….Traditional worshippers, Muslims lock horns
Mixed reactions have continued to trail the bill seeking to review the installation and burial of traditional rulers in Ogun State.
The bill titled: ‘Ogun State Traditional Rulers (Installation and Burial Rites Bill 2020’ as sponsored by Mr. Balogun Akeem Agbolade recently passed for second reading.
The bill has not gone down well with some Ogun indigenes especially those who cherish and appreciate the beauty of Yoruba culture and tradition considering some of its clauses which allows that traditional rulers should be buried according to Islamic or Christian rites as they so wish.
Also, they can choose to abolish the traditional rites during their installations and go in a way of their religion.
Traditionalists, Ijebu Muslims flex muscle
When the bill passed second reading, the traditionalists in Ogun State, under the aegis of Traditional Worshippers Association of Ogun State, the Osugbo Remo in-Council and the Oluwo Ilu Iperu, High Chief Ifasola S. Opeodu, frowned at the bill, saying that the bill is detrimental to the culture of the Yoruba nation.
On the other hand, the Ijebu Muslim Community threw its weight behind the bill, stressing that the old practice of installation and burial of traditional rulers in the State inflicts on the fundamental human rights of the traditional rulers.
The Coordinator of the Traditional Worshippers Association in the State, the Awise of Owode Ota, Oluwo Fasola Faniyi said that all the traditional worshippers in the Southwest region condemned the bill, saying the bill should not be passed into law.
He said the bill was initiated, deliberated and enjoyed a unanimous and unprecedented speedy passage within few hours on the floor of the Ogun State House of Assembly, pointing out that when Nigeria politician carry out such expressly act, it shows their dogmatic intention to acting against the public interest.
Faniyi said: “It is defamatory and derogatory for some members of the Ogun State House of Assembly to term the Obaship traditional installation and burial rites a taboo, noting that this could incur the wrath of the ancestors.
“The misadventures and poli-drama is indeed a big slap against Yoruba tenets and religious beliefs because we now have a Christian governor in Ogun State, must our traditional rites be cast as a monumental taboo and extreme barbarism”
“It is high time all proud sons and daughters of Oduduwa, Kings, High Chiefs, captains of industries act now and jointly stop the Ogun State House of Assembly from delving into traditional rites issues, without due consideration to specifics on guiding rules, the efficacy of the rites and lack of expertise on the rudimentary knowledge about Yoruba traditional heritage.
Traditional worshippers to protest
Faniyi said all the traditional worshippers in the state will commence a mass peaceful protest across the entire length and breadth of the state as warning signal towards taking of legal action against the government if the obnoxious evil act remains unabated.
He challenged the legislators to provide evidence that the enthronement and burial rites of Yoruba monarchs are a cannibal and mutilating, stressing that in the absence of such evidence, the legislators should strike out the insensitive bill with immediate effect.
“Since not all princes need to be king, those, who despise the traditional principles, ethos, and rules, should abdicate their position as traditional rulers and custodians of Yoruba traditions. Any candidate, for the revered stool of Obaship in any part of Yorubaland, must be ready to comply with the extant customs in enthronement and burial”, he said.
Besides, Faniyi alleged that “The mission of the legislators to make the traditional stool attractive is condemned as an attempt to subtly formalize monetization of our traditional system. It is this monetization of westernization that led to the enthronement of traditional rulers who have no protection for traditional values.
“To date, the Yoruba culture and tradition of installing kings and burying royal cadavers are not in any form close to criminality or recalcitrance to the extant laws in Nigeria. These traditions are the remnants’ inherent quality that justifies our self-esteem, confidence and identity as Yoruba in a world of expanding civilization.”
He said: “Any attempt to interfere or proposed bill to modernise installation and burial rites of traditional rulers in the state will meet his waterloo, as our ancestors will fight such person.
“If the British, despite the cultural inconsistencies, can tolerate the Yoruba customs, traditions and values for 60 years, one wonders what could be the justification for this show of religious intolerance by our political leaders who practice western religion with hypocrisy.”
