Interview Session: I am an Oba and will remain an Oba for life – Oluwo of Iwo Land
During an interview on Rave FM on Tuesday with Mr Adefila, Oba Abdul Rasheed was asked on the latest Emir adoption Saga. He was asked when you assume the throne of your forefather you said you can be regarded as Emperor. The emperor generated some reactions and the latest one is the adoption of Emir Adoption.
Oluwo said; “I want to thank God the highest for everything. I want to thank for today, I want to thank God for yesterday and I want to God forever. Also, I will never do anything without the inspiration of God. I give glory to Him. What is the meaning of adoption? The way Newspapers today twist things is very saddened. They said I abandoned Oba, how would you abandon who you are. It is not possible. How can you abandon Oba for Emir?”
“What is Emir? What is Oba and what is King? Oba is our own language and word. Traditionally and historically I am an Oba and will remain an Oba for life. There are many people who have their hidden agenda who want to twist our words. I don’t pay for an advert or pay for recognition or for people to know me everywhere (popularity).
“In the world now, everybody knows me, it is those bad belle people that spread rumour and they are letting people know me. I don’t pay for publicity, they (enemies) are the one promoting me. I thank them for that.”
Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbdulRasheed Adewale Akanbi, in his reactions said he did not abandon the Oba title for Emir. The monarch said, he was misinterpreted and he only said he loves the unity and love among Emirs in the Northern part of Nigeria which is lacking among the traditional Yoruba rulers.
Oba Akanbi said; “I didn’t say I abandoned Oba I can never abandon it. If you see what I wear, a king in Nigeria that wears it is rare. My crown is lovely and beautiful and I have even upgraded my own style of dressing. It is so beautiful that the Emirs love it.”
He continued: “What I said, I am going to adopt the kind of ways and life of Emirs. The Oba, King, Obi, Emir and Igwe are the heads. They are the heads of all the men even the politicians. If the head is not right, there is a problem.”
“The heads in Northern part, you will never see any kind of bitterness or reporting each other for politicians, they don’t do that. I want our Obas in Yoruba land to do the same. For me to take a step, I want to adopt that kind of ways. I would become a king that would bring peace, unity and no bitterness. We are the heads of the Yoruba nation, if we are having a problem and not united then our children can never be united.”
Any Oluwo that had been installed for the past 400 years had been turbaned. You will not put a crown on your head and will be not crowned. Turbanning is what is used, you will make your crown yourself. When I was installed, on every Friday when I wear the turban.
Islam has been part of our own culture is Iwo. Iwo is home of Islamic scholars, it is called the “Malami”. If people don’t know, when Oba Samuel Abimbola became the king he was turbaned.
Are Oba and Emir is the same? As a custodian of Yoruba tradition?
Why are people having a problem with that? My home is home of Islam. Over 95 percent of Iwo people in Iwo are muslim. Even all Iwo people are muslim, any Christian you see actually converted. Though there are Christians in Iwo. We live together, even on Sunday I was in Church for the Easter program. Even Sango, Ogun or whatever, we do our festivals together. I am the king of Christians and king of Muslims. I just want people to know that Iwo is the home of Islam. Our Islam even pre-date Northern Islam. For you to know, in 1655 they built a mosque in Iwo. Iwo is the home alfas, nobody can deny it, the same way we can’t deny that Kano is an Islamic city but they have Christian there.
People don’t want to understand anything. People have bad belle, some don’t even like the way I dress. The way I add swag, the way I move around even people don’t like you for being beautiful.
Religion affiliation? What Becomes Your Heritage as a son of Oduduwa?
“As a son of Oduduwa, I am an Oba and I am going to remain an Oba for life. The way I promote my culture, I can tell you the number of Obas that promote it the way I do. I want to update and upgrade our culture. Check what I wear and what other Obas wear, I promote the Yoruba attire (Ofi). I even have Telu Ofi that it is even is circulation now, people love it. Igwes, Obis, and Emirs love it that is the beauty of the Yoruba Language, tradition and culture.
He continued; “We (Yorubas) are the best in the world. I am the first person to name my son after Oduduwa, that is, our progenitor. What do you think it means? Why didn’t I name my son or daughter Sodiq or Malik? It is to promote our name and culture. I would forever remain an Oba.”
