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Published On: Sun, Sep 3rd, 2017

Olubadan, Ladoja declare war over Ajimobi’s controversial chieftaincy saga

OLUSESAN LAOYE|

Despite what Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the Oyo state governor described as his good intention in appointing 21 new obas in Ibadan land, it appears that his intention is now a source division and disagreement with Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba saliu Adetynji and some prominent people..
Last week Sunday, Governor Ajimobi appointed 21 traditional rulers, nine of them are high chiefs in Ibadan who were upgraded to first class obas, while the rest are Baales upgraded to second class obas.
The nine high chiefs who would be addressed as the Royal Majesties, would now wear the beaded crown while the Bales, who would be addressed as his royal Highnesses are now entitled to wear coronets.
The event, described as historic, was an indication that the governor eventually fulfilled his promise to increase the numbers of traditional rulers in Ibadan when he handed staff of office to 21 rulers in Ibadan land.
With this new move, the Olubadan would no longer be the only paramount ruler in Ibadan land. Although he would remain the chairman of the Ibadan traditional council, the nine high chiefs upgraded to the position of first class traditional rulers, are now entitled to wear beaded crown along with him while others would now wear coronets. However, those opposed to the action descrbed the new title of imperial Majesty for the olubandan as cosmetic.
The new traditional kingship system now changes the age long tradition where the entire Ibadan land had only one king which is the Olubadan. Those who benefitted from the new gesture of the Ajimobi’s government seen by many as a remarkable feat and another first in the history of Oyo state. Ajimobi is the first person to be elected for a second term as the governor of the state.
The present situation in Ibadanland has divided the people and it has brought mixed feelings; while some people have stood strongly against the new order, others see it as a welcome development.
Amongst those who see Ajimobi’s action as an affront is the Olubadan himself Oba Saliu Adetunji who was not present at the coronation of the mass Obas, and senator Rashidi Ladoja, who openly and tactically tongue lashed by the governor at the event.
The Olubadan has not taken kindly to the statement by Governor Ajimobi, that he was being missed advised by politicians, who try him until he goes to talk to him to express his good intentions.  However, the Olubadan reacted by warning Ajimobi to desist from utterances that would make the people think that he is partisan.
According to Oba Adetunji, , Ajimobi should realized that he is not a politician, and that he is a father to all, saying that he was amazed that the governor should link him to politics in the matter of Obaship in Ibadanland.  He said that he has always welcomed all politicians to his palace.
Oba Adejunji said he was unhappy that the governor construed his absence from the coronation to mean that he has become a politician.
He therefore, challenged Ajimobi to show evidence that he has become a politician, adding ‘At my age which is 89years would he not know what to do and what is right; more so he is a traditional ruler who is highly respected in the country and the whole world. He hypothetically, informed Ajimobi that, his tenure is just for a while and that whether he likes it or not he would soon leave the seat for another person.
With Olubadan’s statement, it was glaring that that the battle line has now been drawn between him and the governor, which politicians in the state are now watching and ready to capitalize on and which may eventually be used against the All Progressives Congress, during the electioneering campaigns from 2018.
The man who is believed to be at the centre, Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, told governor Ajimobi pointedly that, he has no power to prevent him from occupying the stool of Olubadan if it is the wish of God.
Ladoja who was apparently reacting to the statement of Ajimobi at the coronation event, where the governor took a swipe at him, , blasted the governor that he was only dancing round the corner without knowing what to do and that his utterances meant nothing to him.
He accused the governor of political vendetta through the obaship system and the unprovoked statement on the olubadan to prevent him from becoming the Olubadan.
” As far as I’m concerned the Governor is making a mockery of the Olubadan tile and the whole of Ibadan and its people by trying to do what he described as another first. I want Ajimobi to know that hecannot prevent him from becoming Olubadan if it is the wish of God and that he is ready to pursue the matter legitimately and legally.
Ajimobi had said that, he knew that some politicians, whom he defeated thrice, were behind the controversy which the appointment of the Obas. Already some groups have threatened to sue the governor over the issue.
The governor had said during the coronation, that ” I stand here today with a big sense of history, culture and tradition, and the event of today is a turning point in the history and chieftaincy, and cultural heritage of Ibadanland.’’
He said that he had resolved to reposition the chieftaincy title of Obadanland and that history was being made by adding new things to the tradition with elevation of some of our Baales and High Chiefs to the position of Obas. He pointed out categorically that he was not changing history, tradition and culture but adding something and elevating, consolidating and promoting every traditional aspect of ibadanland.
He further said that the new system has not changed the succession into the olubadan throne but elevating Ibadan.
”I am happy that this has not changed anything concerning the ascension to the stool of Olubadan. Initially people and some politicians have gone to confuse the Olubadan but despite their moves, I am happy today that history is being made.”
According to him people are just being mischievous because what he did was not new, as those who came before him did the same thing and he was not encumbered by any judicial impediment. Let me say this, what is happening is not new because I am not the first Governor in Oyo State to review the chieftaincy laws of the state.
”In 1974 a military governor did it, in 1981, it was done, in 1993 Chief Kolapo Ishola set up the Oloko enquiry. Also the late Governor Lam Adesina reviewed the chieftaincy law which my brother Senator Ladoja suspended the white paper. He too set up Adio Commission but nothing is heard about it today”
He said further that when he set up the committee on the review of the chieftaincy law of Ibadan, of all the memoranda sent to the committee, those who supported it were more than those who were against it. This he pointed out was an indication that what he did had the backing of the majority of the people of Ibadan land, irrespective of the thinking and dubious attitude of some politicians and others to prevent it from coming to reality.
In his reaction to the new order in Ibadanland, one of the recipients and the next in line to the Olubadan who responded on behalf of the rest new coronated Obas Oba Lekan Balogun, said that he was glad that he was part of the history which would put Ibadan in a sound footing.
The new thing he pointed out would reposition Ibadanland. He described it as a new innovation, because if Ibadan state which they are clamouring for is now created, Ibadan would not have only one monarch to follow the Olubadan to any state, national gathering; whereas ”some of us who are bigger in title in Ibadanland but are chiefs of the Olubadan would follow him but would not have the privilege to be at the meeting but would be shoved aside. In this kind of situation Olubadan would always be the lone voice, but this would not be so again. We are grateful to the Governor and we thank him.’’
Also a legal luminary, and one of the governorship aspirants in Oyo state, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN) said what they witnessed was a new innovation and new development.

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