The urgent need for Yoruba Unity
By Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, (III)
Alaafin of Oyo
I am very happy to be here on the occasion of the fifth year anniversary of ascending the exalted throne of the OONI OF IFE by His Imperial Majesty, OONI ADEYEYE BABATUNDE ENITAN OGUNWUSI, OJAJA II, OONI OF IFE.
(2) My fervent prayer is that just like yesterday, the Almighty God will endow him with the strength for long life and same divine benevolence which some of us enjoy and are still enjoying on the throne.
(3) I should express with maximum delight that although Kabiyesi ascended the throne at a relatively young age, he came with the mind of an adult notwithstanding. It is on this note that I recall his peace initiative to some of the Royal Palaces in Yoruba land. That initiative can only be understood against the backdrop of acrimony that erupted during the reign of his predecessor in office.
(4) I can only appeal to Kabiyesi to be unrelenting in his peace option endeavour. In this regard, I will advise that you put more emphasis on unity among Yoruba Obas, rather than national Traditional Rulers unity adventure.
(5) This is because the statusquo for Traditional Rulers in the Country from the colonial days had been the preservation of the culture of particular area you represent. We should understand that there is nothing national about Traditional Rulership in the country. Unlike elective political office which has a unified process of emergence, that cannot be said of Traditional Rulership.
(6) While it is true that in terms of governance and service to the people, Traditional Rulership is political, however, it is not partisan. In that respect, my advice to my fellow Traditional Rulership is that we should always resist executive overwhelming including intimidation for us to be partisan. This is because that kind of situation will undermine the ‘father of all’s status on us.
(7) All these fights or clamour for seniority among Obas can best be described as politicians’ divide and rule tactics to keep Yoruba Obas disunited for their selfish benefits.
(8) Unfortunately, this divide and rule tactics of politicians cut across all tiers of government and in recent time, it had extended to the Federal level.
(9) Against the backdrop of the present situation in the country, the need for unity in Yoruba land can never be over emphasized.
(10) That underscores the imperativeness of unity among Obas so that we can talk with one voice in form of advice and counsel to our political leaders in responding to national issues.
(11) In this situation, I cannot but recall the 1967 Yoruba Elders Conference in Ibadan at the instance of General Adeyinka Adebayo as Military Governor of the Old Western State. It was with one voice that both Traditional and Political leaders unanimously chose the political legend, Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Leader and Spokesman of the Yoruba in ensuing national crisis.
(12) We are now in near similar situation and Yoruba should not be found wanting. In similar situation, in the past, Yoruba had never been found wanting. It was with that cohesion of purpose that Yoruba was able to expand and extend its territorial influence to major parts of West Africa. It was also with same unity of purpose that Yoruba was able to intervene in territorial skirmishes in some parts of West Africa up to Ashante Kingdom.
I cannot but recall the famous battle of Atakpame in 1764
THE BATTLE OF ATAKPAME
The battle of Atakpame in present day Togo, was a war that took place in the year 1764 between the Imperial forces of the Ashanti Empire in modern day Ghana and the Imperial forces of the Oyo Empire under the Rulership of Alaafin Agboluaje who ruled between 1750-1772.
The Ashanti Empire wanted to expand eastward and also keep in check her Akyem Vassal state that wanted to free herself from Ashanti control. The Akyem vassal state sought help from the Oyo Empire before violently overthrowing Ashanti rule. The Akyem state is located in present day eastern Ghana.
The army of the Ashanti Empire was defeated in the battle by the Imperial Confederacy army of Oyo which also comprises of Dahomey army at this time, which made her to stop her eastward advancement. After this battle, the Akyem kingdom pledged her loyalty to the Oyo Empire for protection.
See: LORD LUGARD’S POLITICAL MEMORANDA MEMO NO. IX- NATIVE ADMINISTRATION DATED, 1917, page 39 and particularly paragraph 27 which shows the order of precedence amongst the Traditional Rulers in the Northern provinces and also in the Southern provinces.
The message is that as a people united, we stand and divided we fall in the present national challenge just as it was in 1967 and even before.
Ifa l’oso l’odu Ife;
Asun sun ko sun;
O’difa fun orisa NLA;
Ojo to nraye akowa;
Ebo ni wonni lose;
Nje asunsun ko sun;
Abibi k’obi, Abigidigidi, Abiti;
Ipa Ota k’obi ka gbogbo l’oba to wa nibi lonii;
Ase! Ase!! Ase!!!
Okansa awo oko;
L’odifa fun oko;
Okan ki awo ile;
Okan yeyeye Awo;
Akiigbo iku oko;
Akiigbo iku aso, Ewo orisa;
Akiigbo iku ile, Ase bogbo;
Adeyeye Babatunde Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, o gbo, o’to o da Agbalagba Oba;
O gbogbo bi Oba Oluaso;
Oba to gbogbo, to so omo owu no owo;
Omo owu jejeje odi okini;
OKin ni jeje o poora;
Iku kiipa omo eta, l’oju ran.
Ase! Ase!! Ase!!!
IKU BABA YEYE
Oba (Dr.) Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, J.P, C.F.R, LL.D, S.A.P, D.LITT, D.P.A, F.I.C.J
The Alaafin of Oyo and Permanent Chairman, Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs
Chancellor, University of Maiduguri, Borno State.
Chancellor, Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Pro- Chancellor Keisie International University South Korea Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone.