Chief Olusegun Obasanjo goes by the sobriquet, ebora Owu, a moniker of Anlugbua, the progenitor of the Owu race which he appropriated to himself. That way, Obasanjo sees himself as the soul, the symbol and the voice of the Owu people spread across over 50 communities in about 7 states.

As the reincarnate of Anlugbua, the original mystical personage known as the Ebora Owu and credited with so much awe, invincibility and invisibility whenever there was any danger lurking around the Owu homestead, Obasanjo loves to dwell in troubled waters.

Although Anlugbua is no more, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has more or less assumed the spiritual powers and authority of the ancestral deity.

These two qualities came to fore on Friday at an event in Iseyin, Oyo State where an obviously livid Obasanjo reprimanded the more than a dozen traditional rulers present over their breach of protocol for not standing up when the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde arrived the event venue. Obasanjo had to order the kings to stand up (to observe the protocol) and then sit down (e dide, e joko).


The audacity of Obasanjo to order those kings to their feet with military precision added to the mystery of the strange occurrence. I will provide an explanation.

The late activist, Dr Frederick Fasheun was detained for over 30 months from October 2000. His arrest was effected after he made a private visit to the then President Olus?gun Obasanjo at his Ota Farm in Ogun State.

Acting as his counsel, I was able to secure his release after two and half years in detention. Shortly after his release, Dr Fasehun paid another visit to President Obasanjo and asked what his offence was for Obasanjo to have detained him immediately he left his Ota Farm and for Obasanjo not to have even asked to see him throughout his 30 months detention. President Obasanjo feigned ignorance about Fasheun detention and claimed he thought he traveled out.

A bewildered Fasehun who was detained alongside Gani Adams and the late Saka Saula (of the NURTW Ìyànà Ipaja branch) headed to the home of the Afenifere chieftain, Chief Abraham Adesanya to report Obasanjo. I accompanied him on the visit.

Pa Adesanya after listening to Dr Fasehun chuckled and narrated his own experience with Obasanjo the Ebora Owu. He told Fasheun how Obasanjo as a sitting president bumped into his birthday party at his Apapa Lagos home uninvited.

Again, he narrated to Fasehun how President Obasanjo mysteriously showed up at one of the Afenifere meetings held at Ijebu Igbo home of Adesanya. If the Afenifere members were shocked at ebora Owu’s puzzling appearance at that meeting, they were yet to see anything. Pa Adesanya told Fasheun that after that visit by Obasanjo, the Afenifere held about 5 meetings at the usual Ijebu Igbo venue but none of the meetings could take off as each time they were about to commence, there would be a sudden heavy rainfalls which had hitherto not form any clouds or show any sign of rainfall.

When this same weird occurrence persisted for about 5 consecutive times, the Afenifere elders sought traditional ways of unraveling the mystery. The revelation was that a mystery being (ebora) had stepped into that venue of Afenifere meetings and so there can be no convergence anymore on that space. If any happens, there would be no consensus reached.

The elders of Afenifere knew where the fingers were pointing and had to carry out certain propitiation rites to cleanse the venue before normalcy returned.

That is the current Ebora Owu mystical powers or who else could have ordered an assembly of yoruba obas to stand up and sit down as we saw in Iseyin on Friday.

Shittu is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).