The Oluwo of Iwo land, Abdulrasheed Akanbi, has defended his adoption of the Emir of Yoruba land title, saying it was a “metaphor” of the disunity among traditional rulers in Yoruba land.
The Oluwo on Saturday formally adopted the title of northern traditional rulers at the installation and ceremony of an Islamic scholar, Yahquub Abdul-Baaqi Mohammed as Waziri of Yorubaland.
The installation portends a new crisis among the Muslim community as the installation was done against the advice of the League of Imams and Alfas in Southwest Nigeria, Edo and Delta States asking him not to install the Waziri as that of Yoruba land, but should restrict the title only to Iwo land.
But speaking to PREMIUM TIMES via telephone on Saturday, the monarch said the Council of Obas in Yoruba land had been bedevilled by perennial crisis and all his efforts to ensure it was resolved had failed.
“I will love to emulate everything that is good. I love a place where there is unity. There is no peace among the monarchies of the Yoruba as there is backbiting, backstabbing, and encroaching among them,” he said.
“There are so many corruptions in our cultural values and I have tried, I have been talking about it. I love my culture, I love my tradition, but if there are some bad things in there, we need to work on it and remove it.
“Talking about the emirship, do you know what happens in the north? Do you see emirs fighting each other? Because there is unity among them, they have respect for each other, they have love for each other.
“But in Yoruba land, what I met on the ground, since I was a youth, I have been hearing the Ooni fighting Alafin, this one fighting that one, and so on and so forth. I became the king, and the same thing is happening.
“It is in Yoruba land where you find an Oba lying against another Oba saying that an Oba is yahoo yahoo.”
The monarch said other monarchs were castigating him because they did not like him and because he said he would not want to belong to any cult.
‘I don’t want to belong to any cult because the problem we are facing right now among the youths is the problem of cults. In the whole of Nigeria now, cultism is more in the west,” said the Oluwo.
“In the south cultism is more, where did they inherit it from? They inherited it from us. So if I stopped being in secrete cults, the children will also stop being in secret societies because they inherited it from us in the first place.”
He said he adopted the title of Emir to emulate the attitude of the emirs.
“It is a metaphor to show that the emirs are very united. If the Yoruba obas are not united, I better move with those who are united. So it is a metaphor that there is need to identify with those who are united,” he added.
The Oluwo further argued that the title of Emir is Arabic or Islamic and was not Fulani or Hausa, noting that the word also translates to king in English. He noted that historically, Oduduwa came from Mecca and so it would not be wrong to adopt the title of Emir in that light.
“I am happy and I love the emir title, and as long the Yoruba Obas are in disarray and fighting and backstabbing, I will stand where I am standing,” he said.
“Two years now, we have never had the council of obas meeting since I became king in Yoruba land, in Osun which we call the cradle of life because of the crisis and the problems.”
He also said those criticising his decision were not exposed, saying that there was need to change the past for a better present and future.
On the disunity in the council of obas, he said he had not given up on getting the monarchs to resolve their differences, but he had to move ahead and would not allow those who don’t want to move to hold him back.
“I want to let them know that I am working with the monarchs that are working because they are helping their own people,” he said.
“ I want to join the league that are helping their own people and they don’t backbite and they respect each other and know their different hierarchies and that is great and I admire the northern emirs.”
According to the Oluwo, the obas in the south were concerned about money and if one did not have money, he would not be respected as an Oba, lamenting that all around the southern part of the country, the Obas were not respected.