Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has disclosed the reason behind his directive for traditional rulers in Oyo State to rise during the inauguration of two projects in the Iseyin area last Friday.
In a viral video, Obasanjo had criticized the monarchs for not standing to greet the State Governor, Seyi Makinde.
Explaining his outburst in an interview with Premium Times while in South Africa for the burial of politician Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who passed away on September 9th at the age of 95, Obasanjo said, “I arrived at the event venue with the governor. As we arrived, every other person at the venue rose, but they (the monarchs) remained seated. I was surprised because I considered that a breach of protocol and disrespect for the governor.”
He continued, “It later became the turn of the governor to speak. As he rose, every other person at the venue, including me, stood up as demanded by protocol and in respect for the governor and his office. Again, the Obas refused to rise. They all remained seated.”
Obasanjo then inquired if this was the customary practice in Oyo State and was told that the traditional rulers have historically shown disrespect for their governor. This puzzled him, prompting him to address the matter.
Obasanjo emphasized the importance of observing both the constitution and culture. He asserted that according to the constitution, the governor is the leader of the state, deserving respect regardless of status or age. Therefore, he wanted the traditional rulers to understand that disrespecting authorities, including the governor, goes against Yoruba culture. He stressed the need for mutual respect and adherence to protocols, clarifying that culture and constitution should coexist without disturbing each other.
He concluded by expressing his deep respect for traditional rulers and his commitment to treating them with reverence, while also underscoring the importance of respecting the constitution’s hierarchy of authorities.