The Jagunmolu of Owu and Apesin Jagunmolu of
Egbaland , Chief Shehu Oladunjoye , speaks with

TOLUWANI ENIOLA on the rift between the Awujale of
Ijebuland , Oba Sikiru Adetona , and former President
Olusegun Obasanjo
Do you think the words used by former President
Olusegun Obasanjo against the Awujale of
Ijebuland , Oba Sikiru Adetona , were appropriate?

Yes ; Obasanjo is justified in the way he reacted
to Awujale ’ s ( allegations against Obasanjo in
his ) book. His letter published by the media is
appropriate because the falsehood in
Awujale ’ s book was also published in a book .
Obasanjo acted in good faith to assist
Globacom Chairman , Mike Adenuga , to secure
a telecommunication licence, including the
second national carrier (access to the
international gateway ) . He also advised the
Nigeria Communication Commission to allow
the successful bidders to pay a deposit if they
could not pay the entire amount immediately
in order to encourage local and indigenous
operators . He does not deserve the sort of
accusation (the Awujale levelled against him ) .
It is false and falsehood will infuriate anyone .

Don ’ t you think Obasanjo should have met with the
monarch privately to resolve the issue ?

I disagree with that . Why should he do that?
Obasanjo could not have met with the Awujale
to discuss the matter because the Awujale did
not reach out to him before publishing such
distorted information . If the Awujale needed
any clarification on the issue , he could have
reached out to Obasanjo before writing about
a matter which portrays an elder statesman of
Obasanjo ’ s pedigree in a negative manner . His
( Awujale ’ s ) narrative, therefore , appears
mischievous .

How do you think Obasanjo’ s letter will affect the
respect people have for the Awujale and other
Yoruba monarchs ?

Monarchs nationwide are sometimes involved
in one controversy or another .

Open letters
are not novel because they are the less
cumbersome and independent option available
to us in Nigeria for protesting any issue ; be it
injustice , libel or misrepresentation of facts.
The public will realise that the monarch did
not get his facts correctly and should not have
published such when he had no facts. A
monarch is not supposed to put himself in
such a controversial position . He is supposed
to be an independent adjudicator at all times
and investigate matters deeply before making
any pronouncement . He is expected to be a
promoter of peace and not discord . Above all ,
he is seen as a role model for all .

Do you think the Awujale should apologise to
Obasanjo ?

Definitely ; the Awujale ought to apologise to
Obasanjo through a formal statement which
should be published in the national dailies or
his books should be withdrawn from
circulation willingly or through a court order .
This will serve as a deterrent to those who
plan to engage in such acts of blackmail to
ridicule statesmen. Also , Adenuga should
reach out to Awujale to ensure effective
damage control immediately or another can of
worms may be opened .

Do you think Obasanjo had a hand in the case
brought against Globacom Chairman , Mike
Adenuga , by the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission as claimed by the Awujale ?

Obasanjo established the EFCC because there
had to be an institution to check the menace
of corruption and impunity in this country. It
was a step in the right direction influenced by
pressure from the international community
and conventions to which Nigeria is a
signatory. A few of Obasanjo ’ s friends were
victims of the EFCC and Obasanjo did not
intervene in their matters because he would
be undermining the objectives of the
institution he set up . If Adenuga obtained the
telecommunications licence without any
financial crime, then the EFCC would have no
reason to investigate him . Obasanjo should not
be expected to use his position as the
president of a country to prevent the
institution he established from carrying out its
legal responsibilities and duties as stipulated
in the enabling act .

How true is the Awujale ’ s claim that Obasanjo ’ s
rift with former Vice President Atiku was the
reason the EFCC went after Adenuga at that time?

Obasanjo could not have instructed the EFCC
to go after Adenuga . That is false. Adenuga is
his kinsman and he supported him to get the
licence for his telecommunications firm . If
Adenuga had financial challenges which
resulted in some questionable actions that the
EFCC considered worth investigating , it is not
Obasanjo ’ s call and he must also not be seen
as preventing the EFCC from doing its job .

Obasanjo would then be accused by Nigerians
of helping his kinsman and it would set a bad
precedence for the anti – graft war he initiated .
What do you think was the intention of Oba
Adetona before writing the book ?

I wouldn ’ t know Awujale ’ s intention of writing
the book. Most renowned leaders who have
landmark achievements write their
autobiography so as to leave a legacy and a
reference book which will inspire other
generations to achieve greatness . In Nigeria ,
many people write autobiographies for
political relevance , recognition and power .
Some write to settle old scores or position
themselves for an aspiration . Only Awujale
knows the real reason he wrote the book. Dale
Carnegie said there are two reasons anybody
does anything – the one that sounds good and
the real reason .

