Soun Throne And The Allegory Of Esinkesin By Femi OGUNLANA

Yoruba ancestors are repository of wisdom and knowledge; they gave us many anecdotes depicting everyday occurrences, and are remarkable for their proverbs and wise sayings, evident of their unusual way of conveying deeper meanings of events; they draw equivalence with familiar and random incidents. When such are subject to insightful analysis, one sees parallels with unfolding (or unfolded) scenarios. One of such is “Bi eniyan ba pe lori imi, esinkesin ma n bayan mbe.” Translated: “If one tarries unduly over (open) defecation, hideous flies perch on one.” In real life, this is what really transpires, fecal dropping is a magnet to tsetse flies and so the longer one lingers over one’s mess the greater the odds of pulling more of these flies their number getting swelled by annoying hideous flies, which constitute nuisance. The moral entwined therein is to dispense quickly with matters of great importance while eschewing frittering away time for untoward exacerbation lurks in the corner just like hideous flies swarm over the one drawn out over stool.

Consequently, I want to draw a parallel with the matter of the filling of the vacant throne of Soun of Ogbomosoland. It is almost two months now that the kingmakers statutorily conferred with the task of selecting a new Oba have presented the name of their choice to the state government. But since, nothing has been heard. One is not unaware of the series of protests against the choice of the kingmakers but in all generations ascension to the throne especially one that is as prestigious as that of Soun is always enmeshed in uproar; the path to the throne is always strewn with disputes. So, it is not unexpected, what however is expected is for the arbitrator – the authority – to determine whether the laws, customs and traditions guiding the emergence of a new Oba were in any way violated. Many are the reasons adduced by the rivals of the Prince presented by the kingmakers on the bases of which his disapproval is sought from the governor but what I think the governor should have done is to holistically review the grounds advanced for his disqualification and make his decision known in earnest. What to dictate the way forward should have included issues such as whether the king-elect (chosen by the kingmakers) is a bonafide member (male line) of the ruling house whose turn it is to produce the next king, that is Laoye Ruling House; whether he is eligible viz-a-viz the chieftaincy laws; whether he passed through the scrutiny of the kingmakers; whether the procedure adopted by the kingmakers is in conformity with the law; does the law mandate consultation with Ifa before the selection is done? Does the law state there must be rotation among the branches within a ruling house? Does the law make it obligatory that religion factor should be prerequisite in the selection? Did the kingmakers usurp the role of the ruling house in the process? Did the kingmakers form a quorum? A kingmaker who isn’t recognized by government does he have the power of franchise? What is the position of the law on the event of the death of a kingmaker during the process of choosing another Oba? Who has the power to screen aspirants – family or kingmakers? Must a poor or rich prince emerge? These are some important factors that I think should steer government in making its decision – whether the process actually kowtows to laid down rules! Strong leaders in taking a position seek the truth and allow themselves to be guided by the truth alone. Pandering hither thither isn’t a characteristic of good leadership. It is like a devil’s alternative, whatever option is chosen, backlash is suffered; what will mitigate the effect against the leader is having been propelled by the truth.

Holding up indefinitely over a matter sufficiently ensconced within the purview of law is tantamount to inviting hideous flies. Obviously, these have been swarming grotesquely, manifesting in series of threats whose other word is blackmail against the governor; the Ajanlekoko episode – a breach of the security and sacredness of the palace and his flippant demand that he be crowned the new Soun forthwith; patronizing the governor and so on. Unless the governor acts swiftly and decisively, more esinkesins will perch on every one related to this matter including him. The longer the matter drags the longer it festers, thus, the earlier it is resolved the better for all. The Biblical account of King Solomon in which two women disputed the maternity of a child is apposite here. To decide the matter, King Solomon ordered the child be cut in half and shared between the two; unbearable to the true mother that her child be slain in such gruesome manner she renounced her claim, willing rather to give it up for her child to be alive whereas the other quickly embraced the idea inadvertently betraying her perfidy and so the king declared the former as the true mother. I hope His Excellency will take a cue from this.

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