X-raying the unusual delay in crowning a new Soun
What is causing delay in the appointment of a new Soun of Ogbomosoland, five and a half months after the kingmakers submitted a nominee? Family feuds, politics, religion, legal conundrum, narcissism are some of the reasons being adduced, the editor, Femi OGUNLANA, looks at these factors.
They sustained holdup in getting done with, the crowning of a new Soun of Ogbomoso has expectedly become a source of concern for the larger majority in the ancient town. The creepy sense of foreboding inflicted on the people by the passage of the last occupier of the exalted throne in December 2021 is as deep as the failure to enthrone a new prince nine months after.
In Yorubaland a community without a traditional ruler is deemed as not better than a rudderless ship. It is thus not unfounded the anxiety and suspense generated by the non-filling of the vacancy moreover when the kingmakers had put forward the name of their nominee as required by tradition and law. They did what they needed to do to the best of their abilities and this they concluded on March 22, and promptly dispatched the name of the heir apparent to the Oyo state governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, through Ogbomoso North local government.
But since March 22, it has been an ominous mum from the state government. Various reasons have been adduced for the imposed stalemate ranging from the inevitable feuds tearing the family apart over the choice of Prince Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye as Soun nominee; political exigency in the face of 2023 general elections; religious prejudice; to similarly unavoidable legal fireworks the matter had generated. Another possible diagnosis, uncharted though, which might nonetheless be potent, is this insidious or delusory narcissistic seizure on the part of the powers that be.
Family feuds erupting in the selection of a new monarch is not something strange, it has always been part of the process and to hope of a smooth transition when it is not the Ibadan model is to expect constant rain in a desert region. If the process is repeated hundred times it will still be dogged by crises so hanging on to the flare-up of rancour within the family or families as the basis for the standoff by the governor is roundly untenable, it is like the arbiter, that is the voters, holding back from voting because rivals are crying blue murder over the emergence of party candidates through rancorous processes. Therefore, l consider this i.e. the feuds, as a design that suits and feeds the selfishness of the powers that be. It is as if running government devoid of the intermittent overbearing influence or reverence an Oba of a Soun, an Alaafin or an Olubadan status could bring to bear, suits the purpose of the holders of the levers of (government) power in the state. Thus, the inevitable family feuds in an enterprise as selection of a new Soun as an instance only provides an alibi to put the process on hold indefinitely.
When a government is taciturn refusing to talk to its people on matters dear to them it gives room for all sorts of rumour to sprout and to assume wings. That is why some other people advance the 2023 politics as reason for the interminable delay in the rounding off of the process of the crowning of a new Soun. “His Excellency doesn’t want to offend any interest or group amid the preponderances of contestants bidding for the exalted throne in view of his second term bid,” is a common explanation given by people, who often add assuredly, “The governor would not announce a new Soun until after the elections next year.” Such banal rationalization! If this is true it only shows the stuff our governor is made of. If he is purposed to win he would if not he won’t irrespective of such “clever” subterfuge. I remember in 2014, in about November, (now late) Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s irregularities in salary payments of workers began, that’s some four months to the election period, and the audacity continued till the election time, yet he won. Winning or losing election is beyond such trite ploy.
There is also the rationalization of religion. Prince Ghandi Olaoye, the Soun nominee, is a Christian but there is a strong indication that a section of the Muslim community is vehemently opposed to his choice on religious ground. But this has been disproved. Nonetheless, the allusion to it that the governor is wary of transgressing against the Islamic adherents will not dissipate. This is also hinged on the plank of the forthcoming general elections, that he wanted an intact Ogbomoso going into the election. But this might be a miscalculation as his avoidance of the matter seems to be alienating the Christian community from him finding his stance repulsive. Moreover, it shows him as parochial and feeble-minded.
Then, could be it be the legal conundrum that has been allowed to trail the process? But so far no court injunction has been granted to stop the process, so why the delay? I am aware there are no less than three suits challenging the process, two from co-contestants and one from the three families of Ologolo, Oluopo and Olukan seeking to be included in the ruling families of Soun dynasty being of the royal families too. However, as stated, no order from any courts stopping the process is extant. So, why the portentous holdup! And what are the merits of the suits in relation to the nomination of a candidate?
One can then safely assume that the governor is the one wittingly or unwittingly stoking the ember of crisis by delaying without valid cause. The kingmakers did what they needed to do; you either approve or disapprove, why keeping silence! The court is there for those who object to seek invalidation! Can such a volatile enterprise as installing a new monarch unfold without fierce contentions? It is like the state’s Chief Judge refusing to perform swearing-in ceremony for him in 2019 because his own victory at the polls was challenged in court by an opponent. But he was sworn-in while the court process went ahead.
Perhaps he is privy to certain information we are blinded to by virtue of his privileged position however the fact remains that keeping mute on the matter for over six months smacks of executive arrogance and is unfairly and gratuitously putting Ogbomoso on edge and at a disadvantage.
On the other hand lack of a sovereign in Ogbomoso can be an advantage to him as noted earlier. He doesn’t have to kowtow to any other power in the state; within his political party, he defers to no one; as traditional rulers blaze a lot of reverence, deference and power they can muster some hold on the Chief Executive Officers of states. No Soun, no Alaafin, no Aseyin and so on, forces some concessions can be made, then, he can enjoy an unfettered or freer reign as the Chief Executive of the state. That is my concept of narcissism in this matter and I have used that term for want of a better description. Such (monarchial) vacancies will serve the ego of anyone in the governor’s shoes.
Or perhaps the intimidating credentials of Ghandi is the problem. That is unlikely anyway though every superior power prefers weak subordinates. But l don’t want to believe this in the current circumstance.
All our actions become history even this write-up has become one just as the governor’s actions are being weaved into historical accounts including this one about the crowning of a new Soun, to be read in generations.
But whatever, the throne will cleanse itself of all shenanigans (all thrones always do) and the next occupier will emerge sitting astride the throne whether now or in the future.