There are several rumors regarding Oyo state government’s actions on the Ibadan chieftaincy titles. Here’s the truth
On Friday August 26, a major milestone was reached in the history of Ibadan. Even though it happened on Friday evening, it was quite significant and fundamentally pivotal to the Olubadan of Ibadan kingdom. On that day, the government of Oyo state issued letters of conferment of Obaship on 21 chiefs in Ibadan, just as it announced that their coronation will hold on Sunday, August 27, 2017 at Mapo Hall, Ibadan.
According to a statement issued by the state government, it said its decision was in line with the provisions of the recently amended 1959 Declaration of Olubadan and other related chieftaincies in Ibadanland as well as the government White Paper as conveyed in Government Gazette No 14, Notice 27 Vol. 42 of 23rd August 2017 and Gazette No. 15 Notice 28 Vol. 42 of August 24, 2017 respectively.
Is this action legal?
Apparently yes. The government stated that the governor of the State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, exercised his powers as conferred on him by section 28(i) Cap. Vol 1 of the Chiefs Law of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000 and the amended 1959 declaration.
The Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Olalekan Alli, who presented the letters at the House of Chiefs, explained that Eight High Chiefs were given letters elevating them to Obaship and changing their titles to “His Royal Majesty” while 13 Baales were elevated to “His Royal Highness”, noting that 9 vacant Baale stools were not conferred but their positions are now recognized as Obas.
Ibadan, meet your new Royal Majesties
According to the Secretary to the State Government, High Chief Senator Lekan Balogun, Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland; High Chief Eddy Oyewole, Ashipa olubadan of Ibadanland; High Chief Akinloye Owolabi Olakuleyin, the Balogun of Ibadanland; High Chief Tajudeen A. Ajibola, Osi Balogun of Ibadaland; High Chief Latifu Gbadamosi Adebimpe, Asipa Balogun of Ibadanland; High Chief Dr Kolawole Adegbola, Ekarun Blaogun of Ibadanland; High Chief Abiodun Kola-Daisi, Ekerin Olubadan of Ibadanland and High Chief S. Amidu Ajibade, Ekarun Olubadan of Ibadanland will now be addressed as Royal Majesties while the Olubadan of Ibadanland,
What happens to the Olubadan throne?
The government apparently shied away from making significant changes to the Olubadan of Ibadan title. According to Alli, Oba Saliu Adetunji remains the Imperial Majesty. He affirmed that there is no disruption or amendment to the traditional Olubadan Chieftaincy ascendancy system or structure.
What of High Chief Ladoja?
The most vocal opposition to the action of the government was from High Chief Rashidi Ladoja whose name was conspicuously absent from the list of the new Royal Majesties. There is no official explanation from the state government on why this is so. Probably due to his opposition to the plan of the government. Since this is a fact-based piece, I can’t authoritatively state why Ladoja’s name was not on the list but what I can say is that it does not affect his position on the Olubadan Chieftaincy ascendancy system or structure, according to Alli. So, he may not like what the government has done, it however doesn’t stop him from becoming Olubadan of Ibadan.
New Royal Highnesses
Alli also announced the conferment of the Royal Highness status on the following: Chief Lasisi Akano, Onijaye of Ijaye; Chief Ismaila Olasunkanmi, Oniroko of Iroko, Chief Moses Olasunkanmi, Onikereku of Ikereku; Chiief Mudasiru Omodele Adebayo, Baale Olodo; Chief Victor Sunday Okunola, Elegbeda of Egbeda; Alhaji Wahab Olabamiji Okedina, Baale Okelade-Okin; Chief Olabamiji Ahmed Thomas, Alakufo of Akufo; Chief Gbolagade Muritala Babalola, Onido of Ido; Chief Dauda Omotoso, Baale Awotan; Chief Tiamiyu Labiyi Ladipo, Baale of Abanla and Chief James Oladipo Obisesan, Baale Akanran.
Oba Lekan Balogun is happy
Speaking on behalf of the new Obas, His Royal Majesty, Oba Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, according to a statement made available to IBPulse thanked the Oyo State Government and the governor of the State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi for answering the call of the people to review the Olubadan chieftaincy declaration of 1959, stressing that the new development is ordained by God.
Olubadan is not happy
Prior to Friday’s event, the Olubadan of Ibadan, raised objection to the review of 1957 Olubadan chieftaincy declaration saying he will never support the move.
Olubadan said the review being was nothing but a “joke carried too far”. Speaking through his Director of Media, Mr Adeola Oloko, Olubadan expressed his displeasure at the comments by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Bimbo Kolade, on a private radio station. The Oba said his opposition to the chieftaincy review embarked upon by the State Government stands.
The king said the erroneous impression in that interview was that Kabiyesi had at one time opposed the chieftaincy review then changed his mind to support it. This, he said, was far from the truth.
Olubadan said; “For the avoidance of doubt, there was never a time that Olubadan supported the review. This was why the first class monarch did not submit any memorandum nor make any presentation to the panel.
“When last week the panel submitted its report to the State Governor, the public would vividly remember that Olubadan was not in the picture at all, because he was not invited. Both the young and old in Ibadan know that the Ibadan chieftaincy system is not a creation of the government. It is a creation of Ibadan people. No king, no governor, no elite, no High Chief has the right to tamper with the system without recourse to our people. How many town hall meetings has the state government convened before arriving at the conclusion that Ibadan deserves 32 crowns?”
“To show ignorance of our tradition, the panel lumped our highly respected High Chiefs with baales who are always nominated by the family Mogajis. Secondly, if the traditional institution wants a review, it is not the duty of government to spearhead such. It is the duty of the Olubadan-in- Council to sit down and look at what they want to recommend and register same to the State Government for approval.”
But the concern of the Olubadan is evidently not big enough to stop the coronation of the new Obas scheduled to take place on Sunday, August 27, 2017 at Mapo Hall, Ibadan.