History was made yesterday in Ibadan where 21 monarchs were coronated – against the wish of Oba Saliu Adetunji, the Olubadan.
The Governor of Ibadan Abiola Ajimobi urged Oba Adetunji to stay away from politics and not allow himself to be used by those he classified as disgruntled elements.
He said: ”We also congratulate the Olubadan of Ibadanland and advise that Kaabiyesi should remain the father of all Ibadan citizens and not allow himself to be used by disgruntled elements as observed in his recent utterances, which tend towards the political. It should be noted that Obas are not expected to play politics.”
The Olubadan was absent at the event following his opposition to the upgrade of 21 former Baales and 11 high chiefs who are members of the Olubadan-in-Council, to Obas’ status.
Each of the 32 upgraded obas bear the “His Imperial Majesty” title.
The governor, who explained that the elevation of the baales and chiefs would in no way affect the status of Oba Adetunji, said his administration was not altering or tinkering with the traditional succession and ascendancy system of the Olubadan chieftaincy structure.
The new monarchs are those whose communities have history of near-independent origin but which are part of the larger Ibadan land.
The governor said: “Each of the high chiefs will now be addressed as “His Royal Majesty” because they are now Obas, the former Baales will be addressed as “His Royal Highness”. All of them are under the Olubadan of Ibadanland.”
“The review of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1959, according to Ajimobi, will further elevate the throne of the Olubadan and bring traditional governance closer to the people. The high chiefs will still move up the ladder as vacancies come up.
“In practice, while the high chiefs still maintain their top positions as they operate as Obas, the most senior will be elevated from a second class oba to the position of the Olubadan once there is a vacancy.
In all, 21 new obas received their staffs of office at the Mapo Hall amidst fanfare.
Former Oyo State Governor Rashidi Ladoja, who is the Osi Olubadan, who was among the 11 elevated high chiefs, was also absent. The 21 newly crowned Obas include eight high chiefs and 13 Baales.
The new Royal Majesties who received their insignia and instruments of office are: Senator Lekan Balogun, who is also the Otun Olubadan; Akinloye Owolabi Olakuleyin, who is the Osi Balogun ; Tajudeen Ajibola, the Ashipa Olubadan; Oba Eddy Oyewole and the Ekerin Olubadan, Abiodun Kola-Daisi.
Others are: Oba Latifu Gbadamosi Adebimpe, the Asipa Balogun of Ibadanland, Amidu Ajibade, the Ekarun Olubadan of Ibadanland, and Dr. Kolawole Adegbola, the Ekarun Balogun of Ibadanland.
The new Royal Highnesses are: Oba Lasisi Akano, the Onijaye of Ijaye; Ismaila Opeola, the Oniroko of Iroko; Moses Akinyosoye, the Onikereku of Ikereku; Mudasiru Adebayo, the Ololodo of Olodo; and Victor Sunday Okunola, the Elegbeda of Egbeda.
Others are: Oba Gbolagade Babalola the Onido of Ido; Olabamiji Thomas, theAlakufo of Akufo; Wahab Okedina, the Oloke of Okelade-Okin; Dauda Omotoso, the Alawotan of Awotan and Adeboye Salako, the Olofa of Offa. Rafiu Alawusa the Onilagun of Lagun; Tiamiyu Ladipo, the Alaba of Aba-Nla and James Obisesan, the Alakanran of Akanran.
The arrival of the Oluwo of Ibadanland introduced a new twist into the event as he led all the monarchs to an inner chamber where all the traditional rites were performed.
The monarchs acknowledged cheers from a crowd of well-wishers as they returned to the venue after the rites.
Ajimobi said he was not changing the history of the chieftaincy system but elevating it. He assured all that the coronation would neither undermine the authority of the Olubadan nor alter the Olubadan succession plan in any way.
He added that the administration was rather consolidating and elevating the status of the Olubadan, who as a Commander-in-Chief should have lieutenants.
The governor accused some individuals of manipulating the the Olubadan after he enjoyed the understanding of the monarch with a mutual agreement after series of meetings.
Stressing that he has no grudge against any individual over the resistance to the move, Ajimobi noted that the Olubadan remained his father, stressing that nothing can ever separate them.
He promised to visit the Olubadan again to reassure him of the implication of the ceremony on the Olubadan traditional system.
The governor said the coronation and promotion of the obas enjoyed the support of the Ibadan Elders Forum, the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, Olubadan-in-Council, Mogajis, community leaders and many prominent indigenes of Ibadan, adding that all the new Obas as stakeholders also desire the elevation of the Olubadan chieftaincy title to be in line with modern realities.
He challenged the obas to use their positions to develop the people and the state, urging them to distance themselves from partisan politics that can have negative effects on their position.
The governor, who arrived at the venue at about 1:40pm in the company of his wife, Florence to a rousing welcome from the jubilant crowd, went down memory lane to explain that the review of the chieftaincy matter was not new. He said he would only be remembered as the first governor to implement the recommendations of the panel of inquiry.
Oba Balogun, in his vote of thanks on behalf of the new obas, maintained that nothing was changing in the Olubadan traditional succession but that the innovation would add more prestige to the status.
He said: “What we are doing is catching up with the rest of Yorubaland. This has been done in all other states of the Southwest. If we are asking for Ibadan state, are we going to have only a king for the state?
“If the Olubadan is going out now, he will not go out alone because all kings in Ibadan will now go with him as the Imperial Majesty.
“The governor has done the city a good favor. We are not contesting anything with the monarch. He remains the father of all of us in Ibadan and history will not forget Ajimobi for what he has done. I still remain the Otun Olubadan, so nothing has changed. The only thing that has changed is fashion and nomenclature.
“Instead of being a high chief, I became a king under the Olubadan. The crown is just a fashion to give respect to our position and prestige to the Olubadan, who is the head of all kings in Ibadanland.”
At the event were: Deputy Governor Moses Adeyemo; Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Olalekan Ali; Chief of Staff to the Governor Gbade Ojo; Commissioner for Information, Culture & Tourism Toye Arulogun, his counterpart at the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Bimbo Kolade and other top government functions.
Others include: Speaker of the House of Assembly Micheal Adeyemo, who led other lawmakers; Chief Adebayo Akande, Chief Lamidi Ajadi; Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN); former President of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) Chief Bayo Oyero; Chief Bayo Akande, Oloye K.O Latunji, Gbenga Arulogun, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Oyo State, Pastor Benjamin Akanmu; the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Daud Akinola; the Mogaji of Ile Ajimobi, Wasiu Ajimobi and All Progressives Congress (APC) state chairman Chief Akin Oke, who was represented by the State Secretary, Mojeed Olaoya.
Other dignitaries include a former military governor of Lagos and Ogun states, Gen. Raji Rasaki; Chief Lanre Oyelade and a member of the House of Representatives, Saheed Fijabi.