Oluwo of Iwo explains face-off with Ooni’s bodyguards
• Oluwo Breached Protocol— Ooni’s Media Aide
The recent meeting of the National Council of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria (NCTRN) has come and gone, but what looked like a minor disagreement between the Ooni of Ife’s “Imese” or palace bodyguards and the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Dr. Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi, has refused to settle.
Oba Akanbi told Palace Watch: “I would have overlooked the matter as a peace-loving monarch, who is all out for a peaceful co-existence of all obas in Yoruba land in particular and other kings and emirs in the country, but I was shocked that the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, who observed his bodyguard’s rudeness to a fellow First Class King has refused up till this very moment to apologise or acknowledge that what his Chief Security Officer did was wrong and improper.”
But The Media Assistant to the Ooni, Mr. Olafare Moses, who also spoke with Palace Watch, said: “The Ooni was not aware of whatsoever happened between Kabiyesi Oluwo of Iwo and the Ooni’s CSO. The Ooni was even waiting for the Oluwo, who was busy introducing himself to the Minister of Interior, General (rtd) Danbazzau, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the meeting to move before crossing over to take his seat on the high table, as the event’s Co-chairman with the Sultan of Sokoto Saiadi Abubakar.”
Narrating what transpired that day, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi said: “I was invited to that meeting in Port Harcourt by the Sultan of Sokoto, the Etsu Nupe and Committee of NCTRN, although the usual procedure is for each state chairman of NCTRN to select and lead the delegation to such a meeting.
“While the Ooni was rounding off his speech, I left my seat to greet the minister. While I was exchanging pleasantries with him, there was enough space behind me for even an elephant to pass. At that very point, the Etsu Nupe, who went to see the Sultan had just finished discussions with the latter and passed behind me. While passing by, he tapped me and shouted ‘Oluwo, Oluwo’ and moved on. At the time, I was still holding on to the minister’s hand. Just then, the Ooni concluded his vote of thanks. If I may ask, what does the vote of thanks signal at an event? Is it not the end of the event? Now, instead of the Ooni to pass behind me and move to his seat on the high table, he told his Chief Security Officer to come and move me out of his way.
“Surprisingly, the Ooni’s CSO came and tapped me on my back and said: ‘You have to move, you have to move’. I asked him why I should move, as there was enough space for his principal to pass. The Ooni was observing the assault on me from a short distance. I told the CSO: ‘why should I be rattled by your Ooni coming to pass while I am having discussion with someone on the high table? The Ooni is a First Class king and I am also a First Class king. He is not in any way superior to me.’ The only way I would have deferred to him is based on the fact that he respects my throne and I will also respect him – the move is based on the stool he is currently sitting on, the throne of Oduduwa. To put it straight, Oba Ogunwusi is the Ooni of Ife, not the Ooni of Osun. He is also not the Ooni of Yoruba land. He is simply the king of the Ife people and I am the king of the good people of Iwo land. We all have our own domains.
“I must make it very clear here that this is not the first time the Ooni and his Imeses are over-reaching themselves in such a manner. The Ooni’s bodyguards would not have the effrontery to assault first class traditional rulers in Yoruba land, without the express permission of Oba Ogunwusi. Sometime back, the Owa Obokun of Ijesha land, 80-year-old Kabiyesi Gabriel Aromolaron was assaulted by one of the Ooni’s bodyguards at a function. The old man was forced to react and tear the clothes of that bodyguard. The Ooni could not return to Ile-Ife on that day, because he knew what his bodyguard did was wrong and improper. He had to travel to Ilesha to appeal to the Owa Obokun of Ijesha land Oba Dr. Gabriel Aromolaron in his palace. If I may ask, for how long would we continue to tolerate these excesses from the Ooni and his bodyguards? This act must stop forthwith. If I must say, the Imese’s misconducts do not add any glamour to his throne, and the earlier he realised this, the better for him.
“Because of the problem the Ooni had with Aromolaron, when his Imese started pulling the Owa Obokun’s chair at a function, we have not been able to hold the Traditional Council of obas meeting in Osun State for two years now. The Ooni must know that the stool he is occupying does not give him the authority to send his CSO to touch another first class king in a very rude and impudent manner.
