Traditional worshippers threaten one-million-member protest on Iwo, accuse Oluwo of denigrating Orisa

By Charles Akinbode

Traditional Religious Worshippers Association State of Osun (TRWASO), has threatened to lead its members in a protest to Iwo to demand removal of the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi, over his “unguarded remarks and actions against the Orisa.”

The traditional worshippers, who also asked the Osun State government to caution the Oluwo so that he did not incite religious crisis in the state, insisted that the monarch should tender an unreserved apology to the Orisa and desist from act of denigrating the traditional religion to avert their wrath.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday at the palace of the Araba of Osogboland Osogbo, President of the Osun State chapter of TRWASO, Dr. Oluseyi Atanda, said if the monarch refused to tender his apology to the traditionalists by November 31, they would embark on the protest to ask for his removal as the Oluwo.

He said: “We request the state government to call Oba Abdul-Rasheed Akanbi to order and within 21 days; issue a public statement apologizing for his unguarded utterances against the Orisa and desist from such acts capable of inciting religious fracas.

“If he is uncomfortable wearing the crown of Orisa, he should leave the palace of Orisa. Otherwise, in 21 days’ time, the 30th of November, 2021, we would stage a one million OLORISA worshippers march onto Iwo land to protest and ask that the Oluwo be removed.

“Traditional religionists are known to respect, honour and work closely with obas more than any other group of people in the society. We have no choice than to come out publicly to call for the orderly manner of the Oluwo because of his questionable actions.

Flanked by the Araba of Osogboland, Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon, and other notable leaders of the traditional religion at the press conference, Atanda lamented that the traditional institution have been dragged in the mud enough by the Oluwo’s actions, therefore, advising the Ministry of Chieftancy Affairs to take action and call Oba Akanbi to order.

He continued: “His installation as Oba ought to be advantageous to Iwo and the entire yoruba land. The Oluwo has been conducting himself in a manner which are antiethical to that of a monarch in any clime and very unbecoming of him.

“I want to say that Osun State Council of Obas suspended him recently and the Iwo in diaspora and Iwo kingmakers have also called for his removal at different times.”

It would be recalled that a viral video circulated in the social media, revealed where the Oluwo spoke against worshing the idols at a Christian crusade.

He condmened worship of the Orisa and keeping deities in the palaces, saying the backwardness of the Yoruba race is directly linked with monarchs subjecting themselves as inferior to the Orisa.

FULL TEXT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE BY TRADITIONAL RELIGION WORSHIPPERS ASSOCIATION STATE OF OSUN (TRWASO) ON OUR POSITION AND STANCE ON THE RECURRENT FLAGRANT ABUSE OF POWER AND UNGUARDED STATEMENTS CREDITED TO OBA ABDULRASHEED AKANBI, THE SUPPOSED OLUWO OF IWO HELD ON TUESDAY 9TH. NOVEMBER, 2021.

The Traditional Religion Worshippers Association of State of Osun hereinafter called TRWASO as the mouthpiece and coordinating body for traditionalists in Osun State deems it necessary at this point to set the records straight, correct the ill-informed monarch on his utterances that tend to portray the traditionalists as ritualists and cannibals, enlighten the society and above all appeal to the Osun State Government to do the needful to prevent anarchy which the utterances are capable of drifting our dear State into.

The kingship institution is a highly revered system and respected in Yoruba land. Obas are selected through a process which encapsulates both divine and moral reviews, thereafter the appointee goes through a reformation process to become KABIYESI. There is no gain saying that Obas are the custodians of the religions, culture and tradition of Yoruba land. The house keeper of the values, virtues, ethos and pride of race for which Isese religion is closely attached as the pivot which directs all activities attached to the traditional institutions in Yorubaland. Every monarch may have a personal religion before ascending the throne of his fore-fathers, but once the popular candidate emerged and installed as the King, he becomes father of all, embraces all religions and works in close proximity with the traditional institutions to maintain sanctity of the land, law and order. Traditional religionists have been known to respect, honour and work closely with Obas more than any other group of people in the society. It is unfortunate that we now have no other choice than to come out publicly at this stage and call to order the person of Oba Abdul-Rasheed Akanbi before hell is let loose and lunacy is displayed up to the point that it becomes disgraceful to the whole of Yoruba land with the grave consequences as there is power in the words whether spoken rightly or wrongly.

