Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo remains unyielding in his view that traditional rulers in Oyo State ought to stand and show due respect to the state’s Governor, Seyi Makinde. This controversial stance emerged when Obasanjo observed a breach of protocol during a recent event, a move that has prompted a broader discussion on the relationship between cultural norms and constitutional obligations.
According to a statement released by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo emphasized the constitutional standing of a governor as the highest office within a state. The former president insisted that the governor is deserving of the respect, protocol, and dignity that the constitution mandates for the office.
Obasanjo’s decision to intervene when monarchs failed to rise for Governor Makinde has been met with both criticism and support. According to a report by Premium Times, the former leader was struck by the apparent disregard for protocol and took it upon himself to educate those present on the importance of respecting constitutional authority.
A critical aspect of this unfolding narrative is Obasanjo’s appeal to both the constitution and culture. He acknowledged his deep respect for traditional institutions, even mentioning that he observes the cultural norms of prostration, bowing, and kneeling before traditional rulers. However, he stressed the importance of aligning these traditions with constitutional duties. In his own words, “there is culture and there is constitution. One must not disturb the other.”
Calls have been made for an apology from the former president, especially from political quarters. Despite this, Obasanjo has not backed down, reaffirming his belief in the necessity of observing constitutional roles and protocols.
The incident has fanned the flames of an already heated debate about how best to reconcile Nigeria’s rich cultural tapestry with the demands of modern governance. The issue, it seems, is not merely about individual personalities but touches on the bedrock principles that sustain the unity and governance of the nation.
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