“Don’t I have the right to be angry, when the Ooni, who personally observed what his bodyguard did on that fateful day, did not apologise or call me, even though he has my personal number? That is not the way to do things. We are all kings, not God.”But Palace Watch learnt that on the second day of the event, the Oluwo was the first person the Ooni went to greet when he entered the hall…
“Yes, he came to great me on that day. But I did not respond. I have nothing to do with his greetings, when he deliberately failed to do what was right and proper. Did he say: ‘Oluwo, sorry for what my boy did to you yesterday or put a call through to me to apologise? That is the way to do things as a king. If you must know, I was one of the persons God used to put this man on Ife throne. I know what I did to assist him to ascend that throne. I was the one that picked the date for his being crowned the Ooni of Ife. Although I was not the one who authorised his being made the Ooni, but I know the role I played.”
But what did he go to do at the high table, when the event had not ended? Was he taking photographs with the minister?
“I did not carry a camera with me. How can anybody allege that I went to take photographs with General Dambazzau, who happens to be a longtime friend of mine? I visit him any time I am in Abuja and he also visits me in my place in Abuja. So, how did he get the photographs of the event he sent to Palace Watch?
“It was one of the photographers at the events who sent these pictures to me from Port Harcourt.”In his reaction, the Media Assistant to the Ooni of Ife, Mr. Olafare Moses, told Palace Watch that as far as the Ooni and the Palace of Ile-Ife is concerned, the matter was no longer relevant.
He said: “I must confess, we do not know the reason or reasons the Oluwo of Iwo is making a big deal of a matter we considered very minor and irrelevant. Thank God the meeting was properly organised by a body of traditional rulers in Nigeria. If it is true such an incident ever happened, the media would have properly reported the matter. If, for example, the mainstream media for sake of ethics censored it, it would not have been possible for the electronic media, especially the social media or Internet journalists to have been censored. We honestly do not know why the Oluwo of Iwo is complaining and making a huge issue out of something we consider very insignificant.
“Ooni and the Sultan of Sokoto are the co-chairmen of NCTRN. The Ooni leads the Southern delegation of traditional rulers, while the Sultan leads the Northern delegation of traditional rulers whenever the meeting takes place. If such an incident occurred with a large number of journalists covering the event, there is no way they would all have missed it. At this stage, we are waiting for the NCTRN as a body to come out to affirm or deny whether or not such an act really took place. We were all at that meeting in Port Harcourt. Nobody saw any rancour taking place. We are, therefore, surprised to see a statement by the Oluwo of Iwo four or five days after the event, saying he was assaulted by the Ooni’s CSO or bodyguard. This was an event monitored or covered by well over 100 journalists. And not one of them saw it taking place.
“The fact of the matter is that the Oluwo of Iwo breached protocol. The opening session of that event had not ended, when he left his seat to go and meet the Minister of Interior to take photographs with him. He was still introducing himself to General Danbazzau, when the Ooni finished with his vote of thanks and wanted to return to his seat. That he did without any untoward event happening.”Palace Watch got in touch with His Royal Majesty, Oba Adedapo Aderemi, Alayemore of Ido-Osun, who is secretary to NCTRN’s Board of Trustees, as well as the coordinator of the Obas in the Southwest.
Did he notice when the Ooni’s CSO assaulted the Oluwo of Iwo, since he was the closest traditional ruler that sat next to the high table?The Alayemore said the allegation of assault by the Ooni’s CSO was nothing but a fragment of the Oluwo of Iwo’s imagination. He said there was never such an incident during the opening of the 9th session of NCTRN’s General Assembly meeting in Port Harcourt.He stressed that the coordinators of the six zones of the body will by next week come out with a statement that will fully address the issue. He said it’s very sad that some kings do not know how to conduct themselves in public functions such as the Port Harcourt meeting.
He explained that the Oluwo of Iwo had never attended any of their meetings before now. So, how come that at this very first meeting he attended he is alleging that an unfortunate incident happened? Saying there could be a personal misunderstanding between the Ooni and the Oluwo, the Alayemore noted that it is sad that such a disagreement is being carried too far by attempting to blackmail the Ooni, when such an act never happened.
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