Mrs. Aisha Buhari attempts to shake Alaafin of Ọ̀yọ́’s hand. Èèwọ̀!
[Èèwọ̀ in Yoruba Language is close to, though could be worse than – ‘abomination’.
Aisha Buhari is introduced to HIM The Alaafin in the first photograph while she stretches her hand in an attempt to shake the Alaafin’s hand and naturally, she’s rebuffed.
Credit: Alaafin’s Facebook Page
For Non-Nigerian readers of this blog, a little explanation is in order.
British colonial masters did a lot of damage to traditional institutions that pre-dated their arrival on the shores of the land they would name Nigeria after its conquest which was forced on the Ọba (King )of Lagos, Dòsùmú through, first, what is now known as the cession of Lagos and later amalgamation. Nevertheless, those areas like Yorubaland and much of the North already had great institutions, traditional rulers that sat atop social and political systems.
To this day, despite British Indirect Rule that all but dismantled the institutions of traditional rulers: Ọbas in Yorubaland and Emirs in Northern Nigeria, and despite the loss of most powers of traditional rulers, especially since military rule, traditional rulers remain symbols to their peoplethat are highly acknowledged and many are well-respected.
State governors love to receive chieftaincy titles from Ọbas concerning whom these same political office holders have the final word on who ascends a throne after the demise of a previous Ọba! While it is true that British rule may have taken away quite some of traditional rulers’ power and, therefore, the imperiousness of top traditional rulers which can now see a governor punish an Ọbas or an Emir by placing them under house arrest or even depose them as late General Abacha did as president when he deposed the Emir of Sokoto, traditional rulers in most of Nigeria, including the East, remain respected even though some are loathed.
It was the general belief within and outside Northern Nigeria until the Abacha debasement of the Sultan of Sokoto, the first among all Northern Emirs, that Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki was untouchable by ANY political office holders. Many Nigerians believe, and this blogger agrees, that the evil General deposed Sultan Dasuki precisely because of that perceived invincibility. Dasuki – father of the self-entitled retired army officer embattled because of billions of dollars purportedly mishandled by him as National Security Adviser to former President Jonathan, became perhaps the first Sultan to be ever removed from office.
Today in Northern Nigeria more than Yorubaland and definitely more than other areas of the country, the Emirs, including those of villages which, in Yorubaland would be mere Baalẹ̀ – sort of elevated chiefs – are not only respected but feared.
The much-disputed 2006 census of Nigeria puts Daura LOCAL GOVERNMENT area’s population at 224,884, i.e. Daura town as well as other settlements in the local government area. I do not know Mrs. Buhari’s town but Daura is the hometown of President Buhari, a fact that gets mentioned here because anyone who is familiar with the North knows that as small as Daura is in comparison to many southern cities and towns, Mrs. Buhari would never offer her hand to Daura’s Emir, not to talk of Emir Sanusi of Kano. It would be a stretch to imagine her offering her hand to 60-year old Sultan Abubakar of Sokoto, and it definitely would not be because of the Islamic religion to which she and those rulers belong but it would have more to do with how they regard and treat their traditional rulers.
Two foremost Yoruba traditional rulers, (L to R), the new Ọọni – HIM Ọba Ogunwusi, Ọ̀jàja II and HIM, Alaafin of Ọyọ́, Ikú Baba Yèyé Ọba Adeyẹmi III. Nobody can offer hands to be shaken to either the 40-ish Ọ̀jàja II – he won’t take it, humble though he is, nor to the 77-year old Ikú Baba Yèyé!
I knew a retired army Lt. Colonel who, though junior to a Brigadier, was once greeted with deference in my presence. I was stunned, but he was a prince just as I can recall seeing the aides of an Emir whom I would later learn from an Abuja hotel front desk as the Emir of a small town, chase people from the hotel passage. I moved to a side, refusing to run as the aides attempted to make everybody at the passage do; they waited in vain until the Emir got out of his room and walked by.
The respect that Northerners give to their Emirs and other traditional rulers which must show in the way Mrs. Buhari acts when she appears in audience to traditional rulers from other areas, especially one as highly-placed and regarded as the Alaafin. I’m sure she knows that, and – permit me to say- it is arrogant and an insult to act as she did.
Aisha Buhari is a Nigerian, the wife of a politician, not a foreigner, and there’s no reason why the so-called ‘protocol’ staff, as being campaigned by some on social media, need to tell her what to do.
Elizabeth II, Queen of England … and Head of State of England, does not only tie a head scarf but she would take off her shoes to honor the tradition of areas she visits.
Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the Green Mosque in Turkey
Credit: Google Images
The Queen – head covered with a scarf and barefooted – and, perhaps, a Sheika in a Middle East mosque.
Credit: Google Images
Mrs. Buhari, if you would not respect traditional rulers of other areas the way you would back in the North, it would be better to stay away. I’m certain this opinion reflects that of millions of Yorubas.
The Alaafin deserves respect.
MONDAY, JUNE 27, 2016. 3:25 a.m. [GMT]