Following reactions that greeted the commands issued by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to traditional rulers in Oyo State last Friday, the former President on Monday said he stands by his action.
Recall that some traditional rulers at an event in Iseyin, Oyo State, on Friday, were commanded by Obasanjo to stand up and sit down as a sign of respect to Governor Seyi Makinde.
The incident occurred during the commissioning of the Iseyin campus of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso.
Obasanjo was invited by Makinde as a special guest of honour for the commissioning of the project.
In the course of the event, the former President commanded the traditional rulers at the event to stand up and sit down as a sign of respect to the governor.
Obasanjo, while addressing the gathering, told the traditional rulers that the governor’s position is superior to that of any king.
He said: “Please, please, all of you, the traditional rulers, I greet you, thank you for your presence.
“But let me say something. Anywhere there is a governor or president, traditional ruler, he has to stand up and greet the governor or the President. Stand up, sit down.
“Please in the Yoruba land, we respect two things: age and position. The governor’s position is superior to that of any king in as much as he is a governor.
“When I was a President, I prostrated for kings openly. But indoors, the king would bow down for me. Let us respect our culture,” he said.
Some Yoruba leaders, including the Oluwo of Iwo, while reacting, said what Obasanjo did was an affront to Yoruba culture.
They asked Obasanjo to apologise to traditional rulers within seven days.
However, Obasanjo said he has no reason to recant his statement or action as constitution gave governors power over the royal fathers.
Speaking through his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo “affirmed that he stood firmly, unapologetically and uncompromisingly on the position that the governor of a state holds the highest office in the State.
“By that position, the respect, protocol and dignity that must be given to the office by virtue of the Constitution must not be denied. To do otherwise is to deride the office and the Constitution.”
Reacting to the apology issued on Sunday by his self-acclaimed wife, Taiwo Martins, the statement disowned the ‘wife’, saying that she is not his wife or a member of the Obasanjo family.
He said: “For the records, Ms.
Martins has two children, Jonwo and Bunmi, for Chief Obasanjo, but to say emphatically that she is neither his wife nor a member of the Obasanjo family.
“Her posturing as Chief Obasanjo’s wife is false and that of an impostor. Nobody makes statement on behalf of the Obasanjo family except Chief Obasanjo or people delegated by him to do so.
“It must be noted that the state of health of Ms. Martins is known to all and sundry and whatever she says or does has nothing to do with Chief Obasanjo as an individual or the Obasanjo family as a whole.”