In an epoch-making event held on Sunday, the Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, made good his promise by presenting staffs of office to the elevated Ibadan high chiefs and Baales (community heads) amid ovation. TUNDE BUSARI reports the fanfare that followed the coronation.
The mammoth crowd that thronged the frontage of Mapo Hall, Ibadan on Sunday to witness the coronation of some elevated beaded-crown Obas in Ibadanland contrasted the alleged indifference of the indigenes to the event.
Although the programme was scheduled to commence at 10 am, according to the commemorative brochure produced by the Oyo State government, Governor Abiola Ajimobi and his wife, Florence Ajimobi did not arrive the venue until 1.35 pm. Yet, the expansive space was filled to the brim, with spectators extending to Oja’ba-Bere highway.
It was indeed another day of history for governor Ajimobi, who went to the government archive and dug out the 1959 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration made pursuant to the 1957 Chief Laws and other related Chieftaincies in Ibadanland.
The result was the elevation of 11 High Chiefs who are also members of the Olubadan-In-Council and 13 baales of different Ibadan suburbs to beaded-crown and coronet-wearing traditional rulers.
Of the 11 High Chiefs turned-Obas, eight were present. They included His Royal Majesty, Dr Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland; His Royal Majesty, Oba Akinloye Olakuleyin, the Balogun of Ibadanland; His Royal Majesty, Oba Tajudeen Ajibola, the Osi Balogun of Ibadanland; His Royal Majesty, Oba Eddy Oyewole, the Asipa of Ibadanland; His Royal Majesty, Oba Latifu Adebimpe, the Asipa Balogun of Ibadanland; His Royal Majesty, Oba Abiodun Kola-Daisi, the Ekerin Olubadan of Ibadanland; His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr Kolawole Adegbola, the Ekarun Balogun of Ibadanland and His Royal Majesty, Oba Hamidu Ajibade, the Ekarun Olubadan of Ibadanland.
The upgraded baales included His Royal Highness, Oba Lasisi Akano, the Onijaye of Ijaye; His Royal Highness Oba Ismaila Abioye Opeola, the Oniroko of Iroko; His Royal Highness, Oba Moses Akinyosoye, the Onikereku of Ikereku; His Royal Highness, Oba Mudasiru Adebayo, the Ololodo of Olodo; His Royal Highness, Oba Victor Okunola, the Elegbeda of Egbeda; His Royal Highness, Oba Gbolagade Babalola, the Onido of Ido; His Royal Highness, Oba Olabamiji Thomas, the Alakufo of Akufo; His Royal Highness, Oba Alhaji Wahab Okedina, the Oloke of Okeladeokin; His Royal Highness, Oba Dauda Omotoso, the Alawotan of Awotan; His Royal Highness, Oba Adebayo Salako, the Olofa of Offa; His Royal Highness, Oba Rafiu Alawusa, the Onilagun of Lagun; His Royal Highness, Oba Tiamiyu Ladipo, the Alaba of Aba-Nla and His Royal Highness, Oba James Obisesan, the Alakanran of Akanran.
While the crowd, which consisted top government functionaries, including the Deputy Governor, Moses Adeyemo, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Victor Kolade, was patiently awaiting the arrival of the governor, an Ibadan-based Fuji musician, Rasheed Ayinde and his group compensated them with his peculiar music style, singing the praise of the governor and the new traditional rulers, who were watching with delight.
When the first lady led by Governor Ajimobi got to the pavilion, the ovation that greeted their arrival from all directions shared affinity with that seen in a stadium where a home team performed well before fans in a football match.
The national anthem and Oyo State anthem were recited one after the other, after which the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matter, Bimbo Kolade mounted the podium with his welcome address.
Kolade who briefly explained the background of the event expressed his gratitude to the resoluteness of Governor Ajimobi in ensuring the recommendation of the Justice O.A. Boade Commission of Inquiry set up in May 2017, was approved.
“With today’s event, Governor Ajimobi has added to his unique name. He is afitanbale (history maker) of Oyo State. We are very proud of his courage and determination to resolve old issues. Three weeks ago, I represented him at the coronation of the traditional ruler of Ado-Awaye. For the past 34 years, Ado-Awaye did not have a king. Governor Ajimobi looked into the matter and resolved it. This is underscoring the leadership quality with which he is blessed, “the commissioner said.
When Governor Ajimobi was called to the rostrum for his speech, the audience hailed him apparently based on their understanding of his penchant for extensive, no-hold-barred presentations. He did not disappoint when he told them that the threatening rain would not fall because, according to him, he had pleaded with God to spare the event of natural or man-made disruption.
To assuage his critics, he revealed how he had met with the Olubadan of Ibadan, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji (Ajeogungunniso 1) on two occasions and explained the significance of the elevation of his High Chiefs.
“I went to him and we sat inside his bedroom where I explained everything to him. After that we still talked over it and he showed understanding of the point. But what I realized was that the moment I left him, he would change. I realized that those telling him different things were doing it for political reasons. There is nothing I want to become again after being a senator and two-term governor. What we have done is to boost the value and status of the Olubadan among other traditional rulers in Yorubaland.
“If Ibadan, regarded as the political headquarters of the Yoruba has only one oba, despite its size, then something is wrong. We thank God that we have done it and whoever wants to play politics should consider the general interest of the people of Ibadan. Tradition changes because the invention of today is the tradition of tomorrow. We live in a dynamic world and Ibadan is also changing with the tide of time,” he said.
The presentation of staffs of office to the new obas immediately followed the governor’s speech with His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland receiving his staff after which others followed suit.
Oba Balogun later spoke on behalf of the new Obas and expressed his happiness to the development saying the revered status of the Olubadan remained unchanged, adding nobody could contest influence with the Olubadan.
Personalities that witnessed the event included members of the Ibadan Elders Forum such as High Chief Bayo Akande, retired Justice Nurudeeen Adekola and his wife, Alhaja Sekinat Adekola, former president of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, Chief Wole Akinwande, Brigadier General Raji Rasaki (retd) and other guests.