Obaship Bill: Ogun Assembly in alleged manipulation of Tradition

Obaship Bill: Ogun Assembly in alleged manipulation of Tradition

By Simon, A. FAKEYE, Yusuf ADELEKE 

The Ìsèse Practitioners in Ogun State have faulted an alleged decision by the Ogun State House of Assembly to proscribe Seclusion (Ìpèbí) and Burial Rites for Obas in a bill titled, “Obas, Chiefs, Council of Obas and Traditional Council law of Ogun State, 2021″ awaiting public debate on Wednesday.

The Practitioners during a press briefing held at the Secretariat of the Association lamented the implication of the alleged bill if allowed to scale through without the consent of Ifa Diviners (Babalawos) who are said to be the main traditional stakeholder in the selection and coronation of Yoruba monarchs.

The Spokesperson of the Association, Chief Ifayemi Osunlabu recalled that Isese Practitioners of Ogun State in 2020 had condemned a similar bill proposed to remove necessary and beneficial rites during burial process of traditional rulers in Ogun State, adding that they were surprised that the lawmakers are hell bent to make history as the first House of Assembly to rubbish the age long tradition of selection, installation and burial of Yoruba Obas.

Chief Ifayemi Osunlabu disclosed that Obas’ Throne is pure traditional, that the selection exercise could only be certified by Ifa Oracle through an experienced Babalawo, adding that intrusion in any forms by non-members is nothing but presumptuousness and act of adulterating Yoruba traditional institution.

Chief Osunlabu described Ìpèbí (Seclusion) as the heart of monarch’s installation where traditional administrative guides, judicial orientation, intra community relationship, forbidden, culture (oral and moral tradition) are traditionally instilled in the heart of the Oba-elect, such that any Oba selected outside the Ifa Oracle and without subsequent initiation can only become a disaster to his subjects at the detriment of the entire society, an example of some of the modern day Kabiesis compared to wise, courageous ancient Obas with enviable native intelligence.

“Obaship stool originates from the people; Traditionalist. It’s meant for only those who belief and ready to live by the culture and tradition of the land. No one is forced to become an Oba, hence, whoever prefer foreign religion, i.e Christians should better aspire for the office of a Right Bishop (after all, the Bible says whoever desires to become a Bishop has chosen well because it is a good office), while Muslims should derive joy at been turbaned as Imam or any of varied Seriki titles.

We have at no time intruded or called for the review of Islamic rites; at least the five pillars of Islam remain as original handed down by Prophet Mohammed to our Yoruba kinsmen, neither have we asked for the review of Christendom doctrines perhaps to allow us qualify to be installed as Bishop or Reverend.

“Government should know that Obaship is a traditional office in the jurisdiction of traditionalists only, while anyone who prefers coffin, for example, for his or her burial should be ready to die a Christian rather than forcing Muslims to review Islamic burial rites in his favor.

“Moreso, it’s a fundamental human right of every Nigerian to choose religion or association of his choice. And it remains oppression for anyone to force his or her interest on others”.

Osunlabu stated further that it could be disastrous for a people to abandon propitiation in the name of civilization, adding that Traditionalist will never fold their arms to allow a few elites who have harbored detest against their source to continuing causing calamity for the rest of the society.

“We are peace loving people, we don’t have record of intimidation or forcing anyone to become King, but whoever desires the lofty Throne should be ready to do everything necessary required by the traditional institution for the good of his subjects. There’s no gainsaying that the benefits of Ìpèbí for all Oba-elect, and necessary propitiation for a deceased monarch, outnumber the assumed demerits.

“We are not preventing or stopping children or families of any deceased Oba from burying the remains of their loved one or celebrating his life and times, no, we are only asking them to perform necessary traditional rites which in the wisdom of our ancestors would continue to permeate peace and tranquility in the land”, Osunlabu stated.

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