CIVILISATION has changed and conventions are totally different from what they used to be. In cultural history, kingmakers were highly influential in determining the fate of a king, such that all it took a king in Old Oyo empire to abdicate was to be handed a covered calabash by kingmakers. Now, not even by an echo are kingmakers that powerful. Where they are in dispute with a reigning monarch, the best they can do is complain to higher authority; and in a battle of will with the monarch, they could end up with the short end of the stick.
This scenario seems to be what’s been playing out lately in the ancient town of Iwo, Osun State. Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi, is locked in a battle of will with kingmakers of the domain, but he isn’t scantly intimidated. The kingmakers last week petitioned Osun State Governor Gboyega Oyetola, demanding Oba Akanbi’s removal for alleged gross misconduct. The monarch, however, dismissed the petition as a product of conspiracy by alleged interests seeking to displace him from the throne.
In the petition signed by 12 of the 14 kingmakers of Iwo (one is dead, meaning only one other abstained), the petitioners accused Oba Akanbi of conducting himself like an emperor and stirring needless controversy, like when he allegedly declared that all Yoruba had right to the royal stool of the Ooni of Ife. They further alleged that he has penchant for fighting notable personalities within and outside Iwoland, including prominent Yoruba monarchs. “We’ve gone to him and discussed but no change,” Osa of Iwo, Chief Yekeen Bello, was reported saying.
Oba Akanbi, for his part, dismissed the allegations as sheer mischief by detractors who’ve failed serially in their attempts to bring him down. His spokesman flaunted the monarch’s achievements, saying the traditional system had never been parliamentary – in apparent reference to style. “His reign is prosperous, fruitful and virile to the advantage of all and sundry,” the spokesman added. Later last week, thousands of Iwo natives protested in solidarity with Oba Akanbi, which the monarch celebrated as vindication. The protesters also demanded reprimand of the kingmakers.
Peace everywhere is built on compromise and not hard lines. Thus, Iwo kingmakers should cease from destabilization plotting. On the other hand, although Oba Akanbi by reputation isn’t faint-hearted at tackling adversaries, conciliation is always key to winning the peace. While handing him the staff of office in 2016, former Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola was reported saying:
“Not everyone will readily agree with you and many will say or do things you will consider abhorrent, but they are all your subjects and you are required to preside over them with tact and wisdom in a way that will enable you to get the best out of them.” No better time than now for Oba Akanbi to follow this advice.
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