February 27, 2024

Herdsmen attacks: Ooni of Ife, Eselu of Iselu in hot words over BBC interview

Herdsmen attacks: Ooni of Ife, Eselu of Iselu in hot words over BBC interview

…Ooni: my style is different

By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta


His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja 11), Ooni of Ife and Oba Ebenezer Akintunde Akinyemi (Akaosu 1), Eselu of Iseluland Kingdom in Yewa North Local Government Area, Ogun State, engaged themselves in hot words over herdsmen’s reported attacks in several villages in Ketu land in Ogun State.

Oba Akinyemi who had granted BBC Pidgin an interview on Tuesday, 2nd of February, 2021over the activities of Fulani herdsmen and farmers. In the course of the interview, he expressed his support for Yoruba activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, who recently visited the monarch’s domain and urged other Yoruba Obas in the Southwest not to compromise the security of their subjects.

But on 4th of February, 2021, the situation seems to appear in another dimension when Ooni of Ife reacted by sending a WhatsApp message to Oba Ebenezer Akintunde Akinyemi, Eselu of Iselu kingdom accusing the Oba of directing his remarks in the said interview at him because of his visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, warning the Ogun monarch to be careful.
“Which other traditional rulers from our zone went to Abuja?” the Ooni queried.

“We all need to be careful not to be saying things that we are not there physically.

“The spirits of our ancestors and Oodua Land judge me if I went to Abuja to do otherwise to the cause of our land and also judge people that are saying things they don’t know…”

Responding, Oba Akinyemi said he was disappointed at the Ooni’s attack on him, urging him to live up to expectations as the leading monarch in Yorubaland.

Oba Akinyemi said: “Good morning, Kabiyesi, Your Imperial Majesty.

“Kabiyesi, I hold you in high esteem and God and our ancestors know that.

“I don’t expect you to attack me in this manner. My expectations are for you to sympathise with me as one of your Obas and also your people in Yorubaland that were killed like goats by the Fulani strangers in your land.

Kabiyesi, there is nowhere in the aforementioned interview that I mentioned that you collected money from Abuja, but I put cautions to all traditional rulers in Yorubaland as a wake-up call to all of us, including your good self, sir.

“Kabiyesi, you occupy the cradle of Yorubaland and I expect you to extend hands of fellowship to all of us.

“In a nutshell, Kabiyesi, you need to do more, and you owe me a delegation to come to us so they can report back to you how your children are being treated like slaves in Iselu…”


The Ooni again responded, asking Oba Akinyemi not to join others in spreading false information about his visit to Aso Rock.

He explained that his visit to Buhari had staved off some evil plans against Igboho, following the latter’s sacking of herdsmen from the Igangan area of Ibarapa, Oyo State.

Ooni said: “You cannot say you are more pained than me on all these matters as Arole Oduduwa.

“Our ancestors still live in spirit on this throne, and anybody that does negative things to the land will get the wrath of the spirit land (sic) of we Yorubas.

“You cannot be saying that (a) traditional ruler went to Abuja in the name of oil block to trade off his people.

“I am the ONLY one that went due to Covid-19 restrictions. Hear what you said now.

“Were you there when I discussed with Buhari? If I had not gone to speak the truth to power, do you have an idea of what was planned for Sunday (Igboho) and things that will happen afterward?

“Diplomacy is way better to resolve things than war, because even after the war that we all don’t pray for, you will still sit down to talk…

“Anyway, I hold my peace before you will turn it into something else again.

“Just to correct your wrong notion of going to solicit for oil block and co. It’s a lie.

“Please, I hold you in high esteem; don’t partake in false information. It’s not good spiritually.

“The spirits of our ancestors are alive and will surely fight the Yoruba cause. Peace be unto you.”

Oba Akinyemi, however, fired back, noting that the Ooni had been too cold to the plight of Yoruba people being attacked and killed by herders.

He said: “Your imperial majesty (Ooni), as long as I don’t want to disobey my paramount ruler, Olu (of) Ilaro, who advised me not to join issues with you, I won’t.

“But let me bust your brain that the issues today in Yorubaland that you happen to be the leader of all monarchs, things (have) fallen apart right under your nose.

“We are now in a state of oligarchy, racism, and totalitarianism.

“Maybe you don’t know you are not the only Oba that goes to the President in our zones, and I might not know them all because I am not the chief of staff to the President.

“And the issue of oil block you accused me of is not a statement credited to you alone but all of us in the Southwest because we have nowhere to call our ancestral home apart from here.

“Kabiyesi, I insist you need to do more. You are too cold at this present situation in your (Yoruba) land.

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