How Songo, Ogun, Okija Shrine Can Stop Nigeria Public Office Holders From Corruption – Prof Oyebode

A Professor of Law at the University of Lagos, Akin Oyebode, has said holding the Bible and the Qur’an during oath-taking by public officers does not incur instant wrath of God like taking an oath by the god of iron, Ogun, or god of thunder, Sango.

Speaking in Lagos on Wednesday, the Professor of Law said using religious scriptures during oath-taking by public office holders has not reduced corruption among public office holders.
According to Oyebode, failure of leadership was due to the inability of public office holders to live up to the contents of their oaths of office.

Oyebode said, “My late colleague, Prof. C.S Momoh said people don’t take oaths seriously because we are worshiping foreign gods.

“Christianity and Islam originated from outside Nigeria. We should change the procedure for oath taking by using pieces of iron, Sopona and other traditional items.

“We as Africans are very traditional, we may put on western clothing but when a real African has problems, he runs to the native doctor in the village.

“As for the Bible and the Qur’an, Africans do not fear those books but if a piece of iron is used to take an oath by the god of iron or thunder by the god of Sango, African people will abide by their oaths.

“There is a lot of merit in this view that we have to take a fresh look at the ceremony of oath taking by not relying on the Bible or the Qur’an.

“For oath taking at the national level, I’m suggesting that we go back to our roots. For example, 
look at the Okija Shrine, people were so afraid of the shrine because they knew that the consequences of flouting an oath taken there could be devastating.

“Even though, we speak good English, we are not English people. There are problems with our psyche, the white man removed our values and replaced them with his own values.

“Nigerians have become “Afro-saxtons”. We are neither African nor British, we are in between, and the lawyer who is involved in the procedures of oath taking is the finest example of this.

“There are no legal consequences of violation of oaths because the oaths via the Bible and the Quran is between him and God, the violation of which is only heretical.

“However, traditional oaths sworn to Gods like Obatala, Sango, Sopona and Aiyelala are 
feared because of the grave sanctions visited on the violators.

“The fidelity to oaths is part and parcel of the desiderata of accountability. The failure by Nigeria’s public office holders to hold themselves bound by their oaths of office needs to be deprecated and severely criticised.

”In other climes, those who desecrate their oaths are shamed or sent to be burnt at the stake, but here, our tolerance level seems too elastic.”

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