Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, has strongly criticized former President Olusegun Obasanjo for what it deemed a disrespectful act towards traditional rulers in Oyo State. The organization called on Obasanjo to issue a public apology to the monarchs for his actions during a recent public event.
The incident in question occurred during a road inauguration ceremony in Iseyin, Oyo State, where former President Obasanjo, alongside Governor Seyi Makinde, reportedly ordered attending monarchs to stand up and sit down as they entered the event venue.
In a communiqué released at the conclusion of its meeting in Akure, Ondo State, Afenifere expressed its condemnation of Obasanjo’s conduct. The statement, read by the association’s publicity secretary, Mr. Jare Ajayi, at the residence of Afenifere leader Pa Reuben Fasoranti, demanded an unreserved public apology from the former president.
The communique emphasized the deep respect that the Yoruba culture holds for traditional institutions, with traditional rulers considered spiritual figures, often referred to as “Igbakeji Orisa” (second in command to the gods). Afenifere stressed that no effort should be spared to protect and preserve this noble tradition. It further recommended that royal fathers should not be required to stand up at public functions, drawing parallels with customs in countries like the United Kingdom.
Addressing the issue of insecurity and banditry, Afenifere called on the Federal Government and security agencies in Nigeria to take more decisive and proactive measures. The organization urged the government to create employment opportunities for youth as a means of diverting them from engaging in anti-social and criminal activities. Additionally, Afenifere emphasized the need for swift and thorough handling of cases related to banditry and terrorism, with stern consequences for perpetrators.
Afenifere’s stance reflects its commitment to upholding Yoruba culture, traditions, and the respect accorded to traditional rulers, while also advocating for a safer and more secure environment in Nigeria.