From Bola Ogunlayi, Regional Editor, South West
The Oyo State Governor Senator Abiola Ajimobi has presented certificates and staff of office to 21 among 33 Baales who were recently elevated to the position of Obas in Ibadan, as he reiterates the position of Olubadan as Supreme and shall be recognised as His Imperial Majesty in Ibadanland.
The governor also said that the new development followed the recommendations and adoption of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry earlier inaugurated by the governor. Meanwhile, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji and former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, who is a member of Olubadan-in-Council were absent at the coronation.
The epoch-making event that took place at the popular Mapo Hall was witnessed by eminent personalities from within and outside the state, sociocultural groups, opinion leaders as well as sons and daughters of the ancient city of Ibadan.
Although, it was envisaged that the absence of the duo, the Paramount ruler, the Olubadan of Ibadanland and the Chief Rashidi Ladoja may put a limit to funfair nature of the event but it was historic given the way and manner people of the state thronged to the event arena.
According to the Governor of the state, “I am therefore highly delighted to be here at this momentous occasion where history is being made in Ibadanland. Today, we are all gathered to witness the Crowning ceremony, Presentation of Certificates and Staff of Office to the High Chiefs who are members of the Olubadan–in Council and Thirteen (13) Baales in Ibadanland who have been elevated to the position of Obas. This is an epoch making event in the annals of the history of Ibadanland and a practical demonstration of our administration’s commitment to the enhancement of dignity and honour of the Chieftaincy Institution in Ibadanland and Oyo State in general.”
The event marked a turning point in the history of the ancient city, which used to have the Olubadan of Ibadanland as the only beaded-crown-wearing Oba, in its 11 Local Government areas with a population of about four million. The 11 members of the Olubadan-in-council were elevated to the status of Oba, with the prefix of ‘his royal majesty,’ but only eight were available for the event, following the death of two high chiefs and the refusal of Osi Olubadan, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, to be part of the process. 13 ancient baales from different towns in Ibadanland were also promoted to the position of Obas, with the prefix of ‘his royal highness.’
Senator Ajimobi pointed out that his administration is not changing history, tradition, culture but consolidating traditional institution and the exalted position of the Olubadan of Ibadan as the Imperial Majesty in Ibadanland, the Olubadan-in-Council and the Chieftaincy Institution without altering the traditional succession and ascendancy system of the Olubadan Chieftaincy structure.
“I wish to state categorically that we are not changing history, we are not changing tradition, we are not changing the culture of Ibadanland; rather, we are elevating and consolidating our traditional institution, the exalted position of the Olubadan of Ibadan as the Imperial Majesty in Ibadanland, the Olubadan-in-Council and the Chieftaincy Institution without altering or tinkering with the traditional succession and ascendancy system of the Olubadan Chieftaincy structure.”
He clarifies that, all the newly promoted Obas will be under the authority of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, who will be the only ‘imperial majesty,’ while none of them will add the suffix ‘land’ to his title. Due to the vacancies in the stool of nine chieftaincies, who have also been elevated to the status of obaship, the nine towns were not represented at the occasion.
The governor said that the state government followed due process in conducting the exercise, stressing that all extant laws had been complied with, while he said that the exercise was not contradicting any law of the land. The exercise was not targeted at whittling down the influence and authority of the Olubadan as the supreme monarch in Ibadanland.
The governor went down memory lane to give life to the new development by giving an account of the Chieftaincy Reviews that had taken place in the state before the current administration.
Ajimobi’s words: “It will interest you to know that our administration is not the first to walk down this road. Successive governments in Oyo State have engaged in reviewing the 1959 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration made pursuant to the 1957 Chiefs Laws and other related Chieftaincies in Ibadanland.
“We have on record that in 1974, the Military Government of Western States instituted a Commission of Enquiry, the recommendations of the Commission were adopted and changes effected. In 1981, there was the Justice Adenekan Ademola Commission by the then Military Government. The recommendations of the Adenekan Ademola Commission were accepted and changes effected.
“In 1993, Governor Kolapo Ishola set up the Oloko Commission of Enquiry to review Chieftaincy Declarations across the state. The recommendations were received by Former Governor Lam Adesina. Upon becoming Governor, Governor Rasheed Ladoja suspended the White Paper and abrogated the recommendations of the Oloko Commission. Governor Rasheed Ladoja later set up the Adio Commission whose recommendations did not see the light of day.”
He stated further that his administration was only taking a step forward and in the right direction to address the loapsidedness in the Chieftaincy institution.
