Oluwo of Iwo and the Trouncing of Tradition By Shalom Ibironke

It is no news that in recent times the Oluwo of Iwo has publicly aired his admiration and preference for the Emir-title. Despite being a prominent Oba, not just in Yoruba land, but in the entire Nation, He seems to be interested in a more Arabian, or Islamic title. The history of the Emir-title can be traced down to the Arab World. It is even believed to be one of the names or titles of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

As people of Iwo are largely believed to be descendants of Ile-Ife till they migrated sometime in the 14th century, the throne’s allegiance is supposedly faithful to the Ooni of Ife’s throne, or any other more superior throne in Yoruba land. For the Oba to openly trounce tradition and ask to be addressed as Emir, this could be the beginning of the end, end of tradition, or tenure. As both the tradition and the tenure of the monarch-in-charge must align for progress to set in. One must fall for the other.

Many reports have it that the Oba has adopted this title in furtherance of Islam in Iwo and all through Yoruba land, however, an even more superior Oba, HRH Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III is also committed to the consolidation of Islam in Nigeria, yet never has he taken such an action, or even openly prioritize a non-traditional religion over another. In the same vein, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi diligently remains within the cultural confines of Tradition despite being a Christian.

The first time a Yoruba city was ruled by an Emir it happened more like a regrettable error. When Aare Afonja, the then Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, invited strangers into his town, Ilorin, got killed by  strangers, and they became rulers over his people till date. This act has left Ilorin, a Yoruba speaking town, under the authority the Fulanis, with an Emir whose allegiances are forming the Sokoto Caliphate under the rulership of the Sultan. Despite efforts by neighbouring towns like Shao who have openly and officially thrown allegiance to the throne of Ife,  Ilorin remains in the hands of the Emirates. Senior thrones like Ife and Oyo, or even the government should step in to checkmate the Oluwo of Iwo. It is also expected that Iwo learns from the experience of this neighbouring towns, before she herself becomes an experience from which others learn. For as much as this might be an innocent gesture, traditions are trounced in the tinkle of an eye, and new ones are born that quickly! Yoruba E Ronu!



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