The traditional rulers summit which took place in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, last Tuesday, was almost marred by an unpleasant confrontation between the Oluwo of Iwo, King Akanbi, and the Chief Securiy Officer (CSO) to the Ooni of Ife, King Ogunwusi.
The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Adewale Akanbi, alleged that the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, ordered his CSO to push him out of the way during the meeting. He made the allegation in a statement on Friday.
It was gathered that the Ooni of Ife had just finished giving a vote of thanks, and was on his way back to his seat when his CSO, Olawale Kolawole, had a brush with the Oluwo, who appeared to be blocking the Ooni from accessing his seat.
The Oluwo, it was learnt, was by then discussing with the Minister of Interior, Lt Gen. Abdurahman Dambazzau. It was alleged that the CSO out of overzealousness, threatened to push the monarch if he did not give way for Ooni to pass.
He was said to have ignored Oba Akanbi’s entreaties to “take it easy” and pushed him out of the way. A visibly embarrassed Oluwo, had to step aside to pave way for Ooni to get to his seat, a source said.
Oluwo’s statement read in part, “Dignitaries at the event were taken aback by what they considered as a desecration of the crown as the bodyguard of the Ooni pushed a first-class paramount ruler, Oluwo.
The monarch excused himself in order to maintain peace. The Ooni was observing and he felt satisfied with the action of his guard.” But the Ooni, while reacting to the allegation in a statement issued by his Director of Public Affairs, Moses Olafare, described the claims of the Oluwo as untrue.
The security detail concerned, Kolawole, admitted in a telephone interview that the had an encounter with the monarch in the course of discharging his legitimate duty and maintained that he had a duty to secure his principal.
He said: “I didn’t expect the Oluwo to stand there because his seat was not there. So, I only excused and asked him to move away from there. I didn’t push him as alleged.”