Olusegun Obasanjo, former president, has revealed why he ordered monarchs from Oyo state to stand up and greet amid widespread criticism trailing his action.
Speaking exclusively with Premium Times, the octogenarian said his action was because the monarchs breached “protocol” and disrespected the governor.
Recall that Obasanjo, speaking on Friday, September 15, at the commissioning of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Iseyin campus, had commanded kings from Oyo state to stand up and accord him respect.
The former president assertively stated that the position of governor or president is bigger than that of any king.
“Please in Yoruba land, we respect two things: age and position. The governor’s position is superior to that of any king inasmuch as he is a governor,” OBJ assertively said.
The action has, however, been met with criticism, with a number of Nigerians positing that the octogenarian would never do such to Alaafin of Oyo or Ooni of Ile-Ife.
Defending his action, Obasanjo said the kings did not rise when others rose while the governor was speaking.
“I arrived 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.
“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.
“I then asked people around whether that was the practice in Oyo State. I was told the Obas have always displayed disrespect for their governor. I wondered where they got that from and then decided to speak to them about it.
“As far as I am concerned, there is constitution and there is culture. By our constitution, the governor is the leader of a state. Everyone must respect him no matter his or her status or age. He deserves respect no matter how young he is and protocols must be observed.
“That was why I spoke to them the way I did. I wanted them to realise that it is not part of Yoruba culture to disrespect authorities. Respect begets respect and they must learn to deal with their governor with respect if they want to be respected in return.
“I respect traditional rulers and even when I was President and till today, I treat them with reverence. I prostrate, bow and knee before them as necessary.