Ninety per cent of Ibadan indigenes at home and in the Diaspora are in support of last Sunday’s mass coronation of Ibadan high chiefs and some Baales (village heads) to their new-beaded crown-wearing status by Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) has said on Tuesday.
Criticisms have continued to trail last Sunday’s traditional exercise, as the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, did not only dissociate himself from the elevation of the chiefs but had also staged a roadshow last Monday around the Ibadan metropolis to display to Ibadan indigenes and residents alike that he remains the “only consenting authority on Ibadan chieftaincy system.”
But addressing a press conference on the perceived misgivings over the crowning of the new Obas in the city, the CCII President General, Chief Yemi Soladoye, said there was a history of chieftaincy reforms dating back to the 19th century in the city, noting that the flawless succession system in Ibadan was the result of several reviews.
According to Soladoye, high chiefs who have been elevated to the position of kings in Ibadan have always been accorded the status of second class kings by the state government.
He stated that the new kings had no domain, meaning that Ibadanland remains under the Olubadan authority.
He said: “The CCII wishes to confirm that the change that has just taken place was desired, initiated, supported, applauded and appreciated by the generality of Ibadan indigenes worldwide.
“Constant changes and reviews are in fact the ingredients that have sustained our well-organised and rancour free ascension to the throne of Olubadan of Ibadanland in almost 200 years of our existence. During the time of Lagelu, our progenitor, up to the perishing of the second Ibadan, we were using various titles including Olubadan and since the emergence of this third Ibadan around 1820, tittles like Basorun, Balogun, Aare have been used to describe our leaders.
“Nobody has created any new ruling house (with the new system). The former high chiefs can now physically carry the authority of the Olubadan for development in their communities and create flamboyancy around the Kabiyesi at public functions. The new kings are not kings of anywhere as they are still on the queue to become the Olubadan and the imperial power over the entire Ibadan land still resides with the Olubadan of Ibadan land.”
Soladoye explained that the Baales who were elevated to king status were from satellite towns that were subdued by the Ibadan warriors many years ago, adding that it was not an attempt to divide Ibadan into several parts.
“The fact of the case is that satellite towns like Ijaiye-Orile, Erunmu, Lalupon had in fact existed before the present Ibadan but having defeated them in wars, so we demoted their kings and annexed them to Ibadan. The new arrangement is a manifestation of the usual magnanimity and hospitality of Ibadan people but they wear the coronet from the Olubadan and not their ancestral crowns in the new dispensation. Some of the crowns are also granted to protect our border towns,” the CCII boss noted.
In the same vein, one of the newly promoted Obas and former Governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, has said the state government has shown beyond reasonable doubt that he is the prime target of the review of Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration by asking him to either “join in the mockery of obaship and agree to be made a government-appointed oba” or forfeit his right to the throne.
Ladoja, who spoke through his media aide, Alhaji Lanre Latinwo, said he remained the Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland and would neither agree to be a government-appointed oba with no domain, chiefs and subjects nor “support attempt at desecrating the Olubadan throne.”
Latinwo, in the statement, said: “Thousands of Ajimobi can’t stop Ladoja from becoming the Olubadan if it is the will of God,” advising the governor to stop playing God.
According to Latinwo, “High Chief Ladoja believes that only God chooses the Olubadan as clearly demonstrated in the divine enthronement of the current Olubadan, Oba Adetunji, who was three steps to the throne.
“May God lengthen the years and reign of Oba Adetunji in sound health. We will like to make it abundantly clear that thousands of Ajimobi can’t stop Ladoja from becoming the Olubadan if it is the will of God.
“People continue to ask the question why the mockery of obaship in Ibadanland is the most important thing to Ajimobi of all the challenges facing his government. It is now clear that Ajimobi has found in this futile exercise, a distraction from his six years of misgovernment in the state.
“Ajimobi is using temporary executive power for ego trip and feels that he is humiliating perceived enemies and also playing God. Why should the governor turn himself into a kingmaker, ignoring the long-established peaceful, self-reforming chieftaincy system of Ibadanland that has become the envy of many cities because it is rancour-free?
“Today, August 29, 2017, makes it exactly 21 months to the expiry of Ajimobi’s governorship. The state will surely be freed from the stranglehold of the emperor and the office will outlive the officer. Very soon, Ajimobi’s portrait will join those of ex-governors hung on the wall of the Executive Council Chambers. Whatever has a beginning must surely have an end.
“Again, we will like to appeal to the people of Ibadanland to remain calm and peaceful, even in the face of provocation, as this misuse of power, pursuit of vendetta and bastardisation of a rancor-free process will be challenged to the end through constitutional and peaceful means.”