Oba Akiolu: A king or A Jester?
By Hakeem Babalola
Kabiyesi, ki ade pe l'ori, Ki bata pe l'ese o (Long live the king). Mo yi ika otun, mo yi ika osi o (I sprawl on the floor to the right; to the left) Ti oba l'ase (authority belongs to the king). Gone were the days in the life of a Kabiyesi when he welds so much power that when he dies, at least two of his servants must be buried with him - alive. May such era never come again. Amin...Amen.
It seems some Obas do not take the perishing of such traditional arrangement lightly. Hence there must be a back door through which such act can be re-energized. The king needs company even in his grave. The king needs someone to take care of him as he journeys beyond. Bi ati n se l'aye ni ati n se ni orun (our disposition on earth is the same in heaven). Is Oba Rilwan Akiolu unhappy at being away and longing for familiar things? But sha, thank God it was not women that must accompany the king to his grave in those days. Thank God.
When I read the news: Vote Amode or Perish Inside the Lagoon, Oba Akiolu Tells Igbos, I dismissed it out-rightly. No, not in this century. No, that was in the past. No new generation Oba would be so thirsty for blood to open his basket mouth and perish lives in such manner. Oba Akiolu must be cracking jokes. Well, the jokes may be expensive and it may be misinterpreted, it must be a joke, I was lost in denial.
If they want me to believe such news, let them produce the video or audio evidence. And I was saying to myself, Oba Akiolu may become richer if this thing turns to be untrue. He could sue these newspaper boys and girls. How can they lie against an Oba in such a blatant manner! Kabiyesi, perish them with litigation. And i felt a sigh of relief when the king's emewa (servants or accolades) released a statement denying it. That's it, sue these yeye newspaper/bloogers boys and girls.
As if they knew what was ruminating in my mind, the social media produced the audio and then the video. Yeparipa. That's it. "If anyone of you goes against Akin Amode that I picked, that is your end. I don't beg for your vote. I tell you in the name of God. On Saturday, if anyone of you, I swear in the name of God, goes against my wish that Amode will be the next governor of Lagos state, the person is going to die inside this water"
Olopa, ewo n tepe. Amuni n je amuni (Police, why the curse, you arrest me yes but why are you cursing me!). Honestly, this Oba Akiolu must be a jester. But then when you study his body language; his countenance you would notice it is beyond jest. He actually meant what he said. He was threatening the Igbos who paid him a courtesy visit to vote for his APC candidate, Amode.
Still for a moment I remained silent. No, they doctored the video. No, no reasonable and responsible Oba would ever dead so low to cast aspersion on anyone as this. Then I regained my senses and watched and listened again and again!
But he said it and he meant what he said. And that is why I dismiss Pat Utomi's defense, saying Oba Akiolu was simply joking. What kind of joke is this? Professor, I beg make una stop playing politics with this issue. This na serious matter.
The OPC (Odua Peoples Congress) has also defended the royal man warning Nigerians against making unbecoming comments against the paramount ruler of Lagos. The OPC maintains that the Oba was misrepresented in the press. I disagree. While I agree with OPC that the institution of the Oba is held in high esteem in Yoruba race, I urge OPC coordinators to go and watch the video and do proper assessment. There shouldn't be any form of threat to any tribe no matter where such tribe resides in Nigeria. The Oba should just apologize.
I think this Oba should abdicate the throne and join politics or at best become a professional clown. Even I don't think he would make a good politician with this kind of empty threat outburst. I mean you beg for vote, even if you want to campaign for a candidate. There is a big difference between soliciting for vote and threatening for vote. The former may be acceptable while the latter is not. This king has made a royal mistake, a moral mistake as well as a political mistake. He should apologize instead of denying the obvious.
Aha, the joking Oba may just be indirectly campaigning for Jimi, his blood relation whom he said he had told would never be Lagos State Governor. You never know o jare. Two many jokes in times of seriousness.
But trust your Asiwaju fun ra re (the man himself). Tinubu has castigated the errant Oba saying, Akiolu is not APC spokesperson. There you go. What surprises me most is this: The Igbo delegation at the event seems okay with the king's threat. Why? Are they being wise or just reserving their judgment or simply enjoying the "jokes"? The threat notwithstanding, the Igbo community still promised the Oba it would vote for his candidate. How true is this? Are they also joking? Interesting trend.
Apparently Oba Rilwan Akiolu has crossed the line - of royal decency - desecrating the royal stool with this promotion of lagoon ritual sacrifice. His joke (apology to Pat Utomi) is capable of fueling ethnic tension, which threatens the spirit of peaceful co-existence.
But then I must remind the Oba about the law of boomerang. If it misses the target, it goes back to the sender. Shall we include Oba Akiolu in the Hall of Shame? Shall we then suggest that Oba Rilwan Akiolu change role - from a king to a jester? Your thought is welcome