Oluwo of Iwoland in Osun state Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi says he did not adopt the title of “Emir of Yoruba land” but could only be called emir by “Hausas and ardent Muslims”.
The monarch had reportedly said he adopted the emir title, which is peculiar to the north, in place of oba, a title connected with the south, because northern emirs “do not begrudge themselves like Yoruba Obas”.
He has also been seen in the traditional northern regalia, which he says is “appropriate” for him.
“I have decided to officially adopt emir title today because I want to emulate the attitudes of northern emirs. They don’t begrudge themselves like Yoruba Obas,” he was quoted to have said.
“When I was made the Oluwo of Iwo, I was turbaned. It is because Iwo is an ancient Islamic town. Iwo was known as ‘geri malami’, meaning: the home of the scholars. So, this regalia is appropriate for me as the Oluwo.”
But Oba Akanbi, in a statement by his media aide Ali Ibrahim on Sunday said contrary to reports, he only said he could be referred to as an emir to “integrate Nigeria nation as an indivisible entity.”
He asked if he could stop people from addressing him as emir if they chose to.
“Oluwo has never adopted the Emir title; he only said he could also be called an Emir by the Hausas and ardent Muslims,” the statement read.
“Oba Akanbi is an Oba for the nation, with special attachment to the Yorubas. He promotes Yoruba culture to the admiration of many youths.
“Just because of Oluwo dress code today, many children are attracted to Yoruba culture of wearing aso ofi.
“I said so (reference to being an emir) to integrate Nigeria nation as an indivisible entity. All working tools are available for the integration and unity of our dear country.
“I’ve visited the north several times. Core Hausa hardly pronounce Yoruba words correctly. They call me emir when I am with them. Is there anything wrong in answering to such?
“Even, the Hausa in Iwo here call me emir. Will I stop them from addressing me as such?”