What do you think Obasanjo is trying to achieve by
responding to a book written six years ago ?

Obasanjo was not aware of the autobiography
or its contents , as the book was not well
launched or reviewed publicly. It was not in
the public domain . It was when Obasanjo ’ s
attention was drawn to the contents of the
book recently that he realised he should
correct the misrepresentation and
manipulation of facts (therein ) . Obasanjo does
not waste time in reacting to such a distortion
once he is aware of it .

Should Obasanjo sue the king over the matter ?

No ; I wouldn ’ t advise Obasanjo to take
Awujale to court over the matter for now . We
always sue for peaceful and amicable
reconciliation of any issue where possible .
This is a matter that affects our sons in
Yorubaland and we should be able to resolve
it . Awujale should realise that he is a
traditional ruler in a small region in
Yorubaland while Obasanjo – a political leader
of the Yoruba people – has served his country
well as a military general , head of state , and a
civilian president of Nigeria for eight years
with notable achievements . Obasanjo is an
elder statesman and deserves the respect of all
Yoruba , including traditional rulers who are
subject to the constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria .

Do you agree with the advice that Yoruba Obas
should stay out of politics ?

Yes ; not just Yoruba Obas but all monarchs
nationwide should stay out of political issues .
They are not a recognised part of the
democratic institutions under the political
parties . If they want to play politics , they
should remove their traditional regalia and
join the bandwagon for a level playing field .
They are the traditional leaders of the people
within their constituencies and should remain
unbiased , fair , just and independent so as to
preside over community issues without fear ,
favour , and loyalty to any political leader or
cause . They should also refrain from
involvement in religious issues . Monarchs
must remain neutral in any situation so as to
earn the respect of the people .

What advice do you have for the Awujale ?

Awujale , in my opinion , should focus on his
responsibilities to the people of Ijebuland. He
should explore avenues to encourage
development of industries in Ijebu , which is
known to have produced great entrepreneurs
in Yorubaland and Nigeria . He should explore
ways to address unemployment , poverty ,
urban migration , development of farmlands
and rural farmers ’ empowerment. He should
ensure that firms carry out commendable
corporate social responsibility in Ogun State .
Awujale should try to alleviate the condition
of his people in Ijebu and address their
conflicts objectively towards reaching an
amicable resolution without bias . He should
also try, like a good ruler , to check his facts
properly on any issue no matter who is
involved .

More importantly , he should carry out
extensive consultations before taking any
action or pronouncement. He should avoid
sentimentalism and unwarranted arrogance .
Traditional rulers can be humble even in their
exalted position . He should also try to be less
impulsive as a ruler . Otherwise , he may find
himself in a multibillion – naira lawsuit one
day that would be most embarrassing to a
first – class monarch of his status .

It is said that Obasanjo does not enjoy much
respect in Yorubaland . Will you say the public spat
between him and Oba Adetona justifies that
assertion ?

It is most unfortunate that this (spat between
Obasanjo and the Awujale ) is happening .
Obasanjo deserves much more respect than he
is getting; not just in Yorubaland but generally
in consideration of how he has served this
nation commendably . It is not easy to govern
Nigerians . I believe it is the Nigerian factor
because we generally do not give our leaders
the respect they merit. You may say the same
for the late Musa Yar ’ Adua, Jonathan
Goodluck, as well as state governors . It is time
we enacted a law to protect our presidents
while in office and when out of office . These
statesmen sacrificed their time for the nation
and deserve to be revered regardless of their
faults . It is not a Yoruba issue . What concerns
us is that the Yoruba culture is known for the
respect it accords elders ; its respect for
humility , equity and fair play .
It is , therefore , sad that Obasanjo , who is a
role model for the Yoruba and an eminent
statesman for Nigeria and Africa , has to be
treated like this by a regional monarch who
ought to know better . Obasanjo is not just a
Yoruba elder but a former president and a
former head of state . He is respected all over
the world . A monarch should not attempt to
tarnish his (Obasanjo ) good reputation . He is a
pride to Yoruba, Nigerians and Africans .
Awujale should take heed now because he is
on the throne today and would not like
emerging leaders to tarnish his image . People
in glass houses shouldn’ t throw stones . The
nose is far from the forehead . Let us give
respect to those who deserve it .