Members of the Olubadan-in-Council on Friday declared their support for the review of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957, embarked upon by Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi.
The high chiefs, 10 in number, led by the next-in-line to the throne, the Otun Olubadan, Lekan Balogun, addressed reporters at Ibadan House, Oke Aremo, stressing that the review will add to the honour and influence of Ibadan as a city.
The council is currently made up of 11 high chiefs. The Osi Olubadan, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, is the only one standing against the review. He currently has a case in court where he is challenging the governor’s steps.
The Olubadan himself, Oba Saliu Adetunji is also against the review.
The high chiefs in support of the review who were present at the press briefing apart from Balogun are Owolabi Olakulehin (Balogun of Ibadan land), Abimbola Ajibola (Osi Balogun), Eddy Oyewole (Asipa Olubadan), Lateef Gbadamosi Adebimpe (Asipa Balogun) and Kola Adegbola (Ekarun Balogun).
The High Chiefs explained that two members of the council died within the last one week while the remaining two were absent with apologies.
The Otun Balogun, High Chief Femi Olaifa, died at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan Friday morning.
The high chiefs insisted that the review enjoys the support of well-meaning Ibadan indigenes who would love to see the throne of the Olubadan attain the title of ‘imperial majesty’ in its real sense.
They also expressed support for the proposed reduction of the number of steps to climb before becoming the Olubadan by half, saying it will help throw up younger people as Olubadan.
Speaking further, Balogun emphasized that the review would not affect the ascendancy system as the high chiefs will continue to move up the ladder until the lucky one mounts the throne of the Olubadan of Ibadan land. He said all other obas will remain under the authority of the Olubadan, adding that the baales who are being elevated also deserve the promotion because of their historical background.
Balogun said: “We the members of the Olubadan-in-Council overwhelmingly support the Oyo State Government and the governor on this issue. The idea is just to elevate Ibadan, to make Ibadan greater.
“Much as we support the government and the governor on this issue, we have no reason to disrespect the Kabiyesi. He remains the Kabiyesi and his honour remains. Whenever we have issues, we talk over them and put them behind us. Differences in opinions do not affect the honour of Kabiyesi or of any one of us. Kabiyesi is still our father.”
He said one of the ills of the current system is that Ibadan will be a one-oba state if its request for the creation of Ibadan State is granted, a situation he described as abnormal.
Olakulehin, who corroborated Balogun, alleged that Ladoja was opposed to the review because he did not want Ajimobi to succeed in the review since he (Ladoja) failed on it during his tenure as governor between 2003 and 2007.
His words: “High Chief Ladoja is opposed to this because he could not do it during his own time as governor. He tried but failed.”
Olakulehin recalled that two members of the council, including himself, met and discussed with Ladoja to drop his opposition to the review in the larger interest of Ibadan land but that he refused.
He also added that Oba Adetunji supported the idea from the beginning but that the monarch suddenly changed his mind.
According to him, Ajimobi has demonstrated in several ways that he loves Ibadan and Oyo State at large. He said Ibadan indigenes will praise Ajimobi at the end of it all.
Balogun also recalled that he was initially opposed to the review believing that the governor had ulterior motive but that on listening to the governor, he discovered that he had no hidden agenda but only the love of Ibadan city at heart. Hence, he turned round to support the review.
All other high chiefs spoke in favour of the review and called on Mogaji’s and other community and opinion leaders to educate their followers on the need to support the review.