By Femi Salako
At the heart of the Yoruba Traditional System when it comes to the installation of Kings is the intricate and important roles of the Afobaje, otherwise known as kingmakers.
The Afobaje (king makers) had the traditional power to enthrone the king and may depose him if too tyrannical towards the people and if the community is not peaceful.
Their work surpasses more than just the installation of Kings in our traditional setting, they are also tasked with the duty of preserving the richness and values imbedded in Kingship in Yoruba land.
An ordinary man without the proper skill set, cultural heritage or awareness or the shared belief system of the communal living of the people has no place or right to ascend the throne of power; thus the work of the Afobaje is hinged on ensuring that the right royal materials are given the mantle to rule the people and also in cases whereby they violate the trust of the people, they also ensure that they are removed to preserve the system which is considered sacred.
While the new age realities might have diminished the relevance of the Afobaje within our socio-cultural settings, it’s very much with us as it has found its way into our socio-political setting with many people consciously and unconsciously performing the work of an Afobaje.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a two time former Governor of Lagos State, Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) is one who has conveniently played effortlessly the role of the Afobaje within our socio-political space.
From an ordinary State Governor in Nigeria, he has etched himself a place in our history books as one of the personality who has groomed and given power to men under him who has went on to lead various institutions across the 36 states of the Federation.
The Jagaban of Borgu has not only groomed men in governance and politics but have also strategically placed them in various sectors to preserve not just his legacies but also to ensure the spread of his political influence and power.
His top-ranking men include Professor Yemi Osinbajo, now the Vice President, who was his attorney general and commissioner for justice.
Rauf Aregbesola, the immediate past governor of Osun State, was Tinubu’s commissioner for works. Babatunde Fashola, his successor in Lagos State, was his chief of staff. He is presently a federal minister for a second term. Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who served as Tinubu’s first chief of staff, is also a federal minister for a second term.
Babatunde Fowler served in Tinubu’s administration as chairman of Lagos State Internal Revenue Service from where he proceeded to become executive chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State.Others include: Femi Gbajabiamila, present speaker, House of Reps, Akinwunmi Ambode, former governor of Lagos State, Sen. Solomon Adeola, Tunji Bello, Wale Edun, Bamidele Opeyemi, Gbenga Ashafa, Sen. Oshinowo, Sunday Dare, Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Adeleke Mamora, Minister of State for Health, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Adejoke Orelope-Adefilere, Kemi Nelson,Dele Alake, etc.
While the Jagaban of Borgu have succeeded in grooming and raising important men and women to strategically hold important roles within our socio-political space, unlike every other Afobaje in the pages of our shared historical discourse, he moves to pick the throne for himself.
Remember the likes of Obafemi Awolowo, Ladoke Akintola and a host of others who have played similar roles but failed to take the throne for themselves. The stage is now opened and the full glare of the people now rest on Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Afobaje in this discourse, the question on the lips of careful followers of our history, Can Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu break the Afobaje Jinx?.
Will fate and time be kind to him to re-write the history of Afobaje for once, of a truth, he has paid his dues, however will those groomed by him in the course of his existence as am Afobaje come to him and help him get his ultimate goal.
On the other hand, should he resign to his fate and embrace what history hold of him as a kingmaker, a brilliant one at that and pick from his already groomed legions to fill the Presidential seat come 2023.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Present Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and a host of others are worthy of the highly coveted office,the puzzle remain unsolved, it’s for time to fix.
Femi Salako is the publisher of Triangle News Media.