The Ooni of Ife, Enitan Ogunwusi, has described the comments made against him by Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho), as irresponsible.
The spokesman for the Ooni, Moses Olafare, who spoke with Premium Times, said the palace was not ready to engage Igboho formally on the matter but the issue of the threat of violence against the monarch would be handled appropriately.
The freedom fighter had while taking part in a virtual town hall meeting on Wednesday, criticised some South-West leaders, including the former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu; Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde. He also slammed some traditional rulers including the Ooni and Oluwo of Iwo, Abdulrasheed Akanbi.
Sunday Igboho described the Yoruba leaders as lily-livered and called them Fulani slaves.
But reacting on Thursday, the monarch said no true Yoruba son or daughter would speak like Igboho, noting that his conduct and attitude cast doubt on his true intention in his “self-saddled responsibility of defending the Yorubas.”
The Ooni’s spokesman, Olafare, said Igboho was going overboard in his conduct and that he should not believe that he is bigger than the authorities.
He said, “We have not made any official statements on the matter and the matter does not really make any sense to us. If somebody who identifies himself with the cause of Yoruba could be talking in that manner about the Ooni who is indisputably a spiritual head of the race, then one must wonder whether or not the person has been representing us truly. It gives room for people to suspect your motive.
“For a man claiming to be defending a race to be attacking the same people you claim you are defending leaves much to be desired.”
Speaking on the allegation that the monarch collected money from the president, the spokesman said the allegation is not only irresponsible but also lacks substance.
“He made some very irresponsible allegations. You know when you make allegations that you cannot back up with evidence, that can only portray you as an irresponsible man. If you make unfounded allegations and then you want to use allegations to further justify your claims as the generalissimo of the race, it is up to the public. It’s so unfortunate, if you say the Ooni has collected money, I expected him to show evidence. You say he has collected dollars. Irresponsible allegation is irresponsible allegation if you cannot back up whatever you allege with acceptable evidence.”
He added that the support of Igboho is currently enjoying in his onslaught against some criminals that have infiltrated the South-West is not out of the blues. He, however, cautioned him against reckless comments and allegations, saying they do not portray him as a cultured Yoruba man with moral values and virtues.
“If you’re doing something and people are hailing you, I don’t think you need to allow that credit to get into your head and start to misbehave. If you could open your mouth and call Ooni such unprintable names that you called him, that shows the kind of Yoruba man that you are.
“I do not see any reason that will make me describe a Baale, who is of lower rank on the traditional rulers ranking, with such unprintable names. If I cannot do that to a Baale, why should I say such a thing to an Ooni? It’s not good. It does not portray anybody as an Omoluabi, as a man of Yoruba virtues and values.
“In any case, if you’re fighting for the liberation of the people, this is a responsibility that is self-saddled, you choose to and for you to succeed, you need the same people that you’re representing, otherwise you would not succeed. Is this the way you’re going to get the support of the people you’re representing when you start attacking the same people? People will back out, that is just it. Whether you like it or not, some people are following you because of that same Ooni. They will back out.”
According to Premium Times, Igboho was alleged to have threatened to unleash terror on some of the leaders. Commenting on this Olafare said, “Well, he said that in a video that is well circulated and the video must have got to security agents who would see beyond what we are seeing. It is a threat to life if you say that if somebody is going, you’re going to waylay that person and fire him.
“If you’re bold enough to say that, to anybody not to talk of even the Ooni of Ife, I believe that security agents will see that as a threat to life. While we’re not ready to report any matter to security agents, I believe that they will know what to do.”