Ibadan high chiefs support Ajimobi chieftaincy review

Abiola Ajimobi and Olubadan
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State (right) congratulates new olubadan on his coronation

High chiefs in Ibadan on Friday said that they were in support of the Ibadan chieftaincy declaration review which was carried out by a commission established by the Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi.

The move to review the declaration by Ajimobi has pitched him against the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji, who is opposed to it.

With the proposal, the existing 11 high chiefs, who are now presiding over the affairs of their council areas as the head of the traditional council in the councils will be recognised as obas but they will still retain their high chief titles.

This means that Senator Lekan Balogun will become His Royal Highness; Oba Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadan land. However, any baale that is elevated in the council that falls under him will be answerable to him, while the Olubadan will be paramount rulers over all of them.

The 11 high chiefs will also retain their status as potential Olubadan, meaning that despite being a king in a council area, Balogun will still become the next Olubadan.

At a press conference called by the high chiefs, the Otun Olubadan, Lekan Balogun, explained that the review was good for the city and its history, stressing that the move would address the loopholes in the city’s chieftaincy system.

Also at the event were the Asipa Olubadan, Eddy Oyewole; Balogun Olubadan, Owolabi Olakulehin; Osi Balogun of Ibadan land, Ajibola Abimbola; Ekarun Olubadan, Kola Adegbola and Asipa Balogun of Ibadan land, Lateef Badamosi. Olakulehin explained that other high chiefs who were absent were also in support of the move except the Osi Olubadan, Rashidi Ladoja, who has voiced his opposition to the review.

But the head of Seriki line in Ibadan, Chief Bayo Oyediji, has said that the move by the governor was illegal while a former governor in the state, Omololu Olunloyo, said the government would erase the controversy surrounding the proposal by making the report of the commission that reviewed the declaration public.

According to Balogun, a similar review had been done in other parts of Yoruba land, saying that rather than diminishing the powers of the Olubadan, the review would add prestige to the throne.

He said, “We have many Yoruba kings from smaller towns but in Ibadan, what we have are high chiefs who though are bigger than the smaller obas but they don’t earn the respect a king will earn because we call them chiefs. Our baales and mogajis are bigger than many Yoruba kings.

“This anomaly and others will be corrected by the effort of the government. Olubadan will now be addressed as His Imperial Majesty, while each of his high chiefs will be addressed as His Royal Majesty. If one day we are granted Ibadan state, are we going to have only one king there? That is part of the reason behind the proposal.”

Olakulehin said that there was propaganda against the review, saying some towns in Ibadan with strong history deserve having kings. He added that Ladoja was not happy with the review because it did not happen in his time as governor.

Asked if it was right for someone to be crowned twice as the case could be with the new system, Balogun said that it was possible depending on the traditional system adopted.

While objecting the proposal, the head of Seriki chieftaincy line, Oyediji, said every step taken concerning the Olubadan stool or any other chieftaincy matter in Ibadan was illegal because of a case that was in court.

“What the governor is doing is illegal. There is an existing case which I instituted concerning the Olubadan stool. Any action taken before the determination of that suit is illegal. What is going on now is contempt of the court. It is not possible for the governor to create kings. I am against it. The review is strange to us because it is not part of what the governor promised Ibadan people when he was campaigning to be governor. But we stand on the act that there is a case

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