This is no doubt season of celebrations. Few days ago were Eid El Maolud, Christmas, and Boxing Day apart from several other social engagements which are no doubt the main focus of many Nigerians. They are involved in these acts and care less about the essentials of our life and living. Some regard social outings as major projects as if it is a matter of “life and death”.


Only from few families can one find the kind of thinking and passion as in the OYELADENIRAN foundation which focuses on Community Development in Iresi, State of Osun. It is therefore with the full gladness of heart that I congratulate the proponents of the foundation especially Mr. Debo Adeniran for “belling the cat”.



Our discourse for the 2015 edition of the Oyeladeniran Foundation is to focus on the role of traditional institutions in moulding the youths with a view to facilitating socio-economic development and harmony in our communities.


The concept “Tradition Institution” is nebulous in content and character. It is cumbrous to define because of its amoebic nature. Tradition can be simply defined as doctrine, belief, custom historical accounts, practice etc. passes from generation to generation and which has become an established standard and practice. It is apposite to state that traditional values are transmitted using the instrumentality of established institutions which are themselves multi-structured and multi-faceted. For instance, in Yorubaland, the home is an institution meant to impact on the children and the society at large. Other institutions which are traditional are:

  • The Age-grades
  • The nuclear and extended family systems.
  • The secret societies especially Ogboni fraternity.
  • The various religions like Ifa, Ogun, Shango, Obatala, Oya, Egungun
  • Taboos, initial rites, culture and norms.
  • The Local Trade/Professional unions.
  • Festivals like Orioke, Okebadan, Osun Osogbo, Odun Ogun, Anlugba, etc.
  • Special Callings like Olookila; Afingba , Onigbajamo, Ayan, Isegun. Town criers and panegyric specialists, folktalers etc. are on hand to mould the character, personalities and the totality of well-being of Yoruba sons and daughters. Each of these institutions and many others is a unit of our tradition.


Suffice it to state that several changes have been witnessed which tend to take a leap from tradition to modernity.


In no distant past, our way of life has geometrically changed due in part to changes witnessed at our traditional setting and partly due to foreign interference and modern science.


The other salient part of the discourse “Youth” pertains to male and female persons who have reached puberty and are within middle ages. This period starts from the adolescent stage of a person (age 13-19) and extends to 40 years.


Development is a subjective concept which differs from one clime to the other. Nonetheless, generally, development is a change state. Usually, development is considered a positive change especially in this sense. It means a change from bad to good, from poverty to abundance; from “have-not” “to plenty” and sufficiency. However, what constitutes development in one environment may be under-development in another clime.

Harmony which s also a key concept of the discourse has to do with peace, security, concord and convivial environment devoid of crisis, criminality and insecurity.




Even though institutions that can be classified as traditional are numerous, I like to restrict this discourse to the traditional monarchical institution called “Oba” in Yorubaland, Emir in substantial part of Northern Nigeria, and Obi in many parts of the East.

One of the miracles in modern governmental system is monarchy in Nigeria and in most African countries. So far, the institution has survived over the ages in line with the acceptable practice (tradition) in our various towns and cities and sustained by the culture and norms in the respective communities.

A critical sector in every community is the “youth Class”. They are the highest human capital in every community.


More importantly, the institution os Obas in Yorubaland was in the past the sole administrative and governmental structure prior to the intervention of the Colonial masters whose political control was terminated with the Nigerian independence in 1960.

As royal fathers in charge of the political economic, spiritual and social activities of their respective domains, it was the Obas that make laws, execute the aws and administer justice over;

♦          The children

♦          The Youths

♦          The elders


While the children and elders are dependants, the youths are the working/productive class.

It behoves on the traditional rulers to make laws and execute same for children in order for them to be good members of the community. At the same time, the elders were supported bb extant traditional laws.


Essentially, the Obas administer the people using the existing traditional laws. He dared not bend the rules ans has to administer in strict observance of justice and rule of law. If he refuses, he pays with his life or his position as Oba.

Some of the traditional laws are:

  • A child must respect his parents and all elderly ones.
  • He must greet them through prostration and she must kneel down in her case.
  • You must not seat on mortal.
  • Youths should marry properly and in strict observance of the rules in their environment.
  • You must respect the gods and rules of the community.
  • You must not steal, tell lie nor commit such crimes as may be so outlined by the tradition.
  • You can find such proverbs like

“Kuro n niyi ete nii mu wa”

                        “Biro balo logun odun, ojo kan soso lotito yoo ba”

                        “Otito loju”

                        “Omo yin o gbagbafo o n kaso wolu…”

                        “Eni to tafa soke yido bori boba aye ori o, torun n wo o” abbl.

