The Ooni and his beautiful queen By Tunde Odesola
Since the sun of social media appeared in cyberspace during the second half of the 1990s, it hasn’t ceased to blaze the dark closets of myths and tradition, exposing their cobwebs, warts and all.
And humanity is excited. At last, an answer has come to the bi-directional communication telephony of the era, welcoming the world to the age of technology where mass communication via networking travels at the speed of light, faster than the horse, ahead of the postman.
Without control, power is anarchy. When unsheathed, the sword of social media cuts with both edges. Ma se loogun ma mo: nothing is hidden from the big eye of the sun.
The only protection against getting caught by social media constabulary is either to be above board or to commit your sin silently in your mind, away from the prying watch of a gazillion and one cameras that make the internet omnipresent.
Even if you’re reckless on a boat at sea like the popular female singer recently caught pants down, but who never had the decency to apologise to her fans, especially children, the World Wide Web may still Savage you anytime in the future. Social media, together with its mom and dad, the internet and the World Wide Web, do not forget.
The world of social media is paradoxical, you may call it twisted, if you’re blunt. The beauty of social media is also its blight: private, yet public; individual, yet social; village, yet global.
On the superhighway called the internet, hailing and wailing are unmistakable sounds, depending on if the road user got a pat on the back or a kick in the teeth from social media’s untraceable troops.
The internet is no respecter of class, creed or colour. This is why one faceless Alani, who’s a farmer in the Oke Ogun area of Oyo State, would pick up his phone, go on social media, and query the military credentials and sincerity of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) anytime Fulani herdsmen wreak havoc on farmlands in the South-West community.
It’s also the same reason why an anonymous Okafor, a pensioner in violence-ravaged Orlu, Imo State, would condemn online, using exasperation emojis, the blundering Buhari regime, which promoted 233 soldiers to various cadres of General in one fell swoop, last week, when the world’s strongest military force, the US Army, has only 231 generals.
Similarly, an obscure artisan in the Jos killing field of Plateau State, Latifah, would casually stroll into discussions on social media and call military authorities names, rightly pointing out that cronyism and thoughtlessness were the reasons why Africa’s fourth strongest Army, Nigeria, with a budget of $1.39 billion (using CBN exchange rate), could have more generals than the US Army with a budget of $610 billion.
Then Ahmed, an amputee in war-torn Borno, would not only like Yakubu’s comment, but make his contribution to the online conversation in these words, “Why govt dey dash soldiers wey no fit fight Boko Haram terrorists promotion yanfu yanfu like dis? Even US wey bi No 1 strongest nation no dey distribute promotion to generals like COVID-19. Now, Nigerians supoz don see di reason why a whole Nigerian Army go dey run helter-skelter because say one NYSC corper propose to one female soldier. E no go beta for idleness, walahi!”
Oh yeah, that’s the classless new world we live in today. A world where peasants call the king stupid, where the wretched call Messi, the highest-paid soccer player on earth, ‘my boy’, where illiterates call professors untaught. It’s a doorless and nameless world of equality and freedom. It’s a good world, albeit.
For the three years and three months their marriage endured, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Ojaja 1, and his estranged queen, Silekunola Moronke Naomi, enjoyed the ubiquitous advantage of social media, which splashed their faces and stories across the world.
But when the vinyl record broke and the love music went croaky, social media did not turn a blind eye in awe of royal pomp. Rather, it went into the sacred shrines of the gods and sank its teeth into juicy stories, gobbling up the facts, rumours and falsehoods.
As goldfishes, Adeyeye and Naomi had no hiding place in the classless world of social media. The rumour mill went agog: How can the delectable Naomi from Akure Oloyemekun, wake up to her phone, go on social media, write an e-divorce, and walk away from the oldest crown in Yoruba land, the crown Oduduwa himself wore? Abomination!
Journalism didn’t fold its hands and leave the conversation to wailers, hailers and watchers on social media. Journalism also went to work, using social media as a tool for news gathering in the fulfilment of a sacred ethical obligation of informing, educating and entertaining the masses.
While wailers say it was stupid of journalism to pry into the private affairs of the royal couple, hailers say what is sauce for the goose (poor) is sauce for the gander (rich). For journalism, ultimately, news, which is the factual report of a notable event, must be fairly disseminated, no matter whose ox is gored.
While hailers of the Ooni on the internet condemn Naomi, the mother of one-year-old prince Tadenikawo, for allegedly using and dumping the 47-year-old monarch after finding fame, wailers against him say only an incurable playboy would fail thrice in marriage within 12 years, stressing that any EPL striker that misses a penalty thrice in a row should abandon football for bricklaying.
Online wailers against the 28-year-old Naomi recall how she voluntarily came all the way from Akure, like one of the Three Wise Men, to the Palace of Oduduwa, a year after the king’s marriage to Edo-born Queen Zaynab Otiti Obano had crashed, bearing a birthday present of a Bible on September 10, 2018 – ahead of the king’s birthday on October 17, 1974.
That was when the king set his eyes on prophetess Naomi, who was born on October 12, 1993 in Akure, Ondo State, and a sizzling romance led to marriage in October 2018.
Bloggers, as unprofessional as they come, also latched onto the story, wailing and hailing, as the case may be. Some of the news videos from various blogs include allegations of a contract in Ondo State which the Ooni purportedly gave to Naomi’s family member to execute, but which wasn’t executed to the satisfaction of the monarch, and fights among family members of the Ooni and Naomi, who lived with them in various chalets in the palace.
Many wailers and hailers in online comments and videos, alleged that the cohabitation of Naomi’s mom and relatives, together with the Ooni’s siblings, in the expansive palace was a taut string at breaking point.
I’ll neither gloat over the crash of the Adeyeye-Naomi marriage nor bemoan it. It is what it is: our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. I wish both Adeyeye and Naomi the best life can offer as they both try to rise from the ruins of this marriage.
I ask, like Whitney Houston, where do broken hearts go?
Facebook: @tunde odesola
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