“Our administration is not reinventing the wheel, we have simply like others before us, embarked on a review of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration in response to the yearnings of well-meaning stakeholders, such as the Ibadan Elders Council, Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) and eminent Sons and Daughters of Ibadanland such as Chief T. A. Akinyele, Late Chief Omowale Kuye, the Former Otun Olubadan, all except one member of the Olubadan – in Council who desire to elevate the traditional chieftaincy institution in Ibadanland and position it comparably and competitively amongst other ancient Yoruba cultures who have embraced new and modern systems. They have been truly inspired by the words of Lidia Bastianich when she said “ Todays’ Innovation are tomorrow’s tradition”.
“The event we are witnessing today is also borne out of our administration’s burning desire to redress the lopsidedness in the number of Beaded Crown Obas in Ibadanland vis-à-vis other zones in the state. While some zones have several Beaded Crown Obas, Ibadanland, which is renowned as the Political and Traditional headquarters of Yorubaland, has only one (1) Beaded Crown Oba.
“On the strength of these, I inaugurated a Judicial Commission of Inquiry on May 19, 2017, with a mandate to review the existing 1957/59 Chieftaincy Declaration of Olubadan of Ibadanland and other related Chieftaincies in Ibadanland. The commission was given four (4) weeks within which to conclude the assignment and submit its report. But as a result of the wide acceptance and popularity of the initiative, as demonstrated by the attendance, presentation of memoranda and participation at the Public hearing of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, I graciously approved an extension of time for the completion of the assignment, as requested by the Commission.
“It is interesting to note that out of the one hundred and eighteen (118) memoranda received by the commission, ninety-one (91) memoranda requested for additional Beaded Crowns, while the remaining twenty seven (27) hinged on the review of ascendancy into the Olubadan Stool. In the end, based on merit, the Commission recommended the elevation of Eleven (11) High Chiefs in the Olubadan-in-Council and Twenty One (21) Ancient Baales to the position of Obas. The Oyo State Government represented by its Technical Committee which reviewed the recommendations added one more Baale for promotion based on historical antecedents. This is the Baale of Ejioku, a place where the Commission’s report itself highlighted its historical antecedents. Consequently, Government approved the promotion of a total of 33 new Obas.
“To avoid any form of confusion, misnomer or wrong appellations, the Olubadan of Ibadanland will be addressed as His Imperial Majesty, other members of the Olubadan – in Council will be addressed as Royal Majesties (with Beaded Crown), while the promoted Baales will be addressed as Royal Highnesses (with Coronets). It is worthy of note at this point that presently, the Stools of Nine (9) Chieftaincies, who have been promoted to Obaship, are yet to be filled.
“The logical question at this point is what do we stand to gain with this review. This review enhances the status and title of the Olubadan as the supreme ruler of Ibadanland who shall be addressed as His Imperial Majesty, the Olubadan of Ibadanland. Indeed, of what significance is a Field Marshal without Generals? Ajimobi quarried.
The Governor reiterates that the supremacy of the Olubadan of Ibadanland and conforms to the cultural realities and traditional settings within Oyo State and beyond as we have multiple Obas in Egbaland, Igbajo, Ijebu, Lagos and in all the Yoruba States of the Federation.
According to him, “With 33 new Obas, today’s event provides further justification for the upgrade of Ibadanland to the status of a State. Our new Royal Majesties and Royal Highnesses will from today be accorded due local, national and international recognition with prestige deserving and worthy of their status as Royalties. The attendant socio–economic benefits of this review cannot be overemphasized as individual domains of our new Obas, Ibadanland and Oyo State in general are bound to witness tremendous growth and development, particularly at the grassroots.”
He charged the new Obas to use their elevated Royal positions to promote peace and unity of the Citizenry as well as do away with anything capable of tarnishing their esteemed position. We also congratulate the Olubadan of Ibadanland and advice that Kaabiyesi should remain the father of all Ibadan citizens and not allow himself to be used by disgruntled as observed in his recent utterances which tend towards the political. It should be noted that Obas are not expected to play politics.
Those newly crowned are: His Royal Majesty, Oba Lekan Balogun, Otun Balogun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Akinloye Owolabi Olakulehin, Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Tajudeen Ajibola, Osi Balogun, Oba Eddy Oyewole, Ashipa Olubadan, Oba Latifu Gbadamosi Adebimpe, Ashipa Balogun, Oba Abiodun Kola Daisi, Ekerin Olubadan, Oba Kolawole Adegbola, Ekaarun Balogun, and Oba Amidu Ajibade, Ekarun Olubadan and others.