By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The four-year-old crisis rocking the Ibadan chieftaincy institution was on Thursday laid to rest, after members of the Olubadan-in-Council promoted to Kings from their High Chiefs position agreed to drop the titles.
The decision was taken at a meeting held at Olubadan’s Palace in Oja’ba by members of the Olubadan-in-Council, which also had in attendance the coronet-wearing Obas who were Baales in the suburbs of Ibadan before their elevation and some Mogajis.
Osi-Balogun Olubadan, High Chief Tajudeen Ajibola, who briefed journalists on the outcome of the meeting, said they agreed with the governor on his decision to revert to the original concept, stressing that the original concept remains constant always.
He recalled that the process of nominating the next Olubadan which the kingmakers concluded on Tuesday, and passed to the appropriate quarters of government was done according to the original concept under reference as all the kingmakers signed their respective titles as High Chiefs.
He said: “We agreed with the governor. All the processes leading to the nomination of successor to the late Olubadan were in line with the original concept of line of hierarchy in accordance with the Olubadan Chieftaincy declaration.”
Ajibola, who is one of the kingmakers and a lawyer by profession, said commenting on the case in court “is subjudicial,” noting, ”it has nothing to do with the original concept of hierarchical status in the succession plan to the Olubadan throne.”
He maintained that what was taken to court was an infringement on the fundamental human rights of the respective plaintiffs, asking the court to determine the lawfulness of judging a case in the absence of the direct beneficiaries of the issue in contest.
Ajibola said the governor could do his job in line with the Olubadan Chieftaincy declaration while the case in court which was adjourned for further hearing is allowed to run its course.
The controversy began in 2017 when the administration of late former Governor Abiola Ajimobi embarked on the reform of the age-long Ibadan traditional system, which culminated in the elevation of the High Chiefs to Royal Majesties and Baales to Royal Highnesses.
Despite the then government’s position that all the stakeholders were carried along, the late Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, and Osi-Olubadan, who is also a former governor in the state, Sen. Rashidi Ladoja, opposed the reform and it was subsequently challenged in the court of law.
Though the case was yet to be finally determined, Governor Seyi Makinde, on Tuesday, during a condolence visit to the Popoyemoja Palace of the late Oba Adetunji publicly denounced the reform carried out by his predecessor.
Makinde said that he would toe the part of the late Oba Adetunji on the issue, which was total rejection of the reform and a revert to the pre-reform status of all the personalities involved.
Six members of the Olubadan-in-Council-High Chiefs Owolabi Olakulehin (Balogun of Ibadanland); Tajudeen Ajibola (Otun Balogun); Lateef Adebimpe (Osi-Balogun); Kola Adegbola (Ashipa Balogun); Eddy Oyewole (Ashipa Olubadan); and Hamidu Ajibade (Ekarun Olubadan) attended the meeting, with 20 Royal Highnesses and 15 Mogajis.