Obasanjo who was accompanied by other prominent personalities dressed in his Yoruba regalia, prostrated for the Ooni as a sign of respect.
While some of those present during the visit expressed surprise at chief Obasanjo’s posturing, others applauded and hailed the former president.
Social Perception And Politics:
Politics is the management of interest. Politics is the art of influence. It is about a centre of influence and the size of the sphere of influence that centre of influence sustains.
“Social perception (or person perception) is the study of how people form impressions of and make inferences about other people as sovereign personalities.
People learn about others’ feelings and emotions by picking up information they gather from physical appearance, verbal, and nonverbal communication. Facial expressions, the tone of voice, hand gestures, and body position or movement are just a few examples of ways people communicate without words.
Put together, what social perception has Sowore as a “centre of influence” created for himself with respect to the sphere of influence of the Ooni he seeks to access, with his presidential ambition in mind?
The answer is in the negative.
Bayo Oluwasanmi And The Event At The Palace:
“Sowore bowed instead of prostrating. I was at the event. We got there around 11:48 am with Omoyele Sowore billed to see Ooni by 12 pm. We waited patiently until 3 pm when the Ooni appeared. Sowore bowed instead of prostrating. When he was given the microphone to talk, Sowore said:
‘“I am a cultured Yoruba man and I know that when you come to palace, you prostrate to greet the king. Kabiyesi, me and members of this movement are upset that you kept us waiting for three hours.
“Kabiyesi, you came to the USA for a program and you entered the venue at the time you were expected to be there. Does that mean you respect or value people that are over there?
However, Kabiyesi, permit me to tender three prostrations, one for you Kabiyesi, one for the Chiefs, and the last one for the people of Ife.”’
“As we prostrated, someone released tear gas on us and we started coughing. After we were tear-gassed inside the palace and could not breathe, we left the hall to catch some fresh air only to be confronted by a bunch of thugs within the palace ground. They savagely beat us.
“The Ooni wanted to curse the person who did it, he said the person embarrassed him, that’s the first time such a thing is happening at the palace. Then, the Ooni apologized to us for being tear-gassed and attacked by thugs. That’s what transpired.” Bayo Oluwasanmi’s account on Sahara Reporters.
1: Sowore bowed instead of prostrating as the Ooni entered.
That blunder in a moment by Sowore, has become a tactical, strategic and grand strategic threat, to his presidential ambition, because bowing instead of prostrating, is the “centre of influence” (kindly see part 1) that has the capacity of turning the vast sphere of influence of the Ooni against the presidential ambition of Sowore.
When the sphere of influence of the Ooni is quantified in numbers and amplified by Sowore’s political presidential rivals as black propaganda, it could have a potentially disastrous ballot box consequence on Sowore.
2: His line: “Kabiyesi, you came to the USA for a program and you entered the venue at the time you were expected to be there. Does that mean you respect or value people that are over there?” amounts to rebuking the Ooni in the public domain of his palace while seeking his endorsement, this is:
1. Disrespectful to the institution the monarch represents.
2. Disrespectful to the man.
3. Politically immature.
5. A gross tactical and strategic blunder.
6. An act of vote implosion
The tactful, strategic, respectful and procedural thing to have done, would have been to seek a few private one on one minutes with the Ooni beyond the hearing reach of every other person, just to tell him: “Kabiyesi, you came to the USA for a program and you entered the venue at the time you were expected to be there. Does that mean you respect or value people that are over there?”
By this submission, it shows the Ooni is a time-conscious person and the tact of a private one on one with the respected monarch, would have provided a valid explanation, which Sowore, would have used to his political advantage.
Ooni The Custodian Of Culture
“Sowore really shot himself in the leg with this arrogance……Do you understand Yoruba culture Ooni is not just a king, but the custodian of Yoruba culture and tradition……no one can win the heart of people by fighting or disrespecting their king at-least not in Yoruba land I know and even in some other country that I have been too,” wrote an author on another online media.
Disrespect: The Assassin Of Sphere Of Influence In Politics
Disrespect is a morbid political destination, that has many roads leading to it, Akintola took one, Sowore invented the other and so did Donald Trump.
In a culture where respect is king, disrespect to the custodian of that culture (by a member of it) is everything from a tactical, strategic and grand strategic blunder with grave political implications and repercussions, that can bury the political intents of the one that is disrespectful in a deep political grave, considering the sphere of influence of the Ooni.
On March 1, 2017, Liz Plank in her Vox.com article, reported the following:
“After mocking a disabled reporter during his presidential campaign (twice), which, according to one poll, people considered one of the most inexcusable acts over the course of his entire campaign, Trump has angered some disability advocates by using a woman with a disability, Megan Crowley, as a vehicle to justify his stance on loosening regulation on the Food and Drug Administration. Crowley who had the rare illness Pompe disease was saved by an innovative treatment created by a company her father launched in 1999.”
Trump’s disrespect for the disabled, was the “centre of influence” that must have mobilized the entire sphere of influence of the disabled voting segment against him, playing a part in his loss of the popular vote, only to be saved by the electoral college.
