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OLUBADAN: Let’s Stand Up To Protect Our Traditional Institutions From Govt Clutches | Lanre Ogundipe


The present happenings now in the ancient city of Ibadan, which is still regarded as the largest in Africa, over the Chieftaincy matters especially, in regards to the Olubadan stool, should now be a major concern to all Yoruba race and there is now the need, to protect our traditional institutions, against the interference, of those in powers.

For the past few months now, the issue of the installation of the new Olubadan has been the major focus and has continued to be given attentions, both in the media, public fora, and even among the ordinary people.

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The action of the present government in Oyo state has made people and commentators to wonder what our traditional institutions are turning to, especially, concerning the kingship— who occupies it, the criteria being used and all that is associated with kingships

In the past, no individuals or even those in power both at the state and otherwise could decide for the people who would be their monarch. Even in some towns in Yoruba land, the issue of rotation was not adopted when an Oba goes to his ancestors. It would be the prerogative of all the ruling houses to come forward to struggle for the throne and all the families would present their candidates and it is the oracle of the Ifa divinity that would pick who the crown fits and all would accept, when at times it would even be a person from the family of the immediate late Oba.

Anyone who does anything contrary to what the oracle says would face calamity and may not end well. That is why then they are careful and cautious about their actions when it comes to the issue of tradition and Obaship in Yorubaland.

But for convenience and modernization, rotational was adopted, and that was the beginning of the problem being faced concerning Obaship installations in Yorubaland.

This also gives the government of the day the opportunity to pokenose into Obaship matters and their influence to choose for the people, effect of which has always been disastrous for us as a tribe, which has abandoned what is right and ancestral procedures, in picking who leads us.

Be it as it may, the system of Obaship in Ibadanland has been very unique, and has never been subjected to manipulation, or unnecessary interference from any quarters.

The system of Obaship in Ibadanland is so different that it has become a model, which other towns in Yorubaland may wish to emulate but for the fact that they too, have their age-long traditions and mode of anointing their rulers, it is impossible to copy the unique way of Ibadanland.

Just as it has been argued in different quarters, tampering with the mode of selecting Olubadan of Ibadanland would disrupt a lot of things and could bring chaos and anarchy, as the people of Ibadan are known to be fearless and not bothered about what will cost them to fight for their rights and what they believed in.

That is the reason that all of them have risen in unison to defend the tinkering of the two administrations of Late Governor Abiola Ajimobi and the incumbent one of Governor Seyi Makinde, in the Obaship system of the ancient town, which also serves as the political headquarters of the entire South Western Region of Nigeria.

What is worrisome to them is that the two principals are bonafide sons of Ibadanland, who should know better and the serious implications of their actions.

Before the Ajimobi administration, there was nothing like division in the Obaship system of Ibadanland. The only Oba known to the people is the Olubadan of Ibadanland, which every sons of Ibadan land, aspire to attain, right from when he is made Mogaji, the first step on the Olubadan ladder, in his compound.

This system gives every compound the opportunity to produce Olubadan once the Mogaji has risen to the level of becoming the Olubadan from the two approved lineages of Otun and Balogun.

This is unlike other Yoruba towns, where there are ruling houses, which struggle to produce the king.

What Ajimobi did is still fresh in the memories of the people. He altered the system and he appointed Obas within the Olubadan in council and put them under the Olubadan.

These Obas who are high Chiefs in Olubadan in council, as he arranged it, wears beaded crown with the nomenclature of His Royal Highness, while the Olubadan as the supreme Oba, is addressed as the Imperial Majesty.

When Ajimobi was governor, this arrangement brought a lot of crisis, which the then late Olubadan? Oba Saliu Adetunji Ogungunniso1 rejected and fought against solidly, before his demise.

Also one of the high Chiefs who was to have collected the Obaship, Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, rejected Ajimobi’s offer, as he stood with Oba Adetunji and both believed that it was an aberration to alter the age-long Ibadan system of Obaship, since the only known Oba in Ibadanland is the Olubadan.

This made Senator Ladoja approach the court and the court process was on, when Makinde came and he tactically handled the volatile situation, which could have affected the coronation of the immediate past Olubadan, Oba Lekan Balogun, who was among the high chiefs that took Ajimobi’s crown.

Before Bologun could be made the Olubadan, he and his colleagues that took Ajimobi’s beaded crowns had to relinquish them.

But what seems to have died down was ignited by the present Governor Makinde, who went further than what Ajimobi did, to put a new dimension into the chieftaincy institutions in the entire Oyo State and made the Governor the only consenting authority for the approval of any oba or chief in Oyo State.

For whoever cares to listen, accept or not, Governor Makinde made an outburst during the final burial of Oba Lekan Balogun at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, in Oke Ado, Ibadan to let people know that the new law in Oyo state has vested the sole authority on the governor to determine who becomes an Oba or Chiefs in the state.

