Obasanjo stands firm, insists Oyo monarchs respect Governor Makinde
Obasanjo says every cititzen must respect protocol and constitution as monarchs failed to honour the state governor.
The incident occurred on Friday, September 15, 2023, during the inauguration of two projects in Iseyin, Oyo State, where Obasanjo served as the special guest of honor.
A short video of the event, widely circulated on the internet, showed Obasanjo expressing his displeasure as seated monarchs failed to rise and greet the state governor, Seyi Makinde. He described their behavior as disrespectful to the governor and his office.
Speaking in Yoruba, Obasanjo then ordered the traditional leaders to stand and greet Governor Makinde, a command they promptly obeyed.
Criticism of Obasanjo's actions swiftly emerged, with many arguing that his directive was a breach of Yoruba culture and traditions.
Monarch calls out Obasanjo
Notably, the Oluwo of Iwo, Abdulrosheed Akanbi, sternly rebuked the former President for his controversial "stand up order," emphasising that respect should be earned, not demanded. Oba Akanbi asserted that traditional rulers should receive respect from those they encounter and called for a formal letter of apology from Obasanjo.
However, when reached for comment, Obasanjo defended his actions. He stated that his decision was based on the observation that the monarchs displayed utter disrespect for Governor Makinde.
The former President clarified that he had arrived at the event venue with the governor, and as protocol dictated, everyone present was expected to stand in respect for the governor when he rose to speak. Nevertheless, the seated monarchs chose to remain seated.
Obasanjo expressed his belief in the importance of upholding both cultural traditions and constitutional protocols. He noted that the constitution designates the governor as the leader of the state, deserving of respect regardless of status or age. He stressed the need to maintain a balance between cultural practices and adherence to the constitution.
In his own words, "I respect our culture. But let us also know that there is a Constitution which puts a chairman as head of a local government, a governor as head of a state, and a president as head of our country. Whatever we do must be in respect for that arrangement. I am saying there is culture and there is constitution. One must not disturb the other."
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