Image: The Nation

Renowned Professor of Law, Professor Oyebode while speaking in Lagos on Wednesday, suggested that political office holders in Nigeria take their oath of office using traditional gods like Sango, Ogun, and others, instead of the bible and Qur’an which are currently in use.

The rationale behind this suggestion, according to him is that it will deter public office holders from corruption as these gods are known for their merciless and immediate judgment if you renege on an oath.

The Professor of Law 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.

“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.”

Author: Yemi Olarinre