The rift between the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, and his estranged high chiefs, may end soon following the bold steps of some of the chiefs who were installed by obas by former governor Abiola Ajimobi, visited the palace on Monday afternoon without their crowns.
The last time the chiefs were at the palace was in May 2017 before the controversial review of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957 elevated them to beaded crown obas who were installed in a mass coronation ceremony in August 2017.
The Olubadan and one of his high chiefs, the Osi Olubadan, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, had rejected the review and refused to recognise the chiefs as obas. They also challenged the review in court.
The new move by the high chiefs may be in line with the condition for peace recently given by the Olubadan. The monarch had advised the high chiefs to drop their crowns if they want to return to the palace as members of his advisory council.
Present at the Monday reconciliation meeting which lasted about 40 minutes were the Otun Olubadan, Lekan Balogun and Ekarun Olubadan, Amidu Ajibade. Ladoja was also present. The Olubadan reportedly received them with open arms while dancing to music from palace singers and musicians.
A statement issued and signed by the Olubadan’s Personal Assistant and Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Adeola Oloko, revealed that an all-inclusive meeting where the remaining high chiefs would be present was fixed for Monday, August 19, 2019 after Eid-el-Kabir.
It is also understood that the Otun Olubadan urged the Olubadan to summon the meeting of Olubadan-in-Council wherein conflicts would be resolved within the council.
The Olubadan reportedly thanked the returning high chiefs for coming, and stated that his support for reconciliation was premised on the need for unity, progress and solidarity of Ibadan. He expressed belief that the high chiefs were trapped into the conflict in the first place.
Recall that the chieftaincy review by the Ajimobi government elevated the high chiefs to beaded crowns and coronet wearing obas alongside 38 other baales across the state.
The government argued then that the approval was in line with the exercise of powers conferred on the governor by Section 28(1) of the Chiefs Law Cap 28, Vol. 1 Laws of Oyo State. The government said the approval has been gazetted with Oyo State Notice No. 20-67 of Oyo State of Nigeria Gazette No. 3, Vol. 43 published March 29, 2018 and endorsed under the governor’s command by the Secretary to the State Government, Ishmael Olalekan Alli.
According to the government, 26 Obas will wear beaded crowns based on the approval, while the remaining 22 will wear coronets.