The Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji, has described the crowns given to the 21 new kings in Ibadan as ones made of carton.
According to a statement signed by the Director, Media and Public Affairs to the monarch, Adeola Oloko, the monarch said this on Tuesday while receiving members of the Ibadan Council of Authentic Ibadan Mogajis who paid him a solidarity visit at his palace.
The monarch said he waited for 40 years before he was made a king, urging the high chiefs who were crowned king by the state government to wait for their turn to become kings.
He said: “I started as a Mogaji. I was moving step by step before I assumed the throne after 40 years. I thank God for that. We must all love one another. If you love yourself and hate others, your purpose of love is nothing. I was called by the elders of my family to come and become a Mogaji more than 40 years ago. I rejected it and for three years, they were persuading me.
“In trying to convince me, the representative of my family told me that it could be that one day I would become a king. I then accepted it and became the Mogaji of my family. I waited on God and he made me a king.
“Those who were crowned a few weeks ago know within themselves that they are wearing fake crowns, it is just a carton crown. I began my journey more than 40 years, why can’t they wait for their turn. If you don’t wait for your turn, you will be on the wrong side of destiny.”
The king also chided some Ibadan elders who allegedly said that he consented to the move by Governor Abiola Ajimobi to crown new kings in the city.
The statement added, “The Olubadan described as untrue and unfounded the statement credited to a group of Ibadan elders that Kabiyesi had consented to the controversial chieftaincy review embarked upon by the Oyo State Government resulting in the controversial crowning of 21 new kings.
“Oba Adetunji stated that the elders should not mislead Ibadan people into believing what he did not say, as what he said was that Governor Ajimobi, over whom they had come to plead, was his son and that he would not want a third party intervention over the matter. The Olubadan said for the avoidance of doubt, his opposition to the elevation of high chiefs to kingship status without domain remained the same.
“The Olubadan said that he could not see how he would bless the high chiefs who had refused to wait for their turn before stepping forward to take crowns from the government, contrary to our tradition and custom.
“The king said that the same Ibadan Elders’ Forum stoutly opposed the former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala’s move to elevate six baales in their letter dated April 24, 2009. On page two of that letter titled, ‘The composition of Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs’, signed by Ambassador Olu Sanu and Onaolapo Ajibola, they stated, “The (Ibadan Chieftaincy) system had worked for ages and ensured peace and stability in Ibadan land and the forum would therefore not want the government to tamper with the system in order not to create confusion and ill feeling.’
“The first-class monarch has therefore urged the Ibadan elders to stop contradicting themselves and creating confusion for peace and progress of Ibadan land.”
The Mogajis in Ibadan are however divided over the chieftaincy review. While the group of Mogajis under the aegis of Ibadan Council of Authentic Mogajis are opposed to it, another group, Ibadan Council of Recognized Magajis over the weekend expressed support for the review hailed Governor Ajimobi for making the move.
The Mogajis opposed to the crowning of 21 kings in Ibadan, said at a press conference held on Tuesday that the approach of the government in rushing the process and performing the coronation on a Sunday showed that the government probably had other motives beyond what was said to the people.
The conference was held with a heavy presence of policemen at the venue and roads leading to it. After the conference, the Mogajis moved to the Olubadan palace in a long convoy.
In a press statement signed by a former deputy governor of the state, Azeem Gbolarumi, who is the Mogaji Olugbesan family in Agbokojo area of Ibadan, titled, ‘Political onslaught on Olubadan of Ibadan chieftaincy declaration: Threat to unity and monolithic structure in Ibadan land,’ the group stated that the white paper released by the government on the review was an attempt to distort history, culture and monolithic tradition which was unique to Ibadan land.
The group faulted crowning of baales, who are under the Mogajis, and high chiefs. It described the move as erosion of the authority of the Olubadan as the prescribed authority over minor chiefs in accordance with sections 5 and 22 of the Chiefs Laws of Oyo State 2000. The group said that the power given to the Olubadan by the white paper was like ‘a bull dog without teeth to bite.’
“It is our prayer that the Oyo State Government rescind and reverse the decision and maintain the status quo ante bellum, a position before the creation of hostilities by the Oyo State Government. The high chiefs that were promoted have no territorial governance and cannot exercise the right of obaship. No socio-economic development can be associated with a warrant oba.
“It is a creation of political expediency. There is no authority to be exercised over a particular territory, in other words, no legitimacy can be conferred on them by the citizens, thus negating the principle of ruler and subject. Any government that is trying to lure chieftaincy matter into political manoeuvring in whatever guise is igniting a Pandora box of violence full of gunpowder, capable of exploding any time.”
At the Olubadan’s palace, Gbolarumi said Ibadan people only wanted a reversal of the decision as only the Olubadan and his chiefs had the authority to do what the government did.
He said, “What the Ibadan people are asking is that the government should revert to the original chieftaincy system in Ibadan land. If there is anything that will change it, the Olubadan-in-Council should preside over such matter. It is a declaration and not chiefs laws.
“A government cannot sit in the morning over declaration matter and make people king in the evening. In the whole of Yoruba land and Nigeria, it is not heard that a government will enthrone people as king. The people must decide who will be their king through a traditional system.
“Anyone crowned by a government should know that he is not wearing an original crown. In Yoruba land, a king is not chosen in the way this government has chosen those kings. Why must we deceive ourselves? Even if the government has a good intention, the way it has approached this matter will make the people believe that it has an ulterior motive.”
The Coordinator of the group, Abdul-Jelil Adanla, who is the Mogaji Adanla, said that the visit to the king was also to let him know that the Mogajis were with him.