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Obu Abdul-Rasheed Akanbi, a 54-year old man was installed the Oluwo of Iwo about five years ago or thereabout. As an educated Oba widely reported as well-travelled, he is supposed to be well informed and guarded in his actions and utterances. This ought to be advantageous to Iwo land but his activities since his installation as Oluwo of two till date have not shown him to have matured over the years to that level of a well informed Oba about the roles of traditional institutions with such aura of perfect coordination of all activities. This man has over the years not realized that a monarch must conduct himself in certain ways as exemplified by so many other Obas. To. mention a few of his excesses and disgraceful acts:

1. In 2006, shortly after installation, he had public altercation against Chief Abiola Ogundokun, an Iwo elder statesman. The Oluwo publicly mounted a table like a thug to lead war chants against the respected elder statesman.

2. In 2016, he was reported to have shoved off the Chief Imam from leading a joint Fid prayer and went ahead to lead the prayers to the utter consternation of the congregation

3. In 2018, contrary to the known virtues of Yoruba Obas, he had openly exchanged words with another Imam during a Friday Jumaat, where he was accused of attempting to sleep with the Imam’s wife.

4 In 2019, he had verbally attacked the persons of the Ooni of Ife and the Alaafin of Oyo. But, as revered monarchs, they had chosen to ignore the attack as ranting of an ant.

5. In 2020, Oba Akanbi turned himself into Anthony Joshua of Osun State when he threw caution to the winds, attacked and punched another Oba for whatever reason it might have been. The action was widely condemned as highly unexpected of a Yoruba monarch.

6. In 2021, during the Osun @ 30 celebration, he had conducted himself disgracefully twice by seizing the microphone when he was not called to speak and attempted to push off the Orangun of lla, who maturedly left the stage for him in the full glare of people, visitors and members of cabinet of the Osun State government.

7. Oba Akanbi had unilaterally without lawful authority removed the Otun Ajanasi of Iwo and installed another person against all the known norms guiding the appointment of related religious chiefs within the fold of Islam. It took the intervention of the High Court of Osun State to castigate his actions and set aside the steps he had taken. All these instances above are highlighted to show the escapades of the man, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Akanbi, though we are not defendants of the various people attacked both physically and verbally, but to show his antecedents. Oba Akanbi has gone further to utter many unguarded statements against the traditionalists capable of inciting members of public against the traditionalists which can lead to break down of law and order. The supposed Oluwo was reported to have evicted the symbol of Ogun by removing the Ogun edifice from the Palace of Iwo, made several uncultured and degrading statements against the heritage of the stool as the 16th Oluwo Iwo with impunity. We as a group of peace loving and tolerant religionists approached Oba Akanbi in 2018 to have discussions with him and appealed to him to watch his tongue and allow peace to reign. He appeared calm down for a while, later, further displaying his penchant for violence and disturbances. Of recent, we were all aware of a recent viral video in a Church vigil where Oba Akanbi for no reasons at all desecrated on the traditional institution by insulting the Orisa, his forefathers and Orisa worshippers. Few days ago, he did another viral video accusing traditionalists to be responsible for the killings in the land and maiming of twins without any evidence to show for his assertion. We have watched enough, we have prayed enough for the restoration of this man back to his senses but unfortunately, he has demonstrated that no matter the attempts made to a mad man he would surely dance naked to the market place. This now becomes a matter for all and sundry to work assiduously to curh the excesses of Oba Akanbi

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There are viral videos which have shown the Oluwo admitting to credit card fraud and claiming it is not same as 419, Oluwo wrapping and smoking hemp, Oluwo taking snap shots in nakedness etc. This man who claims to abhor traditional religion recently insisted to be part of the installation of the Araba of Iwo land and requested for the sum of N250,000 and was gifted in the interest of peace. If such a man, in the presence of traditionalists behaves like a cultured Oba and once in public glare, vituperates nonsense, then we must ask questions:

Is he being paid to do this drama of acting to attempt to Islamize Yoruba nation and dress like an Emir to deceive the far North for financial emolument? Is he mentally unstable and needs medical attention?

