…Cautions traditional rulers against partisan politics
By Stephen Gbadamosi
A Chieftain of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Comrade Olufemi Ajadi Oguntoyinbo, has backed former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the need for traditional rulers to respect constituted authorities, such as the governor and president.
This is just as the party’s gubernatorial candidate in Ogun State in the last general elections also appealed to traditional rulers to restrain from active and partisan politics.
He said rather, they should remain opinion leaders in the various communities, so as to continue to earn their due respect.
Recall that last Friday, some traditional rulers in Oyo State refused to stand up when the state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, and former President Obasanjo arrived at the venue of the commissioning of Oyo -Iseyin road leading to Chief Obasanjo allegedly lambasting them for their disrespect to the governor and himself.
The development has started generating reactions with some condemning the former president on his alleged open disparaging of the obas, while some have expressed diverse opinions.
Oguntoyinbo spoke on the issue in a statement on Monday, backing Chief Obasanjo, adding that governors and presidents, be they former or incumbent, deserved respect.
He said traditional rulers should not dabble into active politics, as they should continue to preside over their towns or communities, while the governors preside over states and the president over the whole country.
He said though the traditional rulers, as custodians of culture, deserved respect, but according to him, respect is reciprocal.
“When governors or the president visit the traditional rulers in their palaces, they usually give them respects they deserve.
“But at public functions where they are seated before the arrival of the governors or president, courtesy demands that they give respect to the governors or president,” he said.
He added that most traditional rulers had dabbled into politics, saying that some of them openly aligned with political parties, hence the little respects they received from political office holders.
He highlighted the role of traditional rulers as that of impartial advisors in Nigerian politics, expressing concern that their involvement in partisan politics could lead to their humiliation by political figures.
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“Traditional rulers, especially the obas in Yorubaland, would stop being humiliated by any political office holder, be it governor or president, when they stop being partisan.
“Our obas are expected to be fathers for all politicians through giving of advice and guidance on how to achieve good governance, but not being partisan.
“However, what is playing out is that most of them are politically aligned; and with their involvement in politics, it would be difficult for them to receive their deserved respect,” he said.