The crisis between the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Saliu Adetunji, and the high chiefs in the ancient city took another dimension on Wednesday when the chiefs criticised the Olubadan again with a promise not to return to the palace.
PREMIUM TIMES recalls that the crisis, which has made the Olubadan and the chiefs who are also members of the Olubadan-in-Council operate in a cat and mouse manner started when the outgoing governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi announced the resolve of his government to review the Olubadan chieftaincy declaration.
Mr Ajimobi, in August 2017, presented staff of offices and “crowns” to the high chiefs after he announced that the high chiefs have been promoted to the status of obas (kings).
The chiefs, who were promoted as obas without definite domain or territory are still members of the Olubadan-in-Council and are still in the Olubadan succession line. They have been parading themselves as kings since then, though they do not have chiefs.
The Olubadan, in his argument, maintained that he is the only recognised monarch in the ancient city, while the chiefs said that they are also kings on their own. This, however, led to existing crisis between the two parties.
The chiefs, led by Lekan Balogun, who is also the Otun Olubadan, had on Monday accused the monarch of running a one-man show, though the monarch through his Media Assistant, Adeola Oloko, refuted that he has not committed any offence.
Mr Adetunji asked the chiefs to remove their crowns and come back to the palace to perform their roles as members of his council.
But, the crisis took another dimension when members of the Olubadan-in-council on Wednesday kicked against the directive of the monarch, which urged them to drop their crowns and return to the palace.
They described the directive as hypocritical and an aspersion on the review of the laws governing traditional institution in Oyo State, which approves their installation as beaded crown wearing kings.
Mr Balogun, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, faulted the Olubadan’s claims. He insisted that none of the issues raised in their allegations against the “nefarious activities going on in his palace such as non-screening of prospective Mogajis (family heads) and Baales (village head) by the council before installation; the cash and carry manner by which people now get positions of Mogaji and Baale, leading to the appointment of more than one Mogaji from the same compound and relinquishing of the palace authority to ‘Olori’ (the wife of the monarch) among others,” have been answered.
He maintained that events had overtaken the court judgement being referred to, noting that aside the fact that there’s an appeal pending on the same judgement, the issue of review of the traditional law in the state had since become a state-wide one, encompassing Ibadan and other cities and towns which, till now, has not been disputed.
He also averred that the same reform which conferred on them the new titles of Royal Majesties and Highnesses also elevated the Olubadan to His Imperial Majesty from Royal Majesty which the Olubadan proudly adorn, asking “so, what makes our own wrong and his own right?”
He insisted that the reform carried out by Mr Ajimobi was in the best interest of the state in general and Ibadan in particular, which was why, despite their initial opposition to it, they had to embrace it when it became glaring that the reform was not of any benefit to the governor as a person.
Mr Balogun said the Olubadan himself was at the meeting with them and the governor where the issue was thrashed out and they all agreed that the reform should be carried out.
“But, the first class monarch capitulated on getting back to his palace when his wives castigated him, wondering how on earth other ‘Oloris’ (king wives) would exist alongside them at the same time.”
He equally described as ludicrous and embarrassing the claim of palace smooth running without them, saying, “If the infamy going on in his palace with his Olori assuming the position of the defacto Olubadan and his parading lower ranking chiefs as his council members is his own definition of smooth running of the palace, then, we wonder what and how history would record his reign.”
Insisting that there is nothing new in having more than a monarch in a town or city, Mr Balogun said Lagos parades over 53 obas, Ile-Ife in Osun State is no more a town with just Ooni of Ife as its monarch owing to a similar reform carried out by the state government.
He said, “Yet, in all of these places, the paramountcy of the consenting authority is never eroded which is what we have kept on telling our referred baba. Unfortunately, though very matured, peace-loving and understanding, his wife would not allow him to be himself which is why the issue has continued to linger.”