The 90th birthday celebration of the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji, which held on Sunday, witnessed reunion between old friends and political foes but was tainted by the absence of his High Chiefs who were recently made beaded crown obas by the Oyo State Government.
The Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, was the only High Chief present. While the other High Chiefs claimed they were not invited to the occasion, Chairman of the Planning Committee , Professor Taoheed Adedoja insisted that invitation cards were duly sent to them
“We handed all the invitation cards to High chief Lekan Balogun and I personally confirmed from them including High Chief Edward Oyewole who said they received the invitation”, he was quoted as saying.
The occasion was however graced by scores of eminent personalities, including first class traditional rulers who showered encomiums on the 41st Olubadan of Ibadanland.
The event held at the International Conference Center, University of Ibadan. Before the reception programme , prayer was offered at the Popoyemoja, Ibadan palace of the Olubadan , where the Chief Imam of Ibadanland , Alhaji Abdul-Ganiyu Agbotomokekere led other clerics to pray for the monarch and the state.
The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, his wife, Florence and members of his cabinet, were in attendance. In his short speech, Ajimobi wished the monarch well describing as a loving , amiable father and prayed for longevity on the throne.
Among the dignitaries present were members of the Council of Lagos Traditional Chiefs led by Oba Onikoro of Lagos, Oba Adesoji , the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi , the Olugbo of Ugbo , Oba Obateru Akinruntan , the Eleruwa of Eruwa, Oba Samuel Adegbola, former Governor of Kano , Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso represented by Dr. Muktar Umar , and General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army , Major General Chukwudili Azinta represented by Brid-Gen. Soyele.
Others include former governors Adebayo Alao-Akala and Senator Rashidi Ladoja who is the Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, a legal luminary , Chief Niyi Akintola SAN, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Engr. Seyi Makinde, former Secretary to Oyo state Government (SSG) , Barrister Sarafadeen Ali, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chief Bayo Adelabu , All Progressive Congress chieftain, Engr. Joseph Tegbe, the Prelate Emeritus of the Methodist Church ,Nigeria , Sunday Ola Makinde , and Justice L.O. Aransi .
Also present are members of the Ibadan socio cultural groups , Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes( CCII) and Ibadan Elders Council ( IEC) led by CCII President General , Chief Yemi Soladoye and Ambassador Olu Sanu , Professor Soji Adejumo, wife of the late Ibadan politician, Alhaja Bose Adedibu, Senator Gbenga Babalola, the Baale Ekotedo , Elder Taye Ayorinde, Chief Ayo Afolabi, the Aare Musulumi of yorubaland, Alhaji Dawud Akinola , Chief Adegboyega Arulogun, former Head of Service , Chief Tajudeen Olasukanmi Aremu and the gospel music maestro and owner of Fresh FM, Yinka Ayefele amongst others .
In his address, the President General of the CCII, Chief Yemi Soladoye described the monarch as a unique ruler , and prayed for good health and many more years of service to humanity.
On the feud between the monarch and his High Chiefs, Soladoye enjoined the Olubadan to use the occasion of the 90th birthday to ensure that the crisis was resolved before the advent of a new administration in the state in May 2019.
He said ” The CCII knows that Kabiyesi is not against reforms , but considering the peculiar situation of Ibadan chieftaincy arrangement and identified three areas of – authorization , jurisdiction, and code of conduct must be addressed for any review of the Olubadan chieftaincy law to succeed.”
But the absence of the High Chiefs gave an indication that the feud over the review of the Chieftaincy review laws which made the Chiefs Obas against the approval of the Olubadan and Senator Ladoja, was far from over.
This is inspite of the fact that earlier in the month, the council met at the Olubadan’s palace for the first time in 12 months and stated that the crisis was near resolution.
One of the High Chiefs who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he and his fellow High Chiefs were never invited to the weeklong programme of event by the Planning Committee and as such it would be impolite to attend any of the event.
He reportedly went on to blame the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Committee, Niyi Adewole who also is the counsel to the Olubadan in the court case challenging the review of the Ibadan chieftaincy laws .
“How will they invite us when the deputy chairman of the committee was the one who is handling the case that took us to court. The other time he was asked some questions about us , he said he do not even know how to address us … So, how will he support the idea of inviting us ,” he was quoted as saying.