would want the monarch to personally attend the event.
Recalling his age long and fraternal relationship with the Alaafin, Oba Aromolaran enjoined traditional rulers to eschew acts inimical to peaceful co-existence, but embrace peace, unity and mutual understanding.