- As protesters storm palace
- Says 21 new kings wearing carton crowns
Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, has denounced the promotion of Baales to Obas, including the illegitimate coronation of 21 new obas in Oyo State by Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
The paramount custodian of the traditional intuitions in Ibadan land said that crowns of the newly-installed 21 new kings in Ibadanland by Oyo State Government as mere cartons.
Oba Adetunji stated this when he received a group of protesters, who stormed his palace on solidarity visit, following controversies trailing the review and reform of Olubadan chieftaincy system.
The protesters, including youths, some mogajis and Integrity Youths of Ibadanland, addressed a press conference in Ibadan before they proceeded to the palace of Olubadan.
They said the exercise was to register their displeasure on what they described as ‘verbal assault’ against the stool of the Olubadan, by Governor Abiola Ajimobi. The police, however, provided security during the protest.
Prominent mogajis (family head) present at the press briefing include a former Deputy Governor of the state, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarunmi, Moshood Akere, Molade Adeyemi, Olawale Oladoja and Jelili Adanla.
Others include Abass Oloko, Olasegun Ademola, Badmos Adewale, Ifelere Osho and Mogaji Lamidi Olalekan.
Olubadan said: “I started as a mogaji. I moved step by step before I assumed the throne, after 40 years. I thank God for that.
“We must all love one another. If you love yourself and hate others, your purpose of love is nothing. I was called by the elders of my family to come and become a mogaji, more than 40 years ago.
“I rejected it and for three years, they approached me for the role.
“In trying to convince me, the representative of my family told me that it could be that one day I would become a king. I then accepted it and became the mogaji of my family. I waited on God and he made me king.
“Those who were crowned a few weeks ago know within themselves that they are wearing fake crowns, it is just a carton crown.
“I began my journey more than 40 years, why can’t they wait for their turn. If you don’t wait for your turn, you will be on the wrong side of destiny.”
Gbolarunmi also said: “We are here to commiserate with the Olubadan of Ibadanland and at the same time to pay a solidarity visit to him. The purpose is to inform the government that we wanted to be heard and to be seen that they should maintain the status quo.
“They should go back to the status quo of the traditional chieftaincy means of Olubadan. If at all the government has good intention, people will term it something else because they have to refer to the 1959 chieftaincy declaration laws.
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“If at all they want to make any amendment, the Council of Chiefs is in the position to amend and take it back to the government for approval. Where is it heard in the history of Ibadan, or even the Yorubaland that the government is responsible for coronation of obas and baales”
“I have never heard it; I don’t know if you people have heard it. Maybe, I have not even heard my history very well. But, maybe somebody can tell me. With the ways he has gone about it, people will not believe he has good intention.”
Meanwhile, at another forum, Oba Adetunji described as ‘untrue and unfounded,’ a statement credited to Ibadan Elders’ Forum (IEF) that he consented to the review of Olubadan chieftaincy system carried out by the Oyo State Government.
The review led to the promotion of 11 members of Olubadan-in-Council to beaded-crown wearing monarchs, and 22 Baales (village heads) to coronet wearing kings. But, eight members of the Olubadan-in-Council and 13 former Baales have been installed by Governor Abiola Ajimobi, making a total of 21 new kings that are subject to Olubadan.
The Oba’s Director of Media and Public Affairs, Adeola Oloko, in a statement in Ibadan on Tuesday, said: “The first class monarch, who acknowledged receiving the elders at his Popoyemoja, Ibadan palace on Thursday, September 7, 2017, did not say what the elders quoted him to have said. Oba Adetunji stated that the elders should not mislead Ibadan people into believing what he did not say, as what he said was that governor Ajimobi over whom they have come to plead is his son and that he would not want a third party intervention over the matter.”
Citing the Olubadan, the statement further read, in part: “For the avoidance of doubt, my opposition to the elevation of ‘high chiefs’ to kingship status without domain remains the same, as I maintain my stand. I cannot see how I would bless the ‘high chiefs’ who have refused to wait for their turn before stepping forward to take crowns from the government, contrary to our tradition and custom.
“The crown which I wear has its root from somewhere. I cannot bless a crown that has no root. You will recall that the same Ibadan Elders’ Forum stoutly opposed former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala’s move to elevate six Baales in their letter dated April 14,, 2009.
“On page 2 (ii) of that letter entitled: ‘The composition of Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs’, signed by Ambassador Olu Sanu and Onaolapo Ajibola, they stated: ‘The (Ibadan chieftaincy) system had worked for ages and ensured peace and stability in Ibadanland and the forum would therefore not want the government to tamper with the system in order not to create confusion and ill-feeling.
He explained that Baales in Ibadanland were village heads, nominated by Mogajis, who were compound heads in the city. Mogajis, who were traditional fathers of Baales were themselves not yet titled chiefs of Ibadanland.
According to Oloko, Oba Adetunji “has, therefore, urged the Ibadan elders to stop contradicting themselves and creating confusion for peace and progress of Ibadanland.”