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Of King's Palace: The Wise One And the Tortoise

Spiritually too, the King must attain spartan wisdom and constitutes an initiate of both traditional and religious persuasion amidst the tradition and culture of his people

Late Olofa of Offa, Oba Mustapha Olawore Olanipekun, Anilelerin 

By Taiye Olaniyi

Entering an average Oba’s palace in the Yoruba land of old was entering where what and who questions arise.

The human mind must surely be agitated. Where is this and what should the palace connote to the average subject?

In my mouth then painted like Nigeria’s Green-White-Green, I used to ask what differentiates the Olofa from my own very wise father, and even at that age, my deviant attitudes would not admit any iota of the superiority of any prince over and above me as a subject.

Of course, I used to bombard my parents which made a King and the retinue of princes superior beings in society.

The King and princes emit candor, dignity, and respect by their subjects, they should ordinarily be respected more so if surrounded by wise ones from the whistle-blowers of communal history, the drummers, the wives or “Oloris” and those whose lineages ascend them in hierarchies of chiefs and title holders.

Spiritually too, the King must attain spartan wisdom and constitutes an initiate of both traditional and religious persuasion amidst the tradition and culture of his people.

In a superstitious society like ours, witches and wizards and initiates of other cults must be allies of the King.

In this wise, an average Yoruba King must be an all-rounder who is knowledgeable not only in history, and tradition but wise in decisions taken so, he is regarded next to deity because he epitomizes the yearnings and aspirations of the people.

The Kings of old benefited greatly also from the wise ones that they made to surround them, and collective decisions are taken or to be taken usually must have the fiat and stamp of the Kings.

Oloris in their case walked around in beautiful apparel, communing and relating with women folks taking care of the kitchens and other rooms of theirs, “you know”.

From traditional and modern perspectives, the Kings, Presidents, Governors Chairmen, and position holders in our society today seem only interested in the luxury of their offices, prosperity, and perquisites against the people-oriented development of their communities and spheres of influence.

Whistleblowers of today are gossipers, rumor mongers, and mere enjoyers of loot and siphoning of the commonwealth.

Princes and princesses, ladies of the realm and hierarchies of our advisers cling merely to chop, vulcanize their tummies, eat beyond what they could consume, and conserve for generations yet unborn.

Hmmm, our Kings in their assorted appellations revere only their titles and swim in the dignity of brother Tortoise’s wisdom which is akin to gimmicks and falsities.

Tortoise in Yoruba folklore, plays, myths, and metaphysics represents much more vices than virtues which in Jewish mysticism, the Kabbalah is plucking from the ” Tree of Good and Evil”.

Many of our Excellencies and Honourables like Tortoise, today mesmerize us to losing our senses as we daily mortgage our consciences and entrust our commonwealth for them to plunder, scatter and shatter.

As the recession continues to bite almost beyond redemption, our Kings in their palaces must take note of the signals that usually propel revolutions.

” Conditions in the society must be very bad before men in their large number could call for its violent overthrow: for no one would like to lose everything for nothing”.

What then can the Son of Man intone as an observation?

” When conscienceless power rules over powerless conscience, it is the former that first laughs but the latter laughs last and laughs best”.

A word is good for the wise.

Taiye Olaniyi, retired Postman of the Nigeria Postal Service, is based in LagosB

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