Government should expedite action to salvage the nation, says monarch
The Oba of Iwo, His Royal Majesty Oba Dr. Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi, has called on Nigerians to keep hope alive in this period of economic recession, as the country would soon come out of the mess. The youthful monarch, who spoke on the state of the nation and his plans for his community, explains that President Muhammadu Buhari was building a future for the next generation in this interview with ODITA SUNDAY. Excerpts:
What is your assessment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government?
President Buhari is doing wonderfully well. He is trying his best to bring the country out of the woods. The past administration messed up the economy. Former administrations, not only that of the immediate past, but from the military administrations were not planning for the future. They depended on oil. They abandoned agriculture that was sustaining the economy till oil was discovered.
How can we come out of this hunger situation?
Really, we need to assist the government salvage the economy by showing lots of commitment and sacrifice. We need to help Buhari build the house that was shattered. Nigeria is a house that needs rebuilding and Buhari has started the foundation. We should give him time to finish building the house. We don’t need to condemn him, because, whoever is condemning Buhari is only condemning himself.
There is hunger, but Buhari is serving and not stealing. We should give him a little time. He is doing very well. He is creating wealth. When president Obama came on board, America was in trouble, but he did what other American presidents could not do and America’s economy bounced back. We would soon get there.
What is your take on the anti-corruption war?
That is what I am saying; there was serious corruption in America. The Wall Street guy who was ripping America of billions of dollars was jailed. Over 50 billion dollars was going into his pocket. It is the same thing that Buhari is doing in Nigeria, recovering billions of Naira stolen by some criminal elements. Nigeria will soon get out of economic recession, the same way America got out. If not for Buhari, who else would have had the courage to recover our stolen wealth?
How would you assess anti-corruption crusade by the past administration?
If the past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan had continued, it would have been worse for Nigeria. A leader should be bold enough to fight corruption. The last administration condoned corruption. I am a king; I won’t lie to the people. This country would have been in comatose if the president had not stepped in. Corruption is really the bane of Nigeria’s development. We need a strongman to lead us. I don’t support death penalty as it is done in China, but stiff penalty should be meted out to corrupt leaders who steal the money meant for the public. Few individuals will just brazenly take the money meant for the development of a country and go free. No way, there should be a harsh punishment for the looters. That is why I am appealing to companies that are sacking staff as if they are the ones that caused the problem. Give your staff temporary leave or working leave. Things will improve in a few months and you can recall them.
What is your advise to President Buhari
Much as I support him, but as a king, I would like him to expedite action on his programme to salvage Nigeria quickly. He should make sure that the government should cut down its expenditures on certain things. He should stop using made in foreign land cars. The billions spent on car importation should be invested in local companies that produce cars. He can invest in Innoson cars. You won’t see Obama using vehicle made in another country. If the billions of dollars used in importing cars are spent in Nigeria, there will be massive employment. Nigeria government should look for alternative to oil. The government can invest in agriculture and local production, then, in few months, Nigeria would bounce back and stronger.
Why do you insist that a king must not serve idols?
It amuses me when I hear people say that kingship in Africa is synonymous with idol worshipping. I disagree. Paganism is not an African religion. We have countries in North America. We have the aborigine Indians who worship idols. In South America, people still sacrifice human beings. Religion is a way of life. Kings are not supposed to worship idols because they are like gods who have been given supremacy over their subjects. I don’t care how a king gets to his position, but when you get there as a king, you should summon your subjects and tell them the truth that there will be no worshipping of idols. Some things that people worship are natural wonders of God that should be used to glorify Him.
Rather than glorifying Him, people start worshipping the things. Some other idols they worship are images of kings or great men that did spectacular things and their images were made. For example, the Osun Osogbo should have been raking billions of monies if there was no idol worshipping attached to it. We don’t even need foreign tourists. Imagine if someone like Pastor Enoch Adeboye announces in the church that he would be in Osun Osogbo one weekend, you would see at least 20,000 members following him to the place. But because paganism is attached to it, you won’t see Christians or Muslims going there. In fact, Idol worshipping is the bane of development in countries, especially Nigeria.
I am turning my town Iwo to a tourist centre. All the natural endowments given to us by God will be used to his glory. I am building a golden gate that will be one of the wonders of the world.
Why did you decide to stick to one wife?
I decided to have one queen because I am a king and a king is to serve his people. If I marry two or three wives, they would need my attention. Before I attend to the wives, time would have gone. My town is underdeveloped. City kings can afford wives, because the government will develop their areas for them. I am thinking on how to develop my area and solve their individual problems rather than marrying wives that I will not be able to attend to. I don’t even have time for one wife.
You married a foreigner, is it not a taboo?
Not at all, I am married to a foreigner, but she imbibed my culture. She is doing wonderfully well in my community.
What inspired your mixture of English with traditional wears on the throne?
I put on the two attires on the stool. I am sending a message to Africans to fully embrace civilization. Before now, a man with a gun could conquer a community and take them for slavery. I ask my critics that if our forefathers had the opportunity of using GSM, would they have rejected it? No. They would have been using it. If they had the opportunity of using cars and motorcycles, they would have used it. Let those who criticize English wears on stool throw away their phones and stop using cars, as they are foreign. Kings should embrace civilization. It was civilization that made Africans to stop the killing of twins and female genital mutilation. It was an erroneous belief that without female circumcision, the woman would be a prostitute, but are Hillary Clinton and Mitchell Obama prostitutes?
What’s your advise to fellow kings?
A king should serve his people. A king should emulate God. God is the one providing for us. He provides for mankind, providing free services like the air we breathe; watching over us day and night. Providing us with food. We are just pretending as if we are serving God, but he is the one providing for us. They should feed their poor subjects. I am doing it in my community and in the prisons. I understand that some people in jail are innocent. People like Obasanjo and Awolowo went to prisons without committing crime. Some really committed crime because of poverty. They need rehabilitation. A king should assist security agencies in the war against crime. I am doing it. I met some organizations that contributed some clothes and other items for the less privileged. I brought in some security equipment worth a billion that will be handed over to the Police, fire service and hospitals. We have thing like live jackets to donate to the appropriate users.