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Former President Obasanjo Expresses Continued High Regard For Traditional Rulers

ABEOKUTA – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has emphasized his deep respect for traditional rulers, a sentiment he has held since his time as President and continues to hold today.

He addressed the controversies surrounding his recent order for monarchs to stand and then sit during the inauguration of two projects in Iseyin, Oyo State on Friday, September 15, 2023.

In a recent interview with Premium Times, Obasanjo justified his actions, explaining that he issued the directive for traditional rulers to stand because they had failed to do so upon his and Governor Makinde’s arrival at the event. He regarded their refusal to stand as a sign of disrespect towards Governor Makinde and a breach of protocol.

Obasanjo, who served as the special guest of honor at the inauguration of road projects constructed by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, also mentioned that the monarchs declined to stand when the Governor took the podium to deliver his address.

However, it was his directive to the traditional rulers to stand and then sit, as captured in a viral video, that drew significant attention and headlines.

Obasanjo explained, “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.”

He went on to state that he learned that the Obas had consistently shown disrespect for the Governor, prompting him to address the matter at the event.

He stressed the importance of respecting the constitution and cultural values, noting that the governor holds a position of authority according to the constitution, and everyone, regardless of their status or age, should accord him respect.

Obasanjo added, “Respect begets respect, and they must learn to deal with their governor with respect if they want to be respected in return.”

Despite criticism following his actions, Obasanjo reiterated his high regard for traditional rulers.

He also emphasized the need to balance cultural traditions with constitutional principles, asserting that both should coexist without disrupting one another.

Critics, including Yoruba groups, monarchs, and others, accused Obasanjo of disrespecting the traditional institution through his treatment of the kings at the event.

Taiwo, one of the former wives of the former President, also issued an appeal to traditional institutions in Yorubaland to forgive her ex-husband in a statement on Sunday, September 17, 2023.

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