The Aare Ona Kakamfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams says the Council of Yoruba Obas in the Diaspora is a desecration of Yoruba land and tradition.
The Aare Ona Kakanfo said in Lagos on Thursday that the development posed grave dangers to the Yoruba culture and its sustainability.
He said: “It is painful that this desecration of our customs and tradition is not perpetrated by strangers but some Yoruba who I will refer to as ‘shady characters’, living outside the shores of this land.”
In a letter issued to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, Adams said that the development must be nipped in the bud.
He said: “Any immediate or remote threat to our age-long monarchical system must be nipped in the bud through all legal means.”
The letter, which was also sent to Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State, Yoruba Obas and other Yoruba leaders in Nigeria, described the Council of Yoruba Obas in the Diaspora as illegal.
It said: “This group is not known to our law, the modus operandi is alien to our customs and tradition and if something is not done urgently to caution and sanction its promoters, our highly-revered traditional institution may, God forbid, becomes extinct soon.
“In truth, our traditional institutions derive legitimacy and authority from traditions of a particular village, town or city.
“The hierarchical order of our traditional leaders has been with us for centuries.
“In other words, it is a taboo to replicate the role of an Oba or question his authority. That is why he is referred to as ka-bi-o-osi (Kabiyesi).
“In Yoruba land, an Oba is not only a king, but a sacred king. As the custodian of history and culture, words of an Oba remain sacred and any attempt to desecrate age-long customs of the people must be crushed without any delay.
“Being one of the sons of the progenitor of the Yoruba, Oduduwa, the popular belief is that without the Oba (who is the spiritual head of a domain), there is no village, town or city.
“Also, I need not emphasise the fact that royal families and government play an important role in who becomes an Oba anywhere in Yorubaland.
“For anybody to become an Oba, he must be a son of a king or of the same blood line as chosen (royal) families from which a king might emerge.
“This customs associated with royal families date back to centuries but the activities of Council of Yoruba Obas in the Diaspora, if not checked immediately, threaten this age-long tradition.’’
He said that the Diaspora Council of Obas who reside mostly in Europe, North and South America “are standing logic on the head’’ due to their inordinate ambition.
He said: “In some countries in these continents, these characters now install themselves as Obas.
“They wear crowns similar to what our royal fathers wear in Yorubaland and parade themselves as Obas, with a complete paraphernalia of office.
“They also come to Yorubaland and parade themselves as such.
“These are characters who have no royal blood flowing in their veins, no affinity with any traditional institution in Yorubaland and no government recognition.
“If we keep quiet now, and allow them and tomorrow, one of them with his paraphernalia is arrested at any airport abroad, will the headline of newspapers’ publications not read: “Yoruba Oba arrested at Heathrow Airport in possession of.
“The British monarch has existed for centuries. Can a replica of Queen of England be seen in any part of the world?
“This is an ugly trend that is gradually creeping into our traditional institution, an aberration which must not be allowed to continue.”
He noted that an individual could be the leader/coordinator of a Yoruba group in a foreign land, but not to be crowned as an Oba.
He said: “In this wise, the promotion of our culture is legitimate but the usurpation of the powers of Yoruba monarchs by some individuals abroad is sacrilegious.”
Adams urged Yoruba leadership including Obas and governors to condemn the trend and call those involved to order.
He said: “During my installation as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo on January 13, I vowed that I will do everything legitimate and legal to protect the name and project the image of Yorubaland.
“I hereby reiterate the commitment to ensure that this latest attempt to denigrate Yoruba traditional institution is nipped in the bud.”