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Making A Mountain Out Of A Molehill of Ibadan Chieftaincy Tradition | Morufu Smith

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Ibadan’s age-old tradition of mixed emotions of mourning and rejoicing at the demise of a reigning Olubadan and the expected coronation of a designated successor has been receiving knocks from some judgemental elements who insist that the tradition portrays Ibadan as being insensitive to loss of humans. What a conclusion!

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Ibadan chieftaincy system is one which does not give room for delay, rancour and conflict. Once a reigning Olubadan joins his ancestors, the designated successor from the deserving line begins to prepare for coronation immediately. The system is republican in practice as traditional chiefs take turns to ascend Olubadan throne after having risen through the ladder in either of Otun or Balogun line. It’s a point to state that it is not all traditional chiefs on the chieftaincy ladder that can be fortunate to reach the pinnacle of the chieftaincy which is Olubadan throne as some will die before it gets to their turn. That is how divine destiny has a total say in who gets to the throne and who will not.

Once the reigning Olubadan transits to the great beyond, the train of personnel serving the deceased Olubadan, including the praise singers, the instruments of royalty and the drummers move to the residence of the designated successor to congratulate him and to begin to work towards the process of his coronation. It’s also said that on the second day of the reigning Olubadan’s demise, a delegation from the compound of the deceased Olubadan will visit the compound of the designated successor to congratulate him. While all these are happening, Ibadan is both in mourning and rejoicing, which attests to a reality of human existence that joy and sorrow are sparing partners in our daily affairs.

It is a tradition that has subsisted till date because of the unique nature of Ibadan chieftaincy succession. It is like in a modern government which does not give room for a vacuum. This issue goes beyond the sentiment of mourning for many days. Life will not pause or be suspended because someone, no matter how important, died. When Herbert Wigwe, the late CEO of Access Bank, died, the sentiment of his death did not stop Access Bank branches from opening for business the second day of their CEO’s death while an acting CEO was immediately appointed. The continuation of life and its activities are more important than a deceased personality. In a hospital where two women were delivered of babies, and one baby died immediately and the other baby remains alive, will the death of the first baby prevent the mother of the one alive from rejoicing? It’s a stark fact of life that humans are helpless to control.

What however gladdens the heart in this Ibadan tradition is that Ibadan has a way of balancing the system. The deceased Olubadan receives a befitting burial and the designated successor receives a momentous coronation. No Olúbàdàn dies young, always dying at ripe ages and their transition is a celebration of life not a melancholy of mourning. No matter what naysayers may say about Ibadan chieftaincy tradition, Ibadan will continue to mourn less and celebrate more the life of any deceased Olubadan and rejoice in full measure with any designated successor to the exalted throne of Olubadan.

May Allah grant our departed Imperial Majesty eternal bliss in his grave and grant our designated successor a complete health and long life to ascend Olubadan throne and reign long for the benefits of Ibadan and its people.

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