Adewale Akanbi, oluwo of Iwo, has alleged that Adeyeye Ogunwusi, ooni of Ife, ordered his bodyguard to push him out of the way during a meeting of traditional rulers in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
According to Akanbi, the incident happened at Hotel Presidential in the oil-rich city.
He said it happened just as the ooni was called to the podium to give a vote of thanks.
Both Akanbi and Ogunwusi are highly respected monarchs in Osun state.
“The bodyguard of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, in what seemed to be an errand message, pushed Oluwo at the public gathering of the first-class paramount rulers held at the Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State last Tuesday,” Akanbi said in a statement.
“Dignitaries at the event were taken aback by what they considered as a desecration of the crown as the bodyguard of the Ooni pushed a first-class paramount ruler, Oluwo.
“As shown in the pictures, the Ooni was called to make a vote of thanks as the Oluwo was engaging the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, who came to represent President Muhammadu Buhari.
“While the Ooni was coming to his seat, his security guard descended on the Oluwo and asked him to give way or he would push him. Oluwo tried to plead with him to be patient, but he (bodyguard) resisted. He then pushed the Oluwo.
“The monarch excused himself in order to maintain peace. The Ooni was observing and he felt satisfied with the action of his guard. Oluwo stepped aside and thereafter revisited his conversation with the minister.”
But the ooni has denied the allegation. In a statement which Moses Olafare, director of public affairs at his palace, issued on his behalf, Ogunwunsi described the claims of the Oluwo as untrue.
“There was no altercation between Oluwo and anybody at that venue at all,” the statement read.
“Kabiyesi Ooni went to make his speech in his capacity as a co-chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers.
“On his way back to the seat right beside the representative of the President, General Dambazau (retd.), on sighting Oluwo who had come to the high table to take pictures with some dignitaries while the programme was still ongoing, he waited for some minutes to allow Oluwo leave the way to his seat.”