Ladoja Absent as Makinde Re-elevates 10 Ibadan High Chiefs to Kings

Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State re-opened the record earlier set by late Governor Abiola Ajimobi, five years ago in the state by elevating the status of members of the Olubadan-in-Council to crown wearing high chiefs (kings).

It would be recalled that the then Olubadan, late Oba Saliu Adetunji and some of his chiefs, among whom were the then Otun Olubadan (now Olubadan), Lekan Balogun; Balogun of Ibadan land, Owolabi Olakulehin and others who are also members of the Olubadan-In-Council had been engaged in a conflict.

The crisis reached its peak in August 2017 when late Governor Ajimobi, presented staff of office to about 21 chiefs who were promoted to the status of kings.

The crisis between late Oba Adetunji, and his high chiefs was put to rest when Ajimobi’s successor, Makinde, withdrew their crowns as part of the condition to settle out of court.

The Court of Appeal in Ibadan had on August 23 last year, referred parties in the controversial coronation to a lower court.

Meanwhile, Governor Makinde about four months ago, sought the approval of the state House of Assembly to amend section 28 of the Oyo State Chieftaincy Law 2023 to allow traditional heads to wear beaded crowns based on the requests to the state government by the high chiefs.

The governor said his request to seek the approval of the Assembly to review the chieftaincy law was in order to further improve the process.

He said the proposed amendment, when fully effective, would empower him as the sole authority without consultations with the Chiefs to grant approvals for wearing of beaded crowns.

By this move, Ibadan has one Olubadan that becomes the imperial majesty and ten senior ranking obas.

The ascension line to the Olubadan remains unchanged.

The Otun and Osi line continue in the historical path to obaship.

The installation which had for centuries maintained sole status of Obaship as represented by the Olubadan of Ibadan, witnessed a mammoth crowd of jubilant audience, held at the ancient Mapo Hall, Ibadan on Friday, with the presence of traditional rulers from neighbouring Ogun and Osun States who stormed the city to rejoice with the new kings.

In what appears to be the elevation of the Olubadan of Ibadan to the imperial majesty status therefore making Ibadan, the most populous Yoruba city with 11 local government councils rank alongside other cosmopolitan cities in Nigeria with scores of Obas, Makinde said: “We are not changing the history but promoting and elevating the Ibadan traditional hierarchy. The coronation of the new Obas will not undermine the authourity of the Olubadan nor alter the Olubadan succession arrangements in anyway. Our administration is rather consolidating and elevating the status of Olubadan.”

With a stiff resistance from one of the High Chiefs in the Olubadan-In-Council, Rashidi Ladoja who opposed the development, not a few residents and indigenes of Ibadan had also voiced their opposition to the re-enthronement of more obas in Ibadan, with the former Governor Ladoja challenge Makinde’s effrontery.

Makinde noted that the consenting authority is the Olubadan and not the governor.

He added that the elevation was in line with what the people of the ancient city requested.

“We are here for one thing, the Olubadan of Ibadan is crowning his High Chiefs as Obas. It is not the government that is giving the High Chiefs crowns.”

“I am not aware of the crown. I am not in the line. What is happening today is internal. If the royal father said there is a need for reform, me, as the governor, I will support them. Out of the 11 High Chiefs we have in Ibadan, 10 of them have been crowned today.”

“Even in a democracy, the majority will have its way and the minority will have their say and we have had them, anyone that is not satisfied can go to Court.”

He said the Chieftaincy Law did not give any new constitutional power to the governor but to the Olubadan who will be the overall head of the newly crowned monarchs.

The governor also said the coronation and promotion of the obas have the support of major stakeholders in the city, adding that Mogajis, community leaders and many prominent indigenes of are all stakeholders who demanded the elevation and promotion of the Olubadan chieftaincy titles to be in line with modern trend and realities.

While congratulating the Olubadan for making history, Governor Makinde charged the newly promoted kings to do the needful for their subjects.

He said anyone who feels aggreived over the development should seek redress in court, boasting that such bid will fail as due process was followed in the review of the Chieftaincy laws of the state.

Earlier, the Olubadan, Oba Balogun’s whose address was delivered by a former Head of Service in Oyo State, Alhaji Tajudeen Aremu, said: “We are here to reconstruct history because, what we are doing today, as historical as it is could not be said to be novel, but the history has to be reconstructed to make it enduring and sustainable and hopefully, it shall surely be.”

