The former President, who was a guest of Governor Seyi Makinde, commanded traditional rulers to stand up and after they complied, he then ordered them to sit down.
In his reaction, the Vice Chairman, Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs, the Olugbon of Orile Igbon, Oba Francis Alao said: “We respect protocols. We will not explain what happened last Friday, it is unfortunate what happened. Members of the Oyo State Council of Obas are law-abiding citizens and we respect constituted authority. We are also leaders; we will respond at a later time but not now.”
But one of the kings, who attended the event, the Onipetu of Ijeru Kingdom, Oba Sunday Oyediran, yesterday, said the former president should not be taken seriously adding that senility is affecting him.
This came as Mrs Taiwo Obasanjo, yesterday, begged for forgiveness on behalf of her husband, the former President.
“Why should we bother ourselves with what he said? Age is catching up with him and it appears senility is affecting him. Don’t let us misinterpret what happened.
“It wasn’t Obasanjo that invited us to the event but Governor Seyi Makinde. If it was Obasanjo who invited us and he said what he said, we would not have obeyed him. Since it wasn’t Governor Seyi Makinde that humiliated us, why then should we walk out on him?
“That’s what people didn’t understand. Governor Makinde gives us our due respect and we respect him too. Even we respect Obasanjo too, but if you respect someone and he betrays that trust, it is left for him and his creator. We don’t see it the way people see it. We did what was expected of us. Obasanjo lied against us. We were standing before he mounted the podium. It was when he got the microphone that we sat down. Did he expect us to remain standing while he was talking?”
Reacting to the alleged ridicule, the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, and the National Association of Public Affairs Analysts, NAPAA, yesterday, told the former President to tender an unreserved public apology to the traditional rulers saying his action has desecrated the core value of the South West.
The YCE, in a statement by its Secretary-General, Chief Oladipo Oyewole, berated Obasanjo, describing his action as an open disdain for the stools.
YCE’s scribe said: “It is a denigration of the status of Yoruba traditional leaders, our Royal Fathers and a direct affront to the people’s culture, norms and values.
“Baba, we are unhappy with the way our Royal Fathers were treated by you. We feel sure that Yoruba gods’ traditional stools have been desecrated for commanding Oyo monarchs to stand up.
“This denigration of Yoruba traditional leaders, and royal fathers is a direct affront to the people’s culture, norms and values. The imperious outburst of the former president is disparaging, dispiriting and disrespectful to the entire Yoruba people.
“It is sacrilegious to brazenly and unabashedly ridicule the second-in-command to the deity (Igbakeji Orisha).
“The highly cherished heritage and cultural values of the Yoruba people (Iwa Omoluwabi) must be respected by all and sundry.
“It is a desecration of the revered Yoruba stools and open opprobrium of progenitors of Oduduwa. It is demeaning.
“As elders of the respected people of Yoruba, we have the sacred duty to protect our culture, values, norms and traditions. We, therefore, caution the Owu Chief to weigh his utterances. Accordingly, we demand an apology from the former president.”
Also faulting Obasanjo’s actions, the NAPAA in a statement by its President and General Secretary, Prince Seun Adelore and Mr Jare Ajayi said the former President allowed his ego to take the better part of him on Friday.
NAPAA said: “The desecration of our core values and tradition has contributed and is still contributing in no small measure to the under-development that we have been experiencing even after we gained independence.
“Chief Obasanjo, who always likes to flaunt his espousal of culture by prostrating himself before some monarchs, by wearing native dresses and even speaks Yoruba language, allowed his ego to take the better part of him on Friday. “
Taiwo Obasanjo begs for forgiveness
Meanwhile, a wife of the former President, Mrs Taiwo Obasanjo, yesterday, begged for forgiveness on behalf of her husband.
Mrs Obasanjo, in a statement titled ‘Oyo Kings: A plea for forgiveness’, said: “This is my stand on the manner Chief Olusegun Obasanjo addressed the Kings at Iseyin at the road commissioning by Governor Makinde of Oyo State on Friday, September 15, 2023.
“As a legitimate member of Chief Obasanjo’s family, I would like to state that how Daddy Obasanjo addressed the monarchs is not acceptable to God, to the Yoruba race and the thrones. It must not be repeated by any leader in Yoruba land.
“Daddy Obasanjo should not have treated the kings with open contempt and humiliation to correct them and reveal their secret that they bow for him privately. It is not good at all. It is too humiliating.
“Protocols could have corrected them privately and respectfully, humbly with love and friendliness. The only infallible person is God.
“I want to publicly state here that on behalf of the family, the children, the wives, the grandchildren and all members of the family of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, I am offering a big and genuine apology both spiritual and physical to all the kings of Oyo State, all the kings of Yoruba land and the entire Yoruba race both in Nigeria and Diaspora.
“I beg for forgiveness and pardon from all Yoruba sons and daughters worldwide, fathers and mothers, youths, teenagers and children, Christians, Muslims, traditional worshippers, all leaders in Yoruba land and the Council of Obas in Yoruba land. Please, I appeal with all humility don’t avenge on any of us the misdeeds of Daddy Obasanjo.
“I am a full Yoruba woman married to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for over 40 years and I have two children for him both male and female. I am a grandmother. I do not support the humiliating treatment of the kings of Oyo State by Chief Obasanjo. Let history bear my record that I came out to apologize to the Oyo kings and Yoruba land on behalf of the family of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.”