The Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi, Telu I, a First Class Yoruba traditional ruler in Osun State, is a popular leader in many ways. This is particularly so because of some of the decisions he takes which some see as “controversial.”
His recent decision to adopt an emirate regalia has been another subject of controversy. His critics say he should stick to the Yoruba traditional attire rather than import another culture but some of his subjects say the choice of Oba Akanbi to wear Emirate regalia was commendable.
With the comments for and against his new way of dressing, the monarch said his decision was right and justifiable. He explained that Iwo land has certain unique peculiarity among other towns in Yorubaland.
He said: “Iwo has a unique and distinctive traditional history among the entire Yoruba race. And these peculiarities have made Iwo be at the forefront in Yorubaland. The popular phrase, ‘Iwo Ilu Afa’ meaning ‘Iwo, the home of scholars’ is not just a saying. There’s a deep history connected to it. We must not forget our history and tradition. It’s our identity. It’s who we are. The past is the key to the future and to have a desirable future, we must have a clear understanding of the past.”
According to him “Iwo is the home of Islamic scholars. We accepted Islam many years ago and Islam is embedded in our ways of life. It is only in Iwo that Oba is turbaned during installation. We have that peculiarity. And this has been the tradition for 500 years now. Iwo is ‘Ilu Afa’ home of scholars. We must let the world know this not just by saying but by doing. We are truly the citadel of Islamic learning.”
The Oba explained further that Islamic culture is part of the Iwo culture. Also, it has been the new tradition in Iwo that the king must be turbaned and not crowned on the day of his installation as the Oluwo. “I was turbaned when I became the Oluwo,” he noted.
Oba Akanbi said he was determined to show the whole world that Iwo is an Islamic ancient town. Therefore, the turban is part of his paraphernalia of office. “Iwo was known as ‘geri malami’, meaning the ‘home of the scholars.’ So, the dressing is appropriate for me as the Oluwo,” he said.
Speaking on why he banished some idols that have been in the palace since time immemorial, the monarch said the palace is a home for the monarch and that it is not a shrine.
He confirmed that he relocated the palace’s popular idol to the shrine in the town and resettled it there. He also said, the palace was meant for the monarch and that the idol cannot be sharing space in the palace.
According to the DailyTrust, “As the monarch, I’m superior to the idols and it cannot be competing with me in the palace. I have taken that idol to where it belongs. Those who want to worship the idols can do so at the shrine, not in the palace,” Oluwo explained.