Just like last year, Ibadan masqueraders, in large number, yesterday converged on the Ali-Iwo family house of the Otun Olubadan, Oba Lekan Balogun, to entertain him and his guests.
The event was against the directive issued by the Olubadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, that only him and Governor Seyi Makinde should play host to the masqueraders this year.
Ahead of the beginning of the annual festival on Monday, Oba Adetunji had through his Personal Assistant/Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Adeola Oloko, said: “Only the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, and the Olubadan of Ibadanland would be entertained by the masqueraders”.
But, the masqueraders turned out in large numbers, coming into the large compound one after the other to entertain Oba Balogun, who was accompanied by his colleague-Obas, including Balogun of Ibadanland, Owolabi Olakulehin, Eddy Oyewole, Lateef Adebimpe, Hamidu Ajibade, among others, to shower gifts on the masqueraders as they danced and prayed for peace, stability and growth of Ibadanland.
The climax of the festival, which included an acrobatic display by the local gymnasts, was the traditional killing of a dog – a ritual statutorily reserved for one of the foremost masquerades in Ibadanland, “Atipako”.
Speaking with reporters after the ritual, which was followed by a downpour, Oba Balogun described the programme as “incredibly fantastic”.
He wondered why the Olubadan should insist that he alone among the members of Olubadan-in-Council should receive the masqueraders in his palace.
The monarch added that Oba Adetunji, ever before he qualified to host the masqueraders by virtue of his position then as “Ekerin Balogun”, had to plead for it from the late Oba Odugade Odulana and the late monarch graciously approved it with inputs from some of the then High Chiefs.
“It is now inexplicable why Oba Adetunji should wish to deny those of us who genuinely qualify to host the masqueraders.
“Olubadan tried it last year and failed just as he has equally failed to stop the outing this year. What he stands to benefit from robbing our tradition which should be promoted by him remains unknown to us. But, thankfully, the custodians of the masquerades had taken it upon themselves to protect the tradition in defiance of his order which lacks logic.
“For the umpteenth time, we are saying we have no problem with him as the Ibadan foremost monarch and the reform being attacked by him has not in any way diminished his status. As Otun Olubadan, I’m behind him just like other high chiefs promoted as Obas and we still retain our titles,” the monarch said.
When Oba Balogun was reminded that ordinarily, the pronouncement of a monarch should automatically be binding on all his subjects and their defiance amounts to insubordination, he said “the popular saying in Yoruba that ‘toba lase’ presupposes that Oba would always weigh his directive before making pronouncement”.