You must be patient. Hence such soothing words like:

“Onisuuru nii fun wara kiniun

                        “Suuru baba iwa.

                        “Suuru laa fii pa amukuru pele. Abbl

  • The child is taught science in various ways. The Yoruba numerals are taught for instance figures as:

Eni, eji, eta, erin, arun…

                        Meni, meji, meta, merin, marun…

                        Eni, eeji, eeta, eerin, aarun…

  • The child is taught about natural phenomena such as:

“Osupa baba irawo”

                        “Monamona soju firi”

                        “Ina omo orara”

                        “Omi o lapa, omi o lese…”

                        “Omi n wo iyanrin geerere”

                        “Igi kan kii da igbo se” abbl


Children are taught the language and dancing steps to our talking drums as against today when songs and dances are contrary to our culture.

These are all meant to teach the child lessons which he would make use of in the youth and adult stages of his life.


All the norms, values, customs and other cultural education are impacted on the child to prepare him or her for later life. Stories about the family, their outstanding exploits, contributions to the community during war period, in uplifting the community, defence of the people often embolden the child and give him space to perform similar feat if and when he assumes leadership position.


Such exposures in family vocation, profession or trade like blacksmithing, hunting, pottery, iron-smelting, drumming, calabash carving etc. give sense of direction to the child early in life and a greater youth full of hope in life.

Because our traditional communities recognize specialization and professionalism, the Oba allots chieftaincy titles to such families to sustain the members on the job. Hence, you find such titles as Baale Ilu Bata, Baale Ilu Dundun, Baale Alagbede, Baale Ile Alaro etc.




Because of interference of foreign cultures and their negative effects on our domestic lives, traditional rulers are now faced with various challenges such as:

  • Influence of Western education which has reduced influence of our traditional education.
  • Influence of foreign religions of Islam and Christianity and the attendant negative effects on our moral values and beliefs.
  • Gradual disappearance of our core values, beliefs and customs as a result of interpolations and so-called socialization. Masquerades which taught morals and regulate the society are now mere entertainers.
  • Erosion of our language which is the best medium of expression and the most important instrument of communicating our culture verbally and non-verbally.
  • Modern governmental system and the concept of wholesome importation of foreign models in all aspects of our life, especially government.
  • Breakdown of the traditional family system which had its bult-in educational system where children are prepared to be responsible youths.
  • Introduction of nuclear family as against African Extended family, model.



While the traditional ruler is critical to ensuring that our youths are made to have positive

adjustment and be builders, not destroyers of our culture and values, it behoves on all

families to make a u-turn and retrace our steps to those good old days when we were WHO




Firstly, our quest for development must focus on the human resources. We must adopt the

man ‘O’ war motto:

“Build the man to build the community”

Without the positive adjustment of the youth, then development would be a mirage and

peace would elude our community. The foundation MUST be solid good and enduring.


The following are suggested for implementation:

  1. We must go back to our traditional family education programme where children are properly groomed to be good, promising and responsible youths and adults.
  2. The government should compel elementary schools to teach primary 1 – 3 in mother tongue, and ensure that basic moral values are taught to prepare them for later life.
  • Parents must adopt the policy of “containment” where by the children are less exposed to foreign cultural practices which are bringing woes to our communities.
  1. Our dresses and language should be adopted as our co-official dresses and language alongside English language.
  2. Youths should be part of decision-making at the palace levels; i.e. Obas should have more youth as chiefs and possibly have Olori Odo who would be installed and relieved as soon as they reach the age of 40.
  3. Regular youth related programs like the one organized by OYELADENIRAN of Iresi should be adopted by all communities.
  • Youth restiveness is partly due to unemployment. Government at all levels should give mass employment (through self-employment) to youths to make them more productive and less restive.
  • Youths should be encouraged to network and developed a more proactive approach to give them greater hope in their future. Peer review mechanism should be facilitated to give the youth a more positive perception of their world.
  1. Traditional rulers must create enabling environments for talent-hunting and support endowed ones to have their dreams accomplished.
  2. Parents and government must partner with the royal fathers to properly harness the youths potentials towards the overall growth and development of the respective communities.



From the foregoing, it is essential to know that traditional rulers are critical drivers in our quest to have our youths develop positive adjustment towards the development of our communities. Omo ti a ko to nii ko ile ti a ko ta.


Nonetheless, success can only be attained if the family plays its critical roles of growing their children I e best cultural-oriented way so that they would become responsible youths who would in turn help to develop our communities, the state and Nigeria as a whole.

Hence, communal harmony which is very critical will be attained without a drop of sweat.

Thank you.


HRM Oba Adbur-Rasheed Ayotunde Olabomi (JP)FCIPM, FNIM, MNIPR

Odundun IV, Aragbiji of Iragbijiland