Oba Rilwan Akinolu of Lagos State, snubs Ooni of Ife (Enitan Ogunwusi) at the World conference of Banking Institutes hosted in Lagos yesterday, March 26, by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
It was gathered that soon after the Ooni arrived the event, he exchanged greetings with a monarch believed to be the Obi of Onitsha seated next to Oba Akinolu, and went further greeting Oba Akinolu by shaking him. But to the Ooni of IFE’s surprise, Oba akinolu refused to shake him, but simply waved hand and maintained a straight face.
However, the incident generated a lot of controversies on social media among Nigerians. Even, former president Olusegun Obasanjo reacted to the issue on his twitter page commending Ooni of Ife being calm.
The Oba is not a stranger to controversy. In the run-up to the 2015 national election, a video surfaced on the internet in which he threatened ethnic Igbos living in Lagos that if they didn’t vote for his candidate, they would be thrown “into the lagoon”.
Of course, the slight could be the result of a personal gripe. The public have also suggested that the age difference between the lesser yet older traditional ruler may have played a hand.
Though, Nevertheless, it holds a deeper significance.“The Oba’s behaviour undermines the royal institution of the Yoruba people,” said a Yoruba scholar Kola Tubosun.
The scholar went further saying this kind of gesture shows that traditional institutions are in need of deep reform.
“It sends a wrong signal – that the norms, values and culture of the Yoruba people are being taken for granted.”
Though, in a conducted interview with the Oba Akinolu, he gave reasons for his action, saying Oba’s don’t shake in Lagos. But the public condemned the excuse, saying it is a personal and deliberate action. And there have been a lot of verified pictures by where the Oba is seen shaking hands.
Other members of the public shared their opinion for the reason, saying maybe Oba Rilwan is suffering from cataract.