Adedapo Tejuosho, the Osile of the Oke-Ona Egbaland community in Abeokuta, Ogun, has ordered his chiefs not to do anything “diabolic” to his body when he dies.
During an interview with BBC Yoruba, Tejuosho, one of Nigeria’s extremely religious traditional rulers, discussed his faith and how he wanted his burial rites to be performed.
When asked how he copes with being a Christian and traditional ruler, he said: “For us to understand all that is happening in Nigeria today, I would recommend that we go and read the book of Proverbs chapter one and we should start like verse 24.
“That was where God said because he called us, we did not respond, he spoke to us and we did not heed, he said he would leave us. But he said if our trouble comes, he will sit in heaven and smile.
“What are we doing now? Are you enjoying life? We are lamenting that we are suffering when God has called us and we did not respond. When we chose Obatala (one of the Yoruba gods), who was human and started worshiping him. Likewise, we started worshiping Sango, a human as a god.
“Deity is not something I can eradicate, it can only be taken away by people surrounding us. If they are able to understand God’s word.”
Tejuosho had earlier directed the removal of the Obatala shrine from his family house to build a church.
Speaking on the directive — during the interview — the monarch said he also issued a strongly worded statement to his chiefs.
“All you these chiefs, If I die, whoever performs any nonsense on my body will acknowledge God as the master,” he said.
Tejuosho was referring to the rites of passage usually performed when a monarch dies — especially in the southwestern part of Nigeria where parts of the remains are removed for traditional purposes.
“If you want to crown a king, you must do it according to the person’s belief or religion. And if they also want to bury such a person, it must be done according to his belief and how the family wants. That has overridden all that we are saying now,” he added.
“As a matter of fact, it has been criminalised that whoever takes the body of any king to perform all sorts and is arrested, will be sent to prison. And I know nobody would want to do that now.
“We have now earned that liberty God has granted us the wish.”