Meeting of Prince Charles with Nigerian Traditional Rulers Sparks Debate

Meeting of Prince Charles with Nigerian Traditional Rulers Sparks Debate

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 4:40 pm

Prince Charles and Nigerian traditional rulers


Ademola Adegbamigbe

Their Union Jack-bearing Boeing 737 Royal Aircraft landed at the Presidential Wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at exactly 1.25pm on Tuesday. In its belly were Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, the next in line to British throne, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. They were in Nigeria on a three-day business and cultural tour. FCT Minister Malam, Muhammad Musa Bello, and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hajia Khadijah Bukar Abba, received the couple after which the guests were received by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House where they met behind-closed doors. British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, said with eclat that the British royals would visit Lagos for a meeting with the business community before returning to Abuja for a number of other engagements.

In his words: “It’s about the link, it’s about the historic ties between Nigeria and UK. We are looking for ways in which we can mediate to bring reconciliation in the middle belt of Nigeria. This is so important as the conflict is not a religious one and not a conflict between Christians and Muslims.”

In April, Commonwealth leaders, after returning from a retreat hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle, formally announced Prince Charles as head of the organisation. They said: “We recognise the role of the Queen in championing the Commonwealth and its peoples. The next head of the Commonwealth shall be his Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.”

However, the visit of the Prince, especially, his meeting with the royal fathers in Nigeria has been generating heat.

Ebun Olu Adegboruwa, a lawyer waved it off as a “Cultural Disaster In Abuja,” saying Charles is still a Prince, as of today. “All royal fathers were summoned to Abuja to meet with him. It should be the other way round. Obas, Obis, Emirs and Kings are to be honoured in their kingdoms and domains, and not to be lined up in Abuja to meet foreign visitors.”

Even at that, since there is no particular order of hierarchy for royal fathers in Nigeria, Adegboruwa argued that a round table sitting arrangement would have been better than this “pupil arrangement of sitting very revered and respected royal fathers like people seated for examinations,” adding that the “desperation for recognition and endorsement as 2019 approaches may backfire, if not properly handled. Our royal fathers should preserve the honour and dignity of their thrones.

“I remember that the immediate past Oba of Benin dignified his office and refused to pay any visit to Abuja for whatever reason. It was his courage and boldness that caused the Jonathan regime to hurriedly effect the reconstruction of the Benin-Ore Expressway. We need leaders like him in our present day Nigeria.”

Also, Professor Pius Adsanmi, Director at The Institute of African Studies (IAS) at Carleton University, Canada, argued asked where would they (Nigerian roayal fathers) have sat if they were hosting his (Prince Charle’s ) mother? On the floor? “Well, maybe the sitting arrangement is determined by the length of one’s titles. The white man has the longest titles: His Royal Highness Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB, OM, AK, QSO, CC, PC, ADC, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland,” Adesanmi added.

The Jidé Taiwo said on Twitter: “So traditional rulers in Nigeria, including some of the most respected thrones ie Ooni of Ife and the Emir of Kano, left their kingdoms to go greet the visiting Prince Charles – the 70 year old arole who is still waiting to become king? Wonderful.

Moreover, Ena Ofugara submitted that those who condemn this picture of Prince Charles sitting aHEAD (a HEAD get it?) of our local Kings have no sense of history. Ofugara continued: “These African kings, many of them are not the true Kings of their people… or at least not their families. These people you see are the ones who rode to power on the back of the support of the invading white man/ COLONIZER (if you are a Wakanda fan like me). Prince Charles forebears gave the scepters to the forefathers of these Kings.

“The stubborn Kings like Jaja of Opobo, Oba Ovueramwen, Erumagborie (Uvwie-Urhobo) and strong Chief like Nana of Itsekiri etc etc were either murdered or deposed or stools reduced to that of Chief priest to make way for “administrators” who later on became “Kings”. This is some of the reasons there is so much court cases over who should be King. Now not that there weren’t always battle for Kingship in precolonial Africa, but the colonialists and their choices of Kings and usurping of the powers of the original Kings have made it worse.

“So NO. Do not let this picture bother you too much. Prince Charles comes in the name of the Queen. He is her blood and the man who will be King. This “white spirit” and his people with their gunboat allowed the fathers of these Kings stay as Kings with their indirect rule. Gratitude is a virtue. After all they are the CUSTODIANS OF OUR TRADITION … tradition of OYIBO IS KING. Long live the Queen and her son, soon to be King.”

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