According to him, “I have seen the recommendations of Olubadan in council and I have accepted it, and we will as soon as Oba Olakulehin is medically fit, he will be enthroned because due process has been followed.”

“Myself and the House of Assembly on 26th Friday May 2023, we amended the chieftaincy law of Oyo state, so that the governor will not need to meet with the council of chiefs for amendment of declaration of the traditional rulers and myself and the late Olubadan, Oba Mohood Olalekan Balogun we amended the Ibadan chieftaincy declaration.”

This statement by Governor Makinde did not only get people of Ibadanland angry but was viewed as a big slap on the traditional and Chieftaincy institutions, in Oyo state, which many believed could be dangerous for the entire Yoruba race, if allowed to go unchallenged.

As it stands now, the issue of installation of Oba Olakulehin in connection to the ascendancy of Olubadan has turned a test case, for not only Ibadan people, but for the people of Oyo, State and the Yoruba race as an extension.

Since governor Makinde made that pronouncement, it has become the talk of the town and even debates all over the country and even in the diaspora.

His statement has not only been condemned but has been interpreted to mean that he is trying to turn the system upside down.

It has been argued in different quarters that he has no business in determining who becomes Olubadan or even at that, any Oba in the state, despite his so called declaration.

Those who spoke on this, were of the opinions that Ajimobi who started it all, was more careful not to thread on a dangerous ground, which Makinde never cared about, but now, facing the backlash from the people.

From the look of things and comments all over, no single person has supported Makinde on his action.

Rather, it was argued that he has put sentiments and politics into the whole issue, as it was argued that, he has a vested interest on who he wanted as Olubadan, otherwise, there was no need for him to have delayed the announcement once he said due process had been followed.
What has actually boxed Governor Makinde into a corner were statements coming out from many Ibadan indigenes, especially, the Otun Olubadan Senator Rashidi Ladoja who is the head of the Olubadan in council and head of the Kingmakers that the governor has no business in the coronation of an Oba, that it is the prerogative of the Kingmakers, the Oluwo and as a matter of fact all other people and traditionalists concerning, the coronation of an Oba. He pointed out that coronation, is purely traditional without any government interference.

He and others argued that, after the Oba has been chosen and crowned traditionally, the governor either personally or through his representative then, has the duty of presenting a staff of office to the king or the Oba, when he has already been accepted by the people and even already ruling over his people.

As things are now, there has been many school of thoughts as to what will be the next action of the Kingmakers, the traditionalist, with the responsibility of crowning an Oba in Yorubaland, in respect of Ibadan.

It is highly being suggested and considered that the traditional coronation of Oba Olakulehin may commence and he would be crowned and the people of Ibadan would know that they have their Oba in place and would only be awaiting when the governor would give him, the staff of office.

Majority of Ibadan indigenes who supported this step used Ogbomoso as an example and pointed out that it was after the present Soun of Ogbomoso land had been crowned as monarch and already ruling over them, before the governor went to present the staff of office to him.

It was even argued by some elders that the presentation of the staff of office should not necessarily be in a fanfare, or colorful ceremony, and that it could be carried to him in his palace.

They argued that even the presentation of staff of office by the government, is alien to “our” Yoruba tradition and culture”

The ceremony which usually accompany the presentation of staff of office, by government, it was argued, was always a a ploy to spend government money and it gives room for the embezzlement of public funds.

As it is now, governor Makinde is at the People’s court over his new law and Chieftaincy policies, as it is affecting other towns in Oyo state, especially the installation of the new Alaafin of Oyo.

Since the demise of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111, there has never been any concrete limelight as to who will be crowned the next Alaafin simply because of the insinuations that Governor Makinde is the one holding the key to who ever would occupy the Oyo palace.

Also, as it stands now, the whole of Ibadan and the entire people of Oyo, state, in particular, are on standby awaiting their fate on when their new Olubadan designate, Oba Olakulehin, who has been proving to those who said he is not medically fit to mount the throne that he is hale and sound to occupy the throne.

Oba Olakulehin has been making public announcements and appearances to show his fitness.

Governor Makinde was also warned not to be used by some selfish people and should learn a big lesson from his former predecessor Late Governor Adebayo Alao Akala who faced an identical situation, when some people underground wanted to use him to install late Chief Lamidi Adedibu who has not reached the ladder of being crowned the Olubadan.

Akala it was said, rejected the suggestion in his own wisdom, when he was warned, by late Alhaji Azees Arisekola. Alao ,Chief Bode Akindele, Chief Bode Amoo and Chief Kola Daisi among others not to derail the process of ascension to the throne of Olubadan.

Thank God some of these people are still around now and it is certain that they would not fold their hands to see the age-long tradition of installation and ascendancy into Olubadan stool, being bastardized by any individual or institution.

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