On its part, the Osugbo Remo-in– Council declared that the traditional worshippers are not cannibalistic in the installation and burial rites of traditional rulers.
The group described the proposed bill, before the House of Assembly, concerning traditional rulers’ installation and burial rites, as a deliberate act to tamper with the norms and beliefs of the Yoruba cultural heritage.
Adeokun clarified that traditional institution was headed by the Osugbo and responsible for the installation and the burial of the demise king, noting that all agitators of the strange doctrine and the sponsor of the bill that Obas in the state should be buried according to their religious beliefs is null and void.
Also, he said: “The proposed Bill which empowering the Muslims and the Christians to perform the installation and burial right of an Oba would constitute an infringement on the rights of the traditional worshippers and promote war, chaos, and pandemonium.
“Having agreed, accepted and concurred to fall in line and abide with rules, regulations, doctrines, and practices of such tradition, of course, such person cannot be heard to be complaining thereafter, especially after such person had completely enjoyed the water in the jug, just like the Awujale and other Obas in Ogun state are doing.”
Why we back the bill— Ijebu Muslims
Throwing its weight behind the bill, the Ijebu Muslim Community encouraged the lawmakers to expedite action on it and pass it into law very soon
In a letter dated 16th March 2020, and addressed to the Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Mr. Olakunle Oluomo, and titled: “Ogun State Rulers (Installation and Burial Rites) Bill 2020: Ijebu Muslim Community Backs Ogun State House Assembly”, stated that the bill, when passed into law and assented to by Governor Dapo Abiodun, will modernise the traditional institution of Obaship in the State by expunging repugnant and obnoxious traditional practices that characterise the burial and installation of Obas.
The letter by Shaykh Imam Miftaudeen Ayanbadejo and Shaykh Imam Ejalonibu, President and Secretary respectively of the League of Imams and Alfas of Ijebuland read: “The Ogun State Rulers (Installation and Burial Rites) Bill 2020, sponsored and co-sponsored by distinguished Mr. Akeem Balogun (Ogun Waterside State Constituency) and Mr. Akeem Amosun (Ewekoro Constituency), has continued to generate public reactions and discourses, especially from the traditional worshippers in the State.
“The legal framework, when passed into law and assented to by Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, will modernise the traditional institution of Obaship in Ogun State by expunging repugnant and obnoxious traditional practices that characterise the burial and installation of Obas.”
“May we categorically, therefore, state that the entire Muslim Community in Ijebuland is in support of this Bill”.
“Mr. Speaker, it is instructive to inform you that the burial of Obas following their religious belief or faith has been a practice in Ijebuland for more than two decades.
“Undoubtedly, this practice is championed by Oba Sikiru Adetona, Ogbagba II, the Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland and further endorsed by the Ijebu Traditional Council. This was made under the Oba-in-Council Resolution on Burial of Obas agreed to in March 1997 (re-enacted in December 2016).
“Although, the resolution is not backed by law, a pragmatic attempt by the traditional institution, in Ijebuland, to engender reforms in the respect for human dignity and promotion of modernity. So, the Muslim and Christian communities have, by this resolution, conducted burial rites for several deceased Obas in Ijebuland according to their religious stipulations”.
“On its part, the League of Imams and Alfas of Ijebuland, representing the Ijebu Muslim Community, specifically led the Janazah for the following deceased Obas:
Late Oba Shafi Sule, the Olu of Odosenlu-Alaro
Late Oba Kamoru Sansi, the Obelu of Esure buried on Thursday, 10th of January, 2019 at Esure”.
“Mr. Speaker, the Ijebu Muslim Community agrees with the raison d’être of the sponsors and supporters of this bill that traditional rulers should never be subjected to inhuman and degrading practices during their installation and burial”.
“Doing so will be tantamount to a denial of their fundamental human rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and other regional and global human rights instruments, especially the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and African Union Charter on Human and People’s Rights, which advocate human dignity.”