- Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has explained why he asked monarchs to stand up in Oyo State
- He said the traditional rulers disregarded protocols and disrespected Governor Seyi Makinde by sitting while others stood to recognise him on his arrival
- Obasanjo said a huge difference exists between constitutional and traditional/cultural authority
On Friday, September 15, Obasanjo came under fire after he was seen in a viral video asking Oyo monarchs to stand up.
In the clip, he had asked the monarchs to be on their feet and recognise his presence during the inauguration of two projects in Iseyin axis of the state.
The former president was displeased by the monarchs' attitude for their alleged failure to stand up to recognise Governor Seyi Makinde, who was the event host.
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Shortly after the video hit the internet, Obasanjo was heavily criticised in some quarters.
But addressing the incident, the former president said his decision was informed by the need to show the governor more respect.
As quoted by Premium Times, Obasanjo said:
“I arrived the event venue with the governor. As we arrived, every other person at the venue rose, but they (the monarchs) remained seated. I was surprised because I considered that a breach of protocol and disrespect for the governor.
“It later became the turn of the governor to speak. As he rose, every other person at the venue, including me, stood up as demanded by protocol and in respect for the governor and his office. Again, the Obas refused to rise. They all remained seated.
“I then asked people around whether that was the practice in Oyo State. I was told the Obas have always displayed disrespect for their governor. I wondered where they got that from and then decided to speak to them about it."
"By our constitution, governor is the leader of a state" - Obasanjo
Obasanjo said the governor is the driver of the constitutional authority in any state that supersedes any other authority.
The former president added that the governor ought to be treated with respect irrespective of age.
“As far as I am concerned, there is constitution and there is culture. By our constitution, the governor is the leader of a state. Everyone must respect him no matter his or her status or age. He deserves respect no matter how young he is and protocols must be observed.
“That was why I spoke to them the way I did. I wanted them to realise that it is not part of Yoruba culture to disrespect authorities. Respect begets respect and they must learn to deal with their governor with respect if they want to be respected in return."
Obasanjo risks losing chieftaincy titles, gets deadline to apologise to Oyo monarchs
Meanwhile, traditional monarchs in Yorubaland have been urged to rally together and strip Obasanjo of all his chieftaincy titles.
This followed the drama between the ex-president and some traditional monarchs in Oyo.
The President of the Yoruba Council Worldwide, Aare Oba Oladotun Hassan, had asked Obasanjo's chieftaincy titles to be withdrawn.