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AWUJALE

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THAT every man has a story to tell is a notorious fact. The Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba S.K. Adetona has now told his own in an autobiography, Awujale (275 pp) which was launched in Ijebu Ode on Saturday, June 26, 2010 to coincide with his 50th coronation anniversary. The Oba rejected a commissioned biography about ten years ago, saying “I knew it was not my story”. And then one night he had a dream, and “I saw the book, my book with the title and the various chapters, I woke up in the morning and I started to write the book. Here is the book”, the Awujale is quoted as saying. If this is a way of whetting the readers’ appetite, I think it is quite smart.

The Awujale of Ijebuland is one of those few obas in his category whose opinions are respected because they can be trusted to be forthright even when they are wrong. He gives the impression in this book that only he, and a few of his friends including the Oba of Benin, Erediauwa II, the Akija of Ikija, Oba Adekoya, and Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi III have demonstrated exemplary integrity in the face of pressures. This may be debatable but the truth is that since 1960 when the present Awujale ascended the throne of his forefathers, so much has happened to discredit the traditional institution.

Many traditional rulers have become notorious for their lack of decorum, victims of the politicization of the traditional institution, the collapse of values, and the transition from a tradition to modernity, and of course, their own hubris. As recently as last month, one oba in Akure, one fellow formerly known as the Deji of Akure, threw his crown into the gutter when he went to the home of an estranged wife to take the law into his own hands and behaved like a thug. There have been reports of traditional rulers who have been found to be patrons of armed robbery gangs, traditional rulers who were caught pants down with the wives of their subjects or were struck down by thunderbolt, what the Yorubas call magun, that is “don’t climb,” a traditional voodoo method of eliminating male adulterers. In his account, Oba Adetona offers additional instances of traditional rulers turning themselves into “boys” under military rule, and of the same so-called highnesses and royal majesties betraying their people in order to be accepted by the politicians or soldiers in power. Awujale is a strong defender of the traditional institution and its continuing relevance, and of the need to modernize it and for its principal figures to be upright.
You can read more about the review of this book from HERE
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