Traditionalists explain why gunmen could kill Yoruba monarchs

By Nudoiba Ojen

“Obaship belongs to Isese and all rites associated with grooming and strengthening our Obas must be carried out. This gives them the deserved authority, the fear, honour and respect bestowed by Eledumare to their stools”

The President of the Ancient Religion Societies of African Descendants International Council, (ARSADIC), Chief Ifagbenusola Atanda, says that Yoruba traditional rulers have become easy prey because they have abandoned tradition which conferred genuine authority on them.

Atanda says killing of Yoruba monarchs in cold blood denigrates the stool they represented and bastardized the races’ traditional heritage.

The traditional religion worshippers’ group spoke against the backdrop of killing by gunmen within a week of two traditional rulers in Ekiti State and another one in Kwara State.

They lamented that the process of selecting traditional rulers had been bastardized, saying money decides who is selected and monarchs are now seen as government obas rather than traditional rulers with authority and honour derived from ancient traditional gods.

The ARSADIC president said, “The prevalence of the killing of our traditional rulers lately is worrisome and embarrassing. And as Olorisa and Isese adherents, we are bothered, more so that the development has continued unchallenged. It makes us sad and the situation should call for sober reflection for everyone, to ponder over where we have got it wrong as a people.

“Any monarch properly installed by Yoruba tradition has become Orisa and Olorisa. The process of becoming a king in Yorubaland is embedded in Isese, it is different from being an Imam or a pastor”.

While lamenting over the spate of the killing of Yoruba monarchs in recent times, he described as a ‘shame’ the manner with which the monarchs were killed, saying it is too cheap for traditional rulers of Yoruba extraction and called for a return to ancient ways of determining who becomes a monarch.

“As Olorisa or Onisese, we are major participants in the process of producing traditional rulers. And we have a tradition which dates back to the times of our forefathers and how a monarch can emerge.

“In those days, an Oba was groomed to become Oosa and to be prepared and positioned for his special tasks. But today, grooming of our Obas is different. Obaship today has been bastardized, everything is about money. The royal fathers are seen as government Obas. Many ascend the throne for prestige and they are supported because they have money.

“But what do we do if the government is comfortable with that? And how do we check excesses associated with the process when we are not allowed to play our traditional roles?

“What makes our intervention a little difficult is that we must all come to the reality that Obaship belongs to Isese and all rites associated with grooming and strengthening our Obas must be carried out. This gives them the deserved authority, the fear, honour and respect bestowed by Eledumare to their stools.

“We can never and will never be happy seeing our royal fathers being hacked to death in a gruesome and most barbaric manner. They are being messed up and humiliated and this by extension denigrates our real-valued culture and traditions.

“We hope we will all wake up early enough to redirect the drift, which is bringing us disgrace and disrespect. Each time an incident like this happens, the first question is where lies our power, where lies our dignity as a people with great historical exploits. And as traditionalists, we take the blame and responsibility for the insults.

“We firmly believe and know that if our Obas are rooted in Isese, the Orisa will never abandon them to shame. Ifa can never stand afar and watch them being disgraced. So, everyone, the people and the government must reflect on this ugly trend.

“We must begin to scrutinize those becoming Obas. We must seriously think over what brought us to this despicable end. We must also examine what gave the Obas the authority and respect in the past so that we can go back to re-establish it”.

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