Oluwo Abdulrasheed Akanbi aka Emir of Yoruba land has been conducting himself in manners which are antithetical to that of a monarch in any clime and very unbecoming of a Yoruba Oba. The Iwo in Diaspora and Iwo kingmakers at different instances in 2020 had asked for his removal, Osun State Council of Obas have suspended him, but the government of Osun decides to look the other way and still invites him to functions.

Oba Akanbi’s words and actions have continued to generate reactions whether he has undergone all rites necessary to be performed as a Yoruba Oba before his installation. Those who put faeces in the market square will have to take of the flies and also evacuating the faeces.

Our stance is that whichever way it is, Oba Rasheed Akanbi has not demonstrated that he has been divinely selected as the Oluwo as expected of a Yoruba Oba. We doubt whether there was any divination process or reformation process before he was hurriedly installed. We passionately call upon the Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs to as a matter of urgency call to order the excesses of Oba Akanbi. We also respectfully ask Mr. Governor, not to sacrifice millions of traditionalists and custodians of our culture for a man who is synonymous with contradictions and controversies. Our Obaship and traditional institutions have been dragged in the mud enough, our religion has been dragged in the mud enough, the whole of Yoruba race has been embarrassed enough. Is Oba Abdul-Rasheed Akanbi untouchable?

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Let me state that, other religions have not been insulted this far with the level of violence and anarchy that had broken down in the past. No individual or Oba would publicly insult Christianity or Islam and hell will not be let loose within 24 hours, and the king would still parade himself about as a monarch. The Deji of Akure beat his wife publicly and not that he attacked another Oba and he was deposed. We have risen as a body to defend our constitutionally religious right and stop the Oluwo from further committing sacrilege on the revered throne of Iwoland and the crown of Orisa bestowed on Iwo monarchs by the Ifa OBARA OTURA. We therefore request the State Government to call Oba Abdul-Rasheed Akanbi to order and within 21 days; issue a public statement apologizing for his unguarded utterances against Orisa and desist from such acts capable of inciting religious fracas, and if he is uncomfortable wearing the crown of Orisa, he should leave the palace of Orisa. Otherwise, we in 21 days’ time, the 30th of November, 2021 would stage a 1 million OLORISA worshippers march onto Iwo land to protest and ask that Oluwo be removed and for Government to stop the infiltration of persons in the land whose utterances are capable of destroying the relative peace we are enjoying in the State. We also seize this opportunity to appeal to government to always scrutinize and examine anybody to be installed as Obas with due traditional process as this would always ensure that peace reign supreme failing which we shall be faced with the consequences as we are witnessing today. No Oba would he picked through Ifa divination, embark on the seclusion of spiritual sanctity, reformation of character. lessons of conduct of an Oba and teachings of history of the land and behave in such despicable manners. Let us go back to the good beginning, our Obas are institutions and not political appointees. Only those willing to accept the responsibility that comes with the glamour should be appointed after due traditional process.

TRWASO wishes to thank you gentlemen of the press for your support and concern over this lingering matter and appeal that you give our stance the widest publicity. We also state that this is not a confrontation against Osun state government as we continue to pledge our support for a working government and would continue to support the government with prayers, but on this Oluwo matter, we beg to differ with the seeming recognition he enjoys despite his excesses.

Thank you all and God bless us all for coming.

Long Live Iwo land

Long Live Orisa community Long Live Osun state.

OLUOMO (Dr) Oluseyi Atanda

MBBS, FMCOG, D.MAS, FIMC, CMC President, TRWASO.

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