The axiom that money is the root of all evils, was put to litmus test last Friday when a frontline leader and presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu paid courtesy calls on traditional rulers in the three Senatorial Districts of Ondo State and rained cash gifts on the Obas, which led to a rat race of sorts.
The huge political largesse, as at today, has created a wide gulf between the minority Class A kings and the majority 130 Crowns in the Sunshine State, who belong to the B and C grades.
According to an impeccable source, the Presidential aspirant and former Governor of Lagos State famous for keeping cash in bullion vans, Asiwaju Tinubu brought sacks of Naira as homage to the royal fathers in their domains.
His entourage’s first port of call was Ondo South Senatorial District, where they met the Obas at an Events Centre in Okitipupa.
After exchanges of pleasantries and declaration of his intention to contest the 2023 Presidential Election, Tinubu’s aides were said to have rolled in millions of Naira notes stacked in Ghana-Must-Go bags, for the kings to share.
A source alleged that N30m was allocated to each of the three political zones.
Whereas things went according to plan under the supervision of HRM Olugbo, what obtained in Central and North Senatorial Districts were outright row and chaos. A cold war indeed!
In Akure, 18 Monarchs met Tinubu in the Palace of the Deji of Akure, but only 3 of them are Grade A while 15 are in B and C categories.
Surprisingly, we learnt from insiders that only a meagre N5m was doled out to the 15 rulers to share while the chunk was kept by the few three.
To worsen the situation, no information on the actual largesse was given to the second class Obas. Rage set in and the N5m offered, by a popular politician in Ondo State, was reportedly dumped at the doorstep of the Paramount ruler of Akure land. The protesting royals later staged a walk out without collecting the money.
Similar ugly incident happened in North Senatorial District meeting held in Owo, where Monarchs converged in the Palace of the new Olowo of Owo. The 7 Grade A Obas present were said to have outsmarted the 26 B and C kings, whom were blocked from knowing what transpired between the August Visitor and the royals.
At the end of the day, after Team Tinubu had left, a paltry sum of N5.7m was dished out by the Coordinating Grade A Oba Olowo, to the 26 representatives of the lower cadre royals.
Having failed to disclose the total monetary gift from the Lagos frontline politician; anger took the best of the cheated Grade B and C Obas, who politely declined collecting their own ‘share’ of the ‘Tinubu’s cake.’
As at press time, frantic efforts are said to being made by mediators to settle the matter equitably and fairly, in order to keep the issue off public notice.
The aggrieved Obas, who control majority of communities in the State, are said to be waiting patiently to do the damage to the electoral interest of the ‘chosen candidate’ of the First Class Obas, at the polls.
However, analysts see the visitations by Tinubu to Yoruba Obas in all the States, with huge kolanuts, as a political strategy to mark the South West territorial zone, as a safe haven for himself, in case any other aspirant wants to venture into the presidential race from the region.