Five days to the expiration of the tenure of Governor Abiola Ajimobi who made them bearded crowns, the elevated Obas have claimed that former Governor Rashidi Ladoja attempted a classification of Oyo State chieftaincies during his tenure.
In a statement signed by the Otun Olubadan, Oba Lekan Balogun and the Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Owolabi Olakunlehin, the obas said they had no problem with the Olubadan “on the issue of beaded crown”.
The statement read in parts: “Immediately Governor Rashidi Ladoja assumed duty as the governor of Oyo State, he wasted no time to suspend the implementation of Justice Adio Commission’s report submitted to Governor Adesina which provided avenues for baales to be elevated to crown-wearing obas and which was not considered till today.
“The public may also wish to know that High Chief Rashidi Ladoja, during his tenure as the executive governor of Oyo State, attempted the classification of chieftaincy paramount traditional rulers among the Alaafin of Oyo, the Olubadan of Ibadanland and the Soun of Ogbomoso; first class traditional rulers and chiefs; second class traditional rulers and chiefs and third class traditional rulers.
“The Oyo State government stated its reason for the above classification in consonance with the reality of the present times and the need to enhance the status of obas and chiefs in the state, hence, the state government has upgraded some chieftaincies in the state and as a result classified it into paramount, first class, second class and third class.”
It stressed further that the state government classified the chieftaincies in Otun Olubadan line as well as Balogun line, “including baales like Onijaiye of Ijaiye, Baale Lalupon, Onikereku of Ikereku and Baale of Erunmu (47 in all) as first class obas and chiefs as at November 23, 2005.
“Constitution of the Oyo State Obas and Chiefs into Five Zonal Traditional Council like Oyo Zonal Traditional Council to be headed by the Alaafin of Oyo as chairman; Ibadan Zonal Traditional Council to be headed by the Olubadan of Ibadanland as Chairman; Ogbomosho Zonal Traditional Council to headed by the Soun of Ogbomosoland; the Oke – Ogun Zonal Traditional Council whose chairmanship is to be rotated by the Okere of Saki, the Aseyin of Iseyin and Iba of Kisi on yearly basis and the Ibarapa Zonal Traditional Council whose chairmanship is to be rotated by the Eleruwa of Eruwa, Olu of Igboora and whoever is the current chairman of Ibarapa North Traditional Council on yearly basis.
“The Oyo State government stated its reason for the above zonal arrangement of Obas and Chiefs as its efforts to promote peaceful coexistence among traditional rules in the state and to fill the vacuum that, hitherto, existed between the Local Government Traditional Councils and the State Council of Obas and Chiefs”.
Stating that the veracity of the claim could be found on page 50 and 51 of the Nigerian Tribune of Sunday, December 4, 2005, it said: “The public should know that when Governor Abiola Ajimobi decided to elevate the High Chiefs and some baales to obas wearing beaded crowns and coronets, he called the Olubadan and the High Chiefs to a meeting (but High Chief Rashidi Ladoja was absent) on the June 14, 2017 where His Excellency told us his intention. We (High Chiefs) saw the advantages expressed by Governor Ajimobi and agreed that it would be to the best interest of Ibadanland in general and to the Olubadan in particular. The Olubadan of Ibadan also agreed with the governor’s intention on the matter.
“It was, however, disturbing and embarrassing to see that High Chief Ladoja masterminded the Olubadan to later reject the move to elevate the High Chiefs or baales in Ibadanland with a declaration that only Olubadan is entitled to wear beaded crown in Ibadanland by law and tradition which we strongly believe is untrue.
“From the above, High Chief Adewolu Ladoja was only mischievous and hypocritical because of the success of His Excellency, Governor Abiola Ajimobi in his desire to elevate the High Chief and baales to crown and coronet wearing obas through the Oyo State Chieftaincy Law Volume 1 Cap 28, subsection 28(1) whereas he, (Ladoja) failed in his attempt to do same when he was governor of Oyo State in 2005 due to his impeachment.
“The public is also aware that Olubadan has benefitted from the outcome of the Justice Boade’s Commission of Enquiry that elevated the High Chiefs and Baales to his Royal Majesties and His Royal Highnesses and the title of His Imperial Majesty being used by Olubadan since then till today.
“In the light of the above, we (Olubadan High Chiefs) have no grudges with His Imperial Majesty, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, on the issue of beaded- crowns and we assure the general public that whenever His Imperial Majesty, the Olubadan of Ibadanland invites us to his palace we are ready to attend and cooperate in order to pave the way for peace, unity and development to reign supreme in Ibadanland.