When a traditional ruler dies in Nigeria, it is a big deal. His town will come to a standstill as events begin to unfold. These are some of the things that usually take place when a king dies.
Nigeria’s traditional institution is steeped in culture, mystery, and secrecy. From the selection to coronation and death/burial, only a handful of individuals can understand or explain the process (es). This is why traditional rulers are revered and held in such high esteem.
It is, therefore, to be expected that their death and burial will come with mysterious directives and ridiculous orders. This is why some Nigerians have questioned if they are in the 21st century or in the Stone Age whenever the death of a powerful king is announced.
In all, this age long culture have to be respected. So, what are some of these weird or ridiculous things that happen when a king dies?
It is important to add that the backlash for anyone who reneges against these directives is severe.
1. Markets are shut
To show respect to the king who just died, there will be no buying and selling for a certain number of days in town. The number of days ranges from 3, 7 and 14 days. However, due to changing times, the days for shutting markets have significantly reduced. But, the suspension of buying and selling is unavoidable, even if it is for a day, it’s unavoidable.
2. Restriction of movement
Due to the many traditional rites that follow the death of a traditional ruler, a curfew is often declared. Even though most of the rites usually take place in the night. Recently, the Onitire of Itire in Lagos, oba Lateef Abayomi Akanbi Dauda passed on and this led to the restriction of movement.
3. Ban on partying
The subjects of the traditional rulers are mourning. So, there is no partying. Even after the mourning is over, it is the same until after a new ruler is appointed. If you are planning an owambe in the city that just lost its ruler, it should either be low key or be suspended.
4. Males shave their heads in Benin
For the males who hail from Benin, they are expected to shave their heads when an Oba dies. This may be weird to some people but when the demise of the Oba of Benin, Omo n’Oba Erediauwa Akpolokpolo was announced, quite a number of men happily shaved their heads!