In a move indicative of the fact that the ‘Ibadan royal rumble’ is not yet over, members of the Olubadan-in-Council have written a letter detailing their grievances to the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji.
In the letter, the high chiefs who were controversially elevated to the status of obas in 2017 by the Abiola Ajimobi administration, accused Oba Adetunji of rendering them irrelevant by taking decisions and later inviting them only to witness the implementation.
The crisis started in 2017 after the monarch and the Osi Olubadan, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, kicked against the Ibadan Chieftaincy review which elevated the high chiefs to obas. Several court cases followed till a November 2019 High Court judgement obtained by Ladoja, set aside the gazettes that approved the elevation in 2017 and 2018.
With the intervention of notable Ibadan indigenes and palace stakeholders, the high chiefs as well as the Olubadan agreed to give peace a chance with the chiefs dropping their crowns and attending functions with the monarch late last year. But the recent letter signals a roll back of the peace recorded.
The letter entitled: “Our Grievances”, was signed by all the high chiefs except Ladoja.
It reads: ’’As members of the Olubadan-in-Council, it is our responsibility to hold sessions with you on the day-to-day running of the Ibadan traditional system including appointment and promotion of traditional chiefs from Mogaji up to the highest chieftaincy title as well as award of honorary chieftaincy titles among several other functions our positions entail.
“Sadly, our current experience in the palace under your leadership is unprecedented in the history of Ibadan traditional institution and to worsen the matter, all attempts on our part to check the trend have been rebuffed.”
The high chiefs accused the Olubadan of being bias and selective in his observance of the suits already filed to challenge the November judgement.
They said: “In observance of the setting aside of the two gazettes as contained in the consent judgment, the palace recently elevated some mogajis to the position of Jagun and other titles in defiance of the recommendation contained in the gazettes that Ikolaba title should be the entry point to the Olubadan stool.
‘’The palace also recently proclaimed that “the three year-old crisis that rocked Ibadan Chieftaincy System has gone with the wind. Chiefs are no longer addressed as monarchs as this has become unlawful and we have stopped indiscriminate wearing of beaded crowns and coronets.”
They described Oba Adetunji’s utterances as ‘a direct attack on us and our brothers in the less city.
They added: ‘’Needless to say that we did not promote ourselves and the exercise was not conducted on the pages of newspaper, it followed a process and duly formalized. Thus, if at all, anything contrary would happen, the most courteous and civilized thing would not be gangsterism, mediathreat and cheap blackmail as we currently have.
‘’It was the same exercise as contained in the same gazettes said to have been set aside that conferred on us the title of His Royal Majesties and His Royal Highnesses on some of our brothers in the less city that gave Olubadan the exalted title of His Imperial Majesty which till date gladdens the hearts of every son and daughter of Ibadanland. He who goes to equity must go with clean hands and to probate and reprobate at the same time calls to question the principle of justice, fairness and fair-play. It raises ethical question to blow hot and cold at the same time’’, the letter further read.
The high chiefs also recalled a ‘shocking moment’ at the palace early this year, when their joint decision at the council meeting with the Olubadan was upturned without their inputs only to be hurriedly invited to the palace for the promotion and elevation of some chiefs, a decision they said they did not know about.
‘’If we were shocked by the upturning of the council decision without our inputs, more shocks were awaiting us at the palace as the promotion/installation exercise had even begun with two of the beneficiaries already done with their own before our arrival, meaning that, with or without us- the members of Olubadan-in-council, the exercise could hold and it was holding.
‘’To lay credence to this assertion, our seats had already been taken over by other people before our arrival and they had to be forced to vacate them before we could take our positions when we came. Yet, contrary to tradition, we never sat as a council to screen and give approval on who to become what before the exercise was fixed and eventually held! Attempt to express our reservation after the programme was rebuffed as Your Majesty was hurriedly ferried out of sight on the pretense that it was time to rest.
“Kabiyesi would equally recall that there was never a time we sat as a council to deliberate on the appointment of new Araba of Ibadanland. Again, in what has become the pattern of the palace to have concluded and completed on any of such issues before inviting us, the installation was scheduled and held on Friday,17th January, 2020, yet the letter inviting us to the occasion specifically said the council would discuss the appointment. How could discussion and installation
have meant the same thing? We staged a boycott having smelt the deceit,” the letter read.