Sowore should understand that the electoral college system that changed the paradigm in favour of Trump in America, is not available to him in Nigeria and that Tinubu, in the face the provocative action by Obasanjo who withheld his allocation was conscious not to fall into the trap of disrespect.
Sowore should understand that if he, as the elected president of Nigeria, had a meeting with Putin, the powerful Russian leader with an equally powerful reputation of not keeping to time, would he have questioned Putin if he had turned up late as usual, a man from whom he probably would want to purchase military equipment to fight the Fulani herdsmen? Would he dare say that to Putin?
Tom Batchelor, in his Tuesday 3 January 2017, story in the independent titled: “Why is Vladimir Putin so late for meetings with world leaders?” provided the following details:
“In 2014 the Russian President kept Angela Merkel waiting more than four hours.
The Russian President kept the Queen waiting for 14 minutes before their meeting in 2003……The Russian leader has earned a reputation for keeping other world leaders waiting, and even royalty and the Pope can’t force the Kremlin chief to stick to a tight timetable……”
Data compiled by Statista for The Independent shows how on one occasion in 2014 the Russian President kept his German counterpart Angela Merkel waiting for four hours and 15 minutes.
Disrespect to a “centre of influence” that commands a massive sphere of influence is a dangerous and suicidal political risk.
Sowore! A Disrespectful Reminder Of Akintola’s Script Of Disrespect To An Ooni?
Olanrewaju Onigegewura’s account:
“He (Akintola) then called on the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, to remove Sir Adesoji Aderemi as the Governor,” Olanrewaju Onigegewura.
Akintola’s decision to call on Balewa the Prime Minister to remove the Governor, who doubled as the Ooni, was disrespectful to the person of the monarch and by extension the sphere of influence he controlled as the Ooni, with the potential of bringing the man and the institution to public ridicule.
Olanrewaju Onigegewura, in his Thursday, 7 September 2017 account, titled Two Premiers and a Governor: The Story of the Battle for the Premiership of Western Region By Onigegewura captured it this way:
“The motion for the premier to resign was carried by 81 to 29! The meeting had lasted for 11 straight hours! The party leadership waited patiently for Akintola’s letter of resignation. No letter was forthcoming.”
“He requested two of the most brilliant legal minds in the region to prepare a legal advisory for the Party. Chief Rotimi Williams, the Legal Adviser of Action Group and Mr. S. O. Ighodaro, the Attorney General of the Western Region accepted the assignment.
“The two legal giants spent sleepless nights consulting books of laws from various jurisdictions. The contentious provision itself was simply worded. It was the proviso to section 33(10) of the Constitution of Western Nigeria which provides that:
“The Governor shall not remove the Premier from office unless it appears to him that the Premier no longer commands the support of a majority of the members of the House of Assembly.
“Based on the signatures of 66 members out of 112 as contained in the form forwarded to the King, it then appeared to the Governor that the Premier no longer commanded the support of a majority of the members of the House of Assembly. The Governor exercised his constitutional power!
“Sir Adesoji Aderemi removed Chief Ladoke Akintola as the Premier!…..
“When he was served with a letter from the Governor removing him from office. The Premier who had just been removed as the premier did three things immediately he finished reading the letter. He called a Press Conference to inform the world that he was still the premier.
“He then called on the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, to remove Sir Adesoji Aderemi as the Governor.
“Finally, he filed an action in court to restrain the Governor from removing him from office.
……After exhaustive deliberations, My Lord Justice Adetokunbo Ademola held that the Governor exceeded this constitutional powers.
“According to His Lordship: “The Governor cannot validly exercise power to remove the Premier from office except in consequence of proceedings on the floor of the House.
……Alhaji Adegbenro appealed to the Privy Council in London.
“On May 27, 1963, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council delivered its judgment. Five Lord Justices heard the appeal which had come all the way from the Federal Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“The Council held that Oba Adesoji Aderemi exercised his power to remove Akintola constitutionally!
“However, on the same day, the Western House of Assembly amended its constitution… the decision of both the Supreme Court and the Privy Council was based on the proviso to section 33 (10) which Onigegewura had quoted above.
“Minutes after the Privy Council had announced its decision, the provision was amended by adding the following phrase: “…in consequence of the passing of a resolution in the House of Assembly by a majority of the members of that House”.
“That’s not all. The amendment was also backdated by three years. It was deemed to have taken effect from October 1960!
I hope you are not becoming confused with the legal theatrics.
“In other words, the decision of the Governor taken in 1962 was now null and void because it was not in consequence of the passing of a resolution in the House of Assembly by a majority of the members of that House! The decision of the Privy Council delivered in 1963 was also of no legal effect.
“The long and short of it is that Chief Akintola had never been removed as the Premier! Legally speaking!
“Adegbenro had scored his goal in London. Unfortunately, the goal post had been moved in Ibadan,” stated Onigegewura in that wonderful piece.
…to be continued.
An opinion piece by Amaso Jack. Jack is a political strategist and analyst, he lectures at Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos State.