OBJ’s “stand up order” to Oyo monarchs: Insist citizens must respect protocol and constitution; Oluwo of Iwo, others kick

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo has shed light on his recent directive to traditional rulers in Oyo State to stand and sit, a move that has sparked widespread criticism and debates over cultural norms and respect for authority.

The incident occurred on Friday, September 15, 2023, during the inauguration of two projects in Iseyin, Oyo State, where Obasanjo was invited as the special guest of honor.

A short video of the event, widely circulated online, showed Obasanjo expressing his displeasure as seated monarchs failed to rise and greet the state governor, Seyi Makinde. He described their behavior as disrespectful to the governor and his office.

Speaking in Yoruba, Obasanjo then ordered the traditional leaders to stand and greet Governor Makinde, a command they promptly obeyed.

Criticism of Obasanjo’s actions was spontaneous with many viewing his directive as a breach of Yoruba culture and traditions.

Prominent among the monarchs that called out Obasanjo’s action is the Oluwo of Iwo, Abdulrosheed Akanbi who sternly rebuked the former President for his controversial “stand up order,” emphasising that respect should be earned, not demanded. Oba Akanbi asserted that traditional rulers should receive respect from those they encounter and called for a formal letter of apology from Obasanjo.

Obasanjo defended his actions. He stated that his decision was based on the observation that the monarchs displayed utter disrespect for Governor Makinde.

The former President clarified that he had arrived at the event venue with the governor, and as protocol dictates, everyone present was expected to stand in respect for the governor when he rose to speak. Nevertheless, the seated monarchs chose to remain seated.

Obasanjo expressed his belief in the importance of upholding both cultural traditions and constitutional protocols. He noted that the constitution designates the governor as the leader of the state, deserving of respect regardless of status or age. He stressed the need to maintain a balance between cultural practices and adherence to the constitution.

“I respect our culture. But let us also know that there is a Constitution which puts a chairman as head of a local government, a governor as head of a state, and a president as head of our country. Whatever we do must be in respect for that arrangement. I am saying there is culture and there is constitution. One must not disturb the other,” he said.

%d bloggers like this: