Ekiti state monarchs have threatened to invoke traditional methods including the Yoruba gods against kidnappers who are terrorising the state.
The hoodlums, who hitherto operated in the North-West, have in the past weeks laid siege to the South-West where they have unleashed havoc on residents.
On Monday, they killed two Ekiti monarchs-the Onimojo of Imojo, Oba Olatunde Olusola, and the Elesun of Esun Ekiti, Oba Babatunde Ogunsakin, while the Alara of Ara Ekiti, Oba Adebayo Fatoba, narrowly escaped.
The traditional rulers were returning from a function in Kogi State on Monday when they ran into an ambush mounted by the kidnappers who were operating on the highway between Ipao and Oke Ako in the Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Also in the same area, kidnappers attacked a school bus and whisked away five pupils of the Apostolic Faith Group of Schools, three teachers, and the bus driver.
Speaking on the security issue, the Chairman of Ekiti State Traditional Council and the Olojudo of Ido Ekiti, Oba Ayorinde Ilori-Faboro, told The PUNCH on Wednesday, that monarchs in the state would embrace all methods to find a solution to the security crisis in the state.
Oba Faboro, who said the council would not disclose the tactics to be deployed by the traditional council, assured that in no time, the problem of insecurity would be history in the state.
The traditional ruler spoke in a chat with The PUNCH shortly after an emergency meeting that the state governor, Biodun Oyebanji, held with all monarchs in the state and security chiefs to enable the obas advice on the way forward.
The oba said, “Any solution is acceptable, we will approach our problem with every possible solution.’’
A former chairman of the traditional council and the Owa Ooye of Okemesi Ekiti, Oba Michael Adedeji, said that there was no alternative to the embrace of traditional methods by the monarchs to ensure peace and order.
Oba Adedeji said, “That was among our discussions during the meeting with the governor and security chiefs in Ado Ekiti today. The issue of the traditional methods was what I raised during the meeting.
“There was a way our forefathers did things in their days and had it the way they had it. The recent developments have shown that we need to toe that line. And many of my colleagues bought into that.
“The traditional council set up a committee that would meet Mr governor on what we want and how we want it, I am on the committee and the issue of traditional solution is among the things we are going to discuss with the governor.’’
“The government has to empower the traditional rulers to do all they want to secure their communities. This will include local security and fortification,” the monarch further stated.
The Onikun of Ikun Ekiti, Oba Olatunde David Olusola, who corroborated Oba Adedeji, on the return to alternative traditional solution, said, “The security of our people is our responsibility as grassroots leaders. If Obas are being killed like chickens, I don’t think we can accept such a situation.
“This can be done by embracing the traditional and all other methods possible to avert any causality and to make sure there is peace in Ekiti State. We will use any method possible to ensure peace in Ekiti, we are not cowards. Enough is enough,” Oba Olusola added.
Speaking further, the royal father explained, “We had a meeting with Mr Governor today (yesterday). Aside from the meeting, the obas met and dwelt so much on the traditional aspect. We agreed that a lot of potency has been lost.
“As a matter of fact, in the past, this (assault and killing of monarchs) could not have happened, because no oba would get to the throne without passing through the necessary traditional rites. The traditional rites would have emboldened and empowered every oba that got to the stool.’’
Also speaking, the Olukere of Odo Oja Ikere Ekiti, Oba Ganiyu Obasoyin, who described the killing of two traditional rulers as a sacrilege, said, “It is an abomination to kill traditional rulers as it happened on Monday. We have to appease the gods that such calamity should not befall us again.
“In the olden days, you hardly see a king much more thinking of kidnapping him. People feared kings then. All kings in Yoruba from time immemorial had what their forefathers used to organize towns, soothe the towns, and ensure peace and tranquillity when there was no Christianity and Islamic religions.’’
Speaking further, the Oba lamented the abandonment of the traditional coronation rites for kings, saying, “Now, nearly 80 per cent of our kings have abandoned all these, they had embraced foreign religions. That is why those things that would never happen in those days are happening now.
“I support wholly that we should retrace our steps. From the position where the obas are placed now, it is the kings that God handed the world over to. Politicians have retrieved all the powers of the kings.’’
Also speaking in a chat, an Isese practitioner and the Awise Awo of Ado Ekiti, Chief Dauda Lawal, said that the killing of two monarchs in such a manner was sad, blaming the infiltration of foreign religions for a lot of crises being experienced.
The Awise said, “In the olden days, traditional rulers, particularly Yoruba monarchs, were dreadful, but nowadays, the infiltration of religion has changed the situation. They have forgotten that Abalaye (African traditional religion) is a religion as well.’’
On his part, the Olowo of Owo Kingdom in Ondo State, Oba Ajibade Ogunoye said the solution to kidnapping and other criminalities in Nigeria should involve both the traditional and conventional methods.
Oba Ogunoye said that there was still potent traditional power that could be effective in the fight against kidnapping and other criminalities.
He said, “ For me, I think the fight against crimes and criminalities should be all-encompassing both traditional and conventional methods. We should put everything on the table. As we have powerful traditional means, so modern equipment too can go a long way in this area.’’
Similarly, a prominent traditional ruler in Osun State, Olowu of Kuta, Oba Adekunle Oyelude, and the renowned Ifa priest, Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon, have advised traditional rulers in South-West to embrace traditional means used by the progenitors of the race to protect themselves and their domains.
Oba Oyelude, who was responding to questions on the gruesome murder of two traditional rulers in Ekiti by suspected bandits, called on monarchs in the region to strengthen hunters in their various communities and use traditional means of protection to check insecurity.
Speaking in a similar vein, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, said the government should empower traditional rulers financially and saddle them with the task of providing security for their various communities.
Elebuibon on tradition
Also commenting on the security challenge, Elebuibon, who noted that the Yoruba people have strong traditional means of protection, said many monarchs have abandoned their culture and traditions, a development that has made them vulnerable to attacks.
He said, “We do have traditional means of protection in Yorubaland. It is just that the foreign religions that were embraced by Yoruba traditional rulers have rendered them powerless.
“Most of the monarchs did not go through the necessary rites and rituals, and therefore, they lacked the necessary protection like charms that could make someone disappear and reappear, charms that can free someone from clutches when held. They only rely on foreign religions for protection.
“A monarch should not be kidnapped anyhow like that if he is immune and he embraces traditional things. Before a king sets out on a journey, there are things he must do. He must be able to see ahead if it is a journey he should embark on. He must have a spiritual guardian, but they have abolished all that.
“Protection in this kind of circumstance we have found ourselves should be in three phases; The one you do for yourself to ensure you are fully protected against attacks. Secondly, protection is provided by the government for its citizens but now that government’s protection is unreliable, it calls for individual protection. People should get potent charms against gunshots, and machete attacks and protection against kidnapping. We should not rely on government protection again.”
The Yoruba Nation Activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, in a statement, urged the traditional rulers in the region to call a security stakeholders meeting, where measures would be fashioned out to tackle the killer herdsmen, bandits, and other criminal elements terrorising the region.
Adeyemo said he made attempts to reawaken the consciousness of the South-West people regarding the influx of bandits and other criminal elements into the region a few years back.
But rather than listening to his agitation for a better secured South- West state, Adeyemo said, “I became the object of elimination and vicious attack which led to the brutal killing of two of my aides in my residence in Ibadan.”
Odofin of Sonyindo, Sagamu, Oba Lasisi Gisanrin said that there was nothing wrong in going traditional ways to annihilate the rampaging kidnappers and bandits leaving blood and sorrow in their trail.
Speaking with one of our correspondents on Wednesday, Oba Gisanrin said “As the custodians of culture and tradition, I don’t think any royal fathers will not support going traditional ways to deal decisively with these criminals once it will prove effective.
“In the ‘90s, during the military era, we tried something like that in Sagamu and it worked. We sincerely need all the help to move against these hoodlums.”
The Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi, in a statement, on Wednesday by his spokesman, Moses Olafare, the Ooni described the incident as a sacrilegious audacity deliberately planned and executed
He stated, “This is a pure sacrilege and it is a deliberate display of criminal audacity to undermine the government’s security control capacity.
“This reprehensible act has not only robbed us of noble leaders but has also left a scar on the fabric of our unity and peaceful coexistence as a nation. The government must stop at nothing to ensure the perpetrators are arrested and made to face justice.
“We cannot continue like this. Several of our school children are still languishing in the undetected incarceration of these heartless terrorists. A party state chairman in Lagos State was a victim recently.’’