The ancient city of Saki was agog recently when a seemingly unusual event occurred in the kingdom; unusual in the sense it was the first of its kind ever in the history of Saki Kingdom to honour non-indigenes with honourary traditional chieftaincy titles.
The Okere of Sakiland, His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Khalid Oyeniyi Olabisi Oyedepo III in his wisdom deemed it fit to honour the recipients
in conformity with the ‘omoluabi’ trait of the Yoruba people in acknowledging, and appreciating good deeds and gestures of people who love Saki and the Yoruba race, irrespective of who or where they hail from. Two eminent Nigerians were, thus, honoured by the monarch and people of Saki kingdom for their love, service and contributions to the development of Saki in particular and Yoruba nation as a whole.
Nigerian Ambassador to the Benin Republic, General Tukur Buratai (Rtd) who is the former Chief of Army Staff was honoured with the title of Jagunmolu of Saki Kingdom, and Lieutenant General Lamidi Adeosun was honoured with the title of Akinrogun of Saki Kingdom.
However, this landmark event has been grossly misunderstood in some quarters by people who seem to have reservations about this gesture, particularly the conferment of Jagunmolu of Saki Kingdom on the Kanuri-born General Buratai. It is for this reason that the Saki Royal Palace, in acknowledgment of these concerns deem it fit and appropriate to set the records straight and correct the misconceptions in the public domain.
Setting the records straight, it must be frankly stated that the reservations expressed is borne out of ignorance of historical facts, and a lack of understanding of the ‘omoluabi’ culture of the Yoruba.
Historically, there is a strong affinity between the Kanuri people of the North East and Yoruba of the South West right from pre-colonial era to date, which necessitated strong ties of family, career and business between people of the two nations. While some refer to oral tradition which has it that Yoruba and Kanuri were cousins, others point to the similarity of culture.
Also, the Okere of Saki is the paramount ruler of Oke Ogun, whose territory spread beyond the geographic boundary of Nigeria to some town and villages within Benin Republic where Ambassador Burantai is representing Nigeria as head of his mission with many of his subjects spread across west African sub region.
This is, however, normal when a reason to an action is not sought before a reaction is given. The acclaimed stranger to the land was not, by status, bestowed the title but rather on the ground of actualizing dreams that were long time hanging in the mind of Saki dwellers. Saki had, for long, been yearning the face of Federal Government on different projects, yet it seemed the mouths praying are not enough until the mouth of Col. Gbenga Adegbola opened widely to solicit the help of Lt. General Tukir Yusuf Buratai on projects.
This effort brought about the establishment of the Command Science Secondary School in Saki, which is, no doubt, one of its kind in the whole of Oyo State.
Likewise, on the same effect was the initiation of special water system for Saki people at Saki city hall and with the palace of Okere, which is undoubtedly a long dream actualised through the influence of these personalities in question. Should we say we are ungrateful for this course or the projects are not worth the hands of appreciation?
However, what is undeniably factual is the bond occasioned by business, career and marriage ties. Most especially politics the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo strong political ties with North East that gave his Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) upper hand in 1979 election which later transformed to the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in the era of Mala Kachalla and now the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Tinubu, Senator Shettima and Executive governor Babagana Zulum
For instance, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, a Kanuri-born diplomat and politician is married to a Yoruba woman, and has ties with many Yoruba illustrious sons via his career in public service and politics. Just as Ambassador Buratai’s military career has enabled ties with many from all walks of life, including Many Yorubas and traditional rulers
This bond has engendered a mutually beneficial relationship that contributed to Saki’s development through personal efforts and sacrifices of General Buratai Rtd. It is in recognition of these contributions that the Okere Saki and his people decided to honour a man whose landmark projects are visible in Saki and beyond, in appreciation of his numerous contributions to the kingdom.
Yoruba people have a culture of appreciating good deeds and gestures of people irrespective of race or colour; this is in tandem with the omoluabi trait in our people. The unity of this country should be of paramount concern to all, and one way of fostering our unity is to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate our living heroes, in spite of their nativity.
To the Okere of Saki and his people, General Buratai is a son in whom they are well pleased.