FROM THE ARCHIVE: Why Ibadan Doesn’t Need Proliferation Of Obas — Late Akinyele

    Late Bobajiro of Ibadanland, Chief Theophilus Adeleke Akinyele, OON, once warned that Ibadan chieftaincy system doesn’t need proliferation of monarchs.

    A letter sent to OYOINSIGHT.COM on September 1, 2017, in the wake of the elevation of Ibadan high chiefs to Obaship status by the administration of late former governor Abiola Ajimobi.

    This newspaper recalls that ‘Seyi Makinde administration had recently sent a private bill to the Oyo State Assembly to review the chieftaincy laws.
    Akinyele, a former head of service, died in 2020 and Makinde had, in a condolence message, described him as a reliable father.

    As the Bobajiro of Ibadanland since 1978 and the person who voluntarily in 2011 published the book “IBADAN TRADITIONAL SYSTEM: REFORM AND REGENERATION” and who took the trouble to submit a Memorandum to the Justice Boade Commission of Enquiry set up by the Oyo State Government, I owe it a duty to categorically state my position on the issues involved in the current developments enveloping the Olubadan Chieftaincy system for the sake of consistency, truth and personal integrity, and to avoid the possibility of being misquoted or misunderstood by anybody or group.

    My book examined the eighty years of Ibadan military exploits and imperial adventurism which earned Ibadan the incontrovertible position as the bulwark for the existence of Yorubaland. It highlighted the inherent systemic structure weaknesses and adverse effects of governmental and other external interventions which became pronounced in the last two decades.

    The book then in Chapters 7 and 8 made a number of recommendations regarding pointers to the need for reform and regeneration including measured operational steps to be taken in the short and long term regarding feasible logistics over a decade or two.

    In the Memorandum sent from abroad, where I still am, to the Boade Commission of Enquiry, after inviting attention to Chapters 7 and 8 of my book, I wrote inter-alia as follows:

    “It is my humble opinion from the outset, that whatever will emerge from the outcome of the current Enquiry, two desiderata must be observed, namely the oneness of IBADANLAND under the suzerainty of the Olubadan and secondly the unique position of Ibadanland in the scheme of things pertaining to traditional systems in Oyo State in the light of historical antecedents and the favour of geographical location on Ibadanland.”

    I must categorically state that at no time did I suggest that Ibadanland needs the proliferation of Obas nor the wearing of beaded crowns. In this regard, I would like to invite attention to the portion of the following pages of my book (pages 83-84) which would appear to have become a self-fulfilling prophecy:

    “I also want to believe that the issue concerning wearing of beaded crowns has become the Sword of Damocles dangling over the Ibadan Traditional System now that some unwary Baales in Ibadanland have been surreptitiously lured into turning themselves into pawns in the hands of politicians with the juicy carrot of wearing beaded crowns even if the beads are nothing more than Chinese-made artificial beads! The hood does not make a monk.”
    Eternal regeneration in a well-restructured manner that recognises the uniqueness of Ibadan Traditional System under the leadership of the Olubadan of Ibadanland is the perfect assurance for a virile and vigorous system in order to cope with the envisaged challenges of modernity.

    “How could I in one breath defend the suzerainty of the Olubadan of Ibadanland and ipso facto the unity of Ibadanland and later support or advise the Governor to “enthrone” a multitude of Obas in Ibadanland thus unwittingly destroying the very fabric of Ibadan unity 
    and weakening the suzerainty of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, seen as a bonding Institution and not just a personality?”

    Chief Theophilus Adeleke Akinyele, OON
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