However, the Imperial Majesty emphasized on the need for the traditional rulers to love all without discrimination. He said he is starting a revolution that he is expecting Emirs and Sultan in North to Yoruba wear attires.
The Imperial Majesty said; “Our children have problems and this nation has a problem. Until the heads know they are fathers to the nation and they can wear any colour they want in this nation. That is, I am starting a revolution that I want the Sultan to even wear an Agbada and say I am an Oba of Yoruba people. I want the Igwe to refer himself as the Igwe of Yoruba, Sultan should say I am the Sultan of Yoruba so that Yoruba in those regions that freely go meet for anything they want.”
“Even the Alaafin, the Ooni of Ife, Alake will see any Hausa or Fulani as one of his children. I want our traditional rulers in Nigeria to take the colour of everybody. Which means, I am the Sultan of Yoruba land, Emir of Yoruba land, Eze of Yoruba land and Obi of Yoruba land. However, that doesn’t change who I am, I am the Oluwo of Iwo land (a natural paramount ruler).”
“In Iwo, I have Fulani, Igbo, Hausa they are all my children. I do travel to their domain to sensitize them. I tell them to send their children to school. If I don’t do that they might become a problem and they are living here in Iwo. They will become people that will rob us and killing us if we don’t take care of them.”
“For Igala, I am the Atta of Yoruba land. I am the Igwe of Yoruba land, I am Eze and Obi of Yoruba land. I am the Sultan and Emir of Yoruba land. That doesn’t take who I am away from me, I am the Oba and the Oluwo of Iwo land, the paramount ruler of Yoruba land.”
“Have you ever seen Emirs fighting each other? In the North you will never see them fighting each other or report each other to politicians. The Obas should be the one to settle quarrels for the politicians not otherwise.”
“Traditionally, the governor is my son. The president of Nigeria is my son traditionally. If the president has a problem Obas are the ones he will call to resolve the problem. But we are having issues among each other.”
When the monarch was asked what he thinks is the cause of the bickering and Obas fighting each other. He said the lack of love among the traditional rulers in Yoruba is the cause.
The Oluwo said; “We don’t love each other. There is a need to move from that we should start loving each other. We need to start taking some of the bad things in our culture. All the bad ones like using people for money or medicine that requires a human being. Why you be looking for human part to do black magic, that is lack of love.”
The Oluwo of Iwo land was asked what he has made to resolve the crisis among the traditional rulers in Yoruba. Also, the Oba Abdul Rasheed Akanbi himself has been one of the controversies in the air. Having issues with the top Obas like Ooni of Ife and Alaafin of Oyo.
The Monarch replied: “I have made a lot of efforts. You are talking about Alaafin and Ooni of Ife. I never thought of saying this in public but you want to me say it.”
“What happened with Alaafin is that, Why would the Alaafin comes from Oyo State to crown an Oba in Osun State under me. I signed and sent a crown for an Oba to the government and it was approved. The date for the traditional crowning, why would an Oba from Oyo state comes and crown the Oba in Osun State. Is it possible?”
“Why won’t Alaafin goes to Lagos State and say he wants to crown somebody under Akinolu. You demand for your right, nobody gives you on a platter of gold. Baba Alaafin, we all respect him, he shouldn’t have listened to that kind of advice. Nobody told me Alaafin is coming and Baba Alaafin didn’t visit me in the palace to greet me. He came inside Iwo land to crown somebody on my land.”
“On the Ooni of Ife, security shouldn’t touch Obas. The Ooni of Ife should have approached and we can talk and touch each other. Obas don’t touch each other anymore it has to be a security man that can come and push me. Again, there was no apology and you are talking about I am having issues. So, you want me to say it in the open. Would you take that, if you were in my shoe?” he answered.
The monarch was asked were there issues between him and the Ooni of Ife a prior security saga. In his response, he said no need to talk about that.
“Issues with the Ooni of Ife? No, I am not going into that. I just want you to know that there is a problem in Yoruba land. Obas are the heads of this land and if the heads are of United, the children can never be united. I will state it, I am the Emir of Yoruba land, Igwe of Yoruba land and Sultan of Yoruba land. Therefore, I am the father of this nation. I am the father to all and I wear all colours.”