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Ooni Blasts Tinubu Over Derogatory Comments on Yoruba Obas

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- Says, “We stayed with our people when you ran away”

THE Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, has  responded to a statement credited to the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, that “there were three good traditional rulers in Yorubaland,” saying it was the traditional rulers in the South West that held their subjects together, giving room for people like him (Tinubu) to actualise his political ambition.

Oba Sijuwade said this  while addressing the audience at a two-day conference of foremost traditional rulers in Osun State on the overall development of the state, in Osogbo.

The traditional ruler said he had to express his protest over the statement credited to Tinubu on behalf of the majority of Yoruba rulers in Nigeria.

According to Oba Sijuwade, Tinubu had forgotten that “when our country was upside down, it was the traditional rulers in this country that saved the situation. If we left the country as politicians did, there would have been no state for the leader of APC to rule when he came back.

“Two among the three obas mentioned by him were the best friends of the late military head of state, General Sani Abacha and among them, one was on the paylist of the late General and one lifted crude oil allocated to him by General Abacha. You can ask them, Abacha gave me money on more than one occasion, but I refused.

“And if you want to talk of the annulment of late Chief M.K.O. Abiola's election, these two/three traditional rulers should be properly investigated, because they were neither here nor there,” the traditional ruler said.

He also used the medium to caution political leaders against unguarded and unfounded statements which had to do with traditional rulers, to always be sure of their facts before going public.

“If any of our leaders wants to make a categorical statement on an important issue like the Oba in Yorubaland, he should please try to check records to know exactly what each one of them has done, because there is so much blackmailing and, fortunately, the late Abacha's Chief Security Officer (CSO) is alive and he is in a position to tell the world the obas who were close associates of his late boss,” Oba Sijuwade added.

The two-day programme had in attendance, the governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, his deputy, Mr Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, traditional rulers in the state as well the Alake of Egbaland, Oba (Dr) Aremu Gbadebo; the Olowo of Owo kingdom, Oba (Dr) Victor Folagbade Olateru-Olagbegi, who was represented by Dr Okajare Solomon.

In his presentation, Oba Olateru-Olagbegi preached unity among the obas, saying, “genuine unification of Yorubaland can bring back the much-cherished heritage of love, unity and solidarity of our forebearers.”

Speaking at the programme, Governor Aregbesola, who described the traditional rulers as custodians of culture, further enjoined them to ensure peace in their domains.

“Traditional rulers are powerful, reverred in Yorubaland and their subjects attest to this. Therefore, I urge you to use your influence in your various domains to ensure that peace reigns perpetually beyond election period,” he said.

Nigerian Tribune