President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the palace of the Oba of Lagos, HRH Oba Rilwan Akiolu, has been a subject of the trending controversy with many Nigerians on social media claiming that the Lagos monarch vacated his throne for the president.
Yoruba kings, and of course traditional monarchs in Nigeria and other parts of the world, place utmost regard and respect for the throne which is exclusively accessible to only the reigning king.
No other person, no matter how importantly placed, is expected to sit on a king’s throne while he is still reigning.
Hence, the huge outcry on social media when a photo surfaced with the claim that the Oba of Lagos vacated his throne for President Buhari. Many accused the monarch of desecrating the Yoruba culture.
The criticism was further fuelled by the monarch’s open support for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the endorsement of President Buhari’s re-election.
The Nigerian monarchs do not have political power according to the Constitution. However, given the respects and influence they wield among their subjects, politicians always covet their endorsements to boost their chances.
The main question: Did the Oba of Lagos really vacate his throne for President Buhari?
Given the photo above, one may be tempted to erroneously believe that the monarch truly left his throne for President Buhari. Another photograph from the visit, however, busted the claim.
Fact: Oba Akiolu did not vacate his throne for the president. Rather, President Buhari was sitting in another ‘royal chair’ at the immediate right side of the monarch while vice president Yemi Osinbajo was sitting in another at the immediate left.
It is common for Nigerian monarchs to have other ‘royal chairs’ beside their thrones reserved for important dignitaries, including fellow kings when they pay them a visit.
One of such chairs was the one President Buhari sat on, not the king’s throne.