“We have a very unique system in our traditional set up in Ibadan which continues to evolve, responding to dynamics of demand as occasions may dictate and this has been confirming the agelong aphorism that the only thing permanent in life is change.”

“In our responses to the changes over the years, there had always been issues on forging consensuses as arguments for and against always ensue which makes the ongoing controversy on today’s event a welcomed one being our familiar pattern and style in Ibadan.”

“In short, whatever we are today in Ibadan as far as our traditional system is concerned are products of periodic changes we have passed through and there is no shying away from making this our own contribution to the system with the conviction that posterity will record us rightly,” the monarch said.

Olubadan noted that just like the previous exercise generated controversy, Friday’s event has not been spared as well with arguments for its propriety or otherwise.

He explained that the fact that the issue refused to die despite the controversy that trailed it up to the point of his coronation in 2022, means it is an idea that has some merits in it which is worthy of embrace.

“It is sad to note that our people, especially those arguing against this exercise fail to note the differences between this current approach and the previous exercise as they cynically dismissed it as a repeat of what was done before, whereas, the singular fact that, Olubadan, as the prescribed and consenting authority of Ibadan traditional system originated today’s exercise among other changes are more than enough to change the narratives.

“This particular occasion is not for a long speech where one can go on educating the public on the imperatives of what we are doing here today, but suffice to say and happily too that there’s a consensus on the need for some of our Baales in Ibadan land to wear crowns and be addressed as Obas.”

“Again, we all subscribe to the ancient fact and tradition of our High Chiefs being superior to our Baales and even, administratively, the High Chiefs representing the Olubadan as the Acting Chairmen in our various Local Government Traditional Councils superintend over the Baales. Would the Baales crowned as Obas be removing their crowns when going for meetings to be presided over by High Chiefs?”

“We cannot do without reference to the indignation our High Chiefs suffer at public gatherings where they are usually denied their well deserved courtesies and treated shabbily, where an Oba of a community not as populous as my Aliiwo family compound is given all respect and reverence simply because there’s a crown on his head and addressed as ‘Oba”

“I have heard people hammering the uniqueness of our Ibadan traditional system and painting the picture of trying to alter it with what we are doing with this elevation. Far from it. The system remains as it is as nothing changes in our succession plan and the titles with which our High Chiefs are elevated remain, both in nomenclatures and functions,”Oba Balogun said.

The monarch also allayed the fears that the stool of Olubadan is losing respect, honour and prestige because of the elevation of the High Chiefs to beaded crown wearing obas, saying:

“I don’t think it can happen or I don’t see it happening because the stool of Olubadan is a sacred one that nobody dares desecrate for whatever reason or purpose.”

“What’s more, today’s High Chiefs are tomorrow’s Olubadans and the law of what you sow, you will reap or the admonition of our forefathers that when you want to go and bury your senior brother nakedly, take along your younger brother (Eni to ba fe lo sin egbon e ni ihoho, ko ranti mu aburo re lowo) should remain our guide.”

“Suffice to add that today’s programme is two-phased with the elevation of some of our Baales in Ibadan land to Obas as Royal Highnesses coming up as the phase two and at a later date. So, my brother Baales’ minds should be at peace and begin their own preparation for a similar outing within the shortest possible date,” Olubadan added.

Oba Balogun emphasised that the elevated High Chiefs will retain and maintain their respective positions on the ladder to the Olubadan of Ibadan land stool.

The newly elevated high chiefs are from the Balogun and Olubadan lines.

From the Balogun line are, Oba Owolabi Olakuleyin, Balogun of Ibadanland; Oba Tajudeen Ajibola, Otun Balogun of Ibadanland; Oba Lateef Adebimpe, Osi Balogun of Ibadanland; Oba Kola Adegbola, Ashipa Balogun of Ibadanland; Oba Dada Isioye, Ekerin Balogun of Ibadanland and Oba Abiodun Azeez, Ekarun Balogun of Ibadanland.

From the Olubadan line, the new Obas are, Oba Eddy Oyewole,Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland; Oba Abiodun Kola-Daisi, Ashipa Olubadan of Ibadanland; Oba Hamidu Ajibade, Ekerin Olubadan of Ibadanland and Oba Adebayo Akande, Ekarun Olubadan of Ibadanland.

The newly elevated high chiefs had earlier received blessings from the head of the Labosinde family, said to be the traditional kingmaker of Ibadanland.