The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, on Sunday conducted a mass coronation for 21 new obas in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Following the review of the Olubadan chieftaincy system, 32 new obas made up of 21 former baales, and 11 high chiefs who are members of the Olubadan-in-Council, emerged.
The Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji and one of the 11 high chiefs, the Osi Olubadan, Oba Rashidi Ladoja, were not at the event as they stand against the review.
Each of the high chiefs will now be addressed as “His Royal Majesty” while the former baales will be addressed as “His Royal Highness”. They would be under the Olubadan of Ibadanland who now bears the title “His Imperial Majesty”
The former baales are those whose communities have history of near-independent origin but which are part of the larger Ibadan land.
Speaking at the event, the review of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1959, will further elevate the throne of the Olubadan while bringing traditional governance closer to the people.
The governor said he did not change the history of the chieftaincy system but elevated system. He explained that the coronation of the new obas will not undermine the authourity of the Olubadan nor alter the Olubadan succession arrangements in any way.
The governor accused some individuals of manipulating the minds of the Olubadan after he enjoyed the understanding of the monarch with a mutual agreement after series of meetings.
The usual practice of moving up the ladder still remains as the high chiefs still maintain their top positions as they operate as obas, the most senior will be elevated from a second class oba to the position of the Olubadan once there is vacancy at the top.
He said: “We have on record that in 1974, the Military Government of Western States instituted a Commission of Enquiry, the recommendations of the Commission were adopted and changes effected. In 1981, there was the Justice Adenekan Ademola Commission by the then Military Government. The recommendations of the Adenekan Ademola Commision were accepted and changes effected. In 1993, Governor Kolapo Ishola set up the Oloko Commission of Enquiry to review Chieftaincy Declarations across the state. The recommendations were received by Former Governor Lam Adesina. Upon becoming Governor, Governor Rasheed Ladoja suspended the White Paper and abrogated the recommendations of the Oloko Commission. Governor Rasheed Ladoja later set up the Adio Commission whose recommendations did not see the light of day”
The 21 newly crowned obas include eight high chiefs and 13 baales.
Oba Balogun, who spoke on behalf of the new obas, maintained that the new system will make add more prestige to the Olubadan traditional system.
His words: “What we are doing is catching up with the rest of Yorubaland. This has been done in all other states of the Southwest. If we are asking for Ibadan state, are we going to have only a king for the state?
“If the Olubadan is going out now, he will not go out alone because all kings in Ibadan will now go with him as the Imperial Majesty.
“The governor has done the city a good favour. We are not contesting anything with the monarch. He remains the father of all of us in Ibadan and history will not forget Ajimobi for what he has done. I still remain the Otun Olubadan so nothing has changed. The only thing that has changed is fashion and nomenclature.
“Instead of being an high chief, I became a king under the Olubadan. The crown is just a fashion to give respect to our position and prestige to the Olubadan who is the head of all kings in Ibadanland”
The new Royal Majesties who received their staffs of office are Oba Lekan Balogun, who is also the Otun Olubadan Balogun of Ibadanland; Oba Akinloye Owolabi Olakuleyin, who is the Osi Balogun of Ibadanland; Oba Tajudeen Ajibola, the Ashipa Olubadan of Ibadanland; Oba Eddy Oyewole and the Ekerin Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Abiodun Kola-Daisi.
Others are: the Asipa Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Latifu Gbadamosi Adebimpe; the Ekarun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Amidu Ajibade and the Ekarun Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Kolawole Adegbola.
The new Royal Highnesses are the Onijaye of Ijaye, Oba Lasisi Akano; the Oniroko of Iroko, Oba Ismaila Opeola; the Onikereku of Ikereku, Oba Moses Akinyosoye; the Ololodo of Olodo, Oba Mudasiru Adebayo and the Elegbeda of Egbeda, Oba Victor Sunday Okunola.
Others are Onido of Ido, Oba Gbolagade Babalola; the Alakufo of Akufo, Oba Olabamiji Thomas; the Oloke of Okelade-Okin, Oba Wahab Okedina; the Alawotan of Awotan, Oba Dauda Omotoso and Olofa of Offa, Oba Adeboye Salako.
Top government functionaries who attended the event include the Deputy Governor, Moses Adeyemo; Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Olalekan Ali; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr. Gbade Ojo; Commissioners for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, his counterpart at the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Bimbo Kolade and other top government functions.
Other notable individuals and prominent Ibadan indigenes include: Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Micheal Adeyemo who led other lawmakers; Chief Adebayo Akande, Chief Lamidi Ajadi; a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Niyi Akintola; former President of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Chief Bayo Oyero; Chief Bayo Akande, Oloye K.O Latunji, Alh. Gbenga Arulogun, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Oyo State, Pastor Benjamin Akanmu; the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Daud Akinola; the mogaji of Ile Ajimobi, Alhaji Wasiu Ajimobi and APC state chairman, Chief Akin Oke who was represented by the State Secretary, Alh. Mojeed Olaoya.
Other dignitaries present include a former Military Governor of Lagos and Ogun states, General Raji Rasaki; Chief Lanre Oyelade and a member of the lower house of of the National Assembly, Hon. Saheed Fijabi.
The Onijaye of Ijaye; the Onigbeyin of Igbeyin both from Abeokuta, Ogun State and the Olofin of Isheri, Lagos state, were some of the monarchs present.