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A Chieftain of Afenifere and Former Chairman Advisory committee on Confab , Dr. Femi Okurounmu has described some traditional rulers as betrayal of their lands .
Okurounmu said the slave trade thrived because some selfish Yoruba traditional rulers promoted it .
The Senator who represented Ogun Central in 1999 ,said the institution of traditional rulers in Yorubaland does not have a good record in history .
Okurounmu said this in an interview granted THE PUNCH but extracted by PLATFORM TIMES .
While reacting to the silence of traditional rulers in Yorubaland over the fate of Yourba nation agitator , Sunday Adeyemo ,also known as Sunday Igboho ,Okurounmu said ” when it comes to traditional rulers, I will not be surprised if traditional rulers are silent.
” You should know the history of traditional rulers in Yorubaland. A number of them are very good personalities.
“But the institution of traditional rulers in Yorubaland does not have a good record in history. So, when I criticise the institution of traditional rulers, I’m not criticising any particular Oba.
” But if you look at Yoruba history, the traditional rulers have never been in defence of Yoruba people.
“They’ve never aligned their interest with the interest of the masses of the Yoruba people. One of the greatest tragedies that ever befell us is the slave trade.
” I’m sure you know the role played by traditional rulers during the slave trade.
” The white man did not go with his gun to the villages to capture slaves, most of the slave trade were organised by traditional rulers to get people to go and sell as products.
“They saw them as marketable products which they could exchange with the white man for things like Whiskey and so on.
“So, when we blame the white man for the slave trade as we should, the greater blame lies on our traditional rulers, who actually profited from it and encouraged it and even many of them, when the benevolent white people wanted to stop it, many of them even opposed the stopping of the slave trade, because they were already benefiting from it. That is going very far back in history.
” Even, in recent memory during the Sani Abacha period, when he was terrorising Yorubaland, very few Yoruba Obas supported the Yoruba forum. A lot of them went with Abacha. When NADECO said we should boycott the Abacha proposed constitutional conference because the conditions were not satisfied, the traditional rulers had a meeting, Abacha sent people to address them and many of them began to support Abacha.
” So, we have to campaign not only against Abacha but, even against our own traditional rulers, to ask people to boycott the elections that had been put together by Abacha. So, when Gen. Oladiya was having problem with Abacha, as soon as Abacha told them that he had confessed that he planned to carry out a coup, many traditional rulers bought Abacha’s story and did not bother to give Diya benefit of the doubt.
“So, fear is another factor and when your hands are not clean, you cannot speak out. So, these are some of the reasons why some of our traditional rulers are basically silent.,”