Activist Joe Okei-Odumakin has said that politicians and government officials who are in the habit of disrespecting traditional rulers should learn from former President Olusegun Obasanjo who, on Sunday, demonstrated humility and regard for traditional authority when he knelt before His Royal Majesty Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III.
Oke-Odumakin, who is the President, Women Arise for Change Initiative, stated this in a chat with The PUNCH on Monday.
According to her, it aligns with cultural norms for traditional rulers to be revered irrespective of their age.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that 37-year-old serial entrepreneur Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko was, on Saturday, crowned the 21st Olu of Warri, and had immediately assumed the title of Ogiame Atuwatse III.
Obasanjo, 84, had on Sunday travelled from his Ogun State residence to the ancient Iwere Kingdom, which is the ancestral home of the Itsekiri in the Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, to pay homage to the new monarch.
His Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, had said Obasanjo did not kneel before the monarch but before the ancient Iwere Kingdom, which dates back to over five centuries.
Disdain for traditional institutions is no strange phenomenon among politicians and the elite in the country. In the recent past, some governors have displayed extreme anger and contempt for monarchs and consequently dethroned them.
Responding to a question on lessons to be learnt by politicians and government officials whose pastime is to disrespect traditional rulers, Oke-Odumakin said, “The posture of President Olusegun Obasanjo as seen during his visit to the recently crowned Olu of Warri is a demonstration of the regard for the traditional institution.”
“A traditional ruler irrespective of his age is revered in our culture. Therefore, the lesson taught by Chief Obasanjo, is that respect must at all times, be given to the traditional institution, irrespective of the age of the person in charge at any given time,” the activist added.
The former President, who is the Jagunmolu of Egbaland, had, in August 2019, attended the coronation of Oba Saburee Bakre as the Agura of Gbagura in Ago-Oka, Abeokuta, Ogun State, where he prostrated before the then-new king.
Obasanjo, unarguably one of the prestigious global citizens from Africa, was Nigeria’s democratically elected President between 1999 and 2007. He was Nigerian military head of state between February 1976 and October 1979.