Sunday, August 27, 2017 8:30 pm
All roads led to the ancient Mapo Hall in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State as eminent indigenes, sons and daughters of the city gathered to witness the crowning, presentation of certificates, and staff of office to 21 out of 33 newly emerged obas of different status and grades.
The event was held under tight security.
However, the Olubadan of Ibadanland who was the father of the day, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji Aje-Ogungunniso 1, and the former Governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, the Osi Olubadan, who was among the elevated obas were absent.
At exactly 2: 24pm, the new staffs of office of different colours, heights and shapes emerged at the event while the new monarchs filed in and paraded at exactly 2:42pm. Quite conspicuous were two types of crowns: pure white crowns and multi-colour crowns.
Of concern was the thickness of the cloud which scared the mammoth crowd in attendance. But Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State dispelled the fear saying, “I want to tell you that this rain will not fall. The magicians who want to use their magic to fall rain will not succeed”.
Ajimobi assured Olubadan that the elevation of some of his high chiefs would not affect his entitlements which he referred to as “Isakole”, warning him against being used and misguided by some disgruntled politicians.
“After this event, I will pay a visit to Olubadan to greet him and explain things to him. He is a good father. But let me tell him to be weary of some politicians who have surrounded him with the aim of misleading him. We beat him in politics and this time around, we have beaten him again”.
Performing the official presentation of the staff of office to the new monarch, Governor Ajimobi said, “On this note, in the exercise of the powers conferred on me by Section 28(i) Cap. 28 Vol. 1 of the Chiefs Law of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000, I have promoted 33 Chiefs to Obas in Ibadanland today August 27, 2017. This is in line with the provisions of the recently amended 1959 Declaration of Olubadan and other related Chieftaincies in Ibadanland, and the Government White Paper as conveyed in Government Gazette No 14, Notice 27 Vol.42 of 23rdAugust, 2017 and Gazette No 15 Notice 28 Vol. 42 of August 24, 2017 respectively”.
The governor charged the new Obas to use their elevated royal positions to promote peace and unity of the Citizenry urging them to desist from anything capable of tarnishing their esteemed position.
He added, “We also congratulate the Olubadan of Ibadanland and advise that Kaabiyesi should remain the father of all Ibadan citizens and not allow himself to be used by disgruntled politicians as observed in his recent utterances which tend towards the political. It should be noted that Obas are not expected to play politics”.
The governor, who declared that he was overwhelmed by a deep sense of history, culture, and tradition, noted that the event marked a turning point in the history and cultural heritage of Ibadanland saying, “It is a day that great sons and daughters of Ibadanland have come together with a strong sense of patriotism, assembled in the historical, cultural and symbolic Mapo Hall to elevate, to uplift, to transform, to reposition the Chieftaincy Institution of Ibadanland. Our resolve to reposition the Ibadan Chieftaincy institution is substantiated by the words of the famous author, Henry James when he said “A tradition is kept alive only by something being added to it”.
He said, “I am therefore highly delighted to be here at this momentous occasion where history is being made in Ibadanland. Today, we are all gathered to witness the crowning ceremony, presentation of certificates and staff of office to the high chiefs who are members of the Olubadan – in Council and 13 Baales in Ibadanland who have been elevated to the position of obas. This is an epoch making event in the annals of the history of Ibadanland and a practical demonstration of our administration’s commitment to the enhancement of dignity and honour of the chieftaincy institution in Ibadanland and Oyo State in general”.
“This is an epoch making event in the annals of the history of Ibadanland and a practical demonstration of our administration’s commitment to the enhancement of dignity and honour of the chieftaincy institution in Ibadanland and Oyo State in general”.
He stated categorically that his administration was not changing history, tradition and culture of Ibadanland, rather, elevating and consolidating traditional institution, the exalted position of the Olubadan of Ibadan as the Imperial Majesty in Ibadanland, the Olubadan-in-Council and the chieftaincy institution without altering or tinkering with the traditional succession and ascendancy system of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Structure.
The governor went down the memory lane to establish that reviewing of Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration started before he became a governor adding, “It will interest you to know that our administration is not the first to walk down this road. Successive governments in Oyo State have engaged in reviewing the 1959 Olubadan Chieftaincy Delcaration made pursuant to the 1957 Chiefs Laws and other related Chieftaincies in Ibadanland”.
He continued, “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 Commission 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 Rashidi Ladoja suspended the White Paper and abrogated the recommendations of the Oloko Commission. Governor Rashidi Ladoja later set up the Adio Commission whose recommendations did not see the light of day.
“Our administration is not reinventing the wheel, we have simply like others before us, embarked on a review of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration in response to the yearnings of well meaning stakeholders, such as the Ibadan Elders Council, Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) and eminent Sons and Daughters of Ibadanland such as Chief T. A. Akinyele, Late Chief Omowale Kuye, the former Otun Olubadan, all except one member of the Olubadan – in Council who desire to elevate the traditional chieftaincy institution in Ibadanland and position it comparably and competitively amongst other ancient Yoruba cultures who have embraced new and modern systems.
“They have been truly inspired by the words of Lidia Bastianich when she said “Today’s’ Innovation are tomorrow’s tradition. The event we are witnessing today is also borne out of our administration’s burning desire to redress the lopsidedness in the number of beaded crown obas in Ibadanland vis-à-vis other zones in the state.
“While some zones have several beaded crown obas, Ibadanland, which is renowned as the Political and Traditional headquarters of Yorubaland, has only one beaded crown Oba”.
According to him, in other to redress the lopsided in the monarchical institution, the government inaugurated a judicial commission of inquiry on May 19, 2017, with a mandate to review the existing 1957/59 Chieftaincy Declaration of Olubadan of Ibadanland and other related Chieftaincies in Ibadanland. The commission was given four weeks to submit its report and eventually spent six weeks.
The commission received 118 memoranda out of which 91 requested for additional beaded crowns, and 27 hinged on the review of ascendancy into the Olubadan Stool.
“In the end, based on merit, the Commission recommended the elevation of 11 High Chiefs in the Olubadan-in-Council and 21 ancient Baales to the position of Obas. The Oyo State Government represented by its technical committee which reviewed the recommendations added one more Baale for promotion based on historical antecedents.
“This is the Baale of Ejioku, a place where the commission’s report itself highlighted its historical antecedents. Consequently, government approved the promotion of a total of 33 new Obas”, Ajimobi explained.
Ajimobi categorically declared, “To avoid any form of confusion, misnomer or wrong appellations, the Olubadan of Ibadanland will be addressed as His Imperial Majesty, HIM, other members of the Olubadan – in Council will be addressed as His Royal Majesty, HRM, with beaded crown, while the promoted Baales will be addressed as His Royal Highness, HRH, with Coronets. It is worthy of note at this point that presently, the stools of nine chieftaincies, who have been promoted to Obaship, are yet to be filled”.
He reiterates the supremacy of the Olubadan of Ibadanland and conforms to the cultural realities and traditional settings within Oyo State and beyond as we have multiple Obas in Egbaland, Igbajo, Ijebu, Lagos and in all the Yoruba States of the Federation.
Justifying the elevation of the royal offices in the city, Ajimobi said, “This review enhances the status and title of the Olubadan as the supreme ruler of Ibadanland who shall be addressed as His Imperial Majesty, the Olubadan of Ibadanland.
“Indeed, of what significance is a Field Marshal without Generals? With 33 new obas, Our new royal majesties and royal highnesses will from today be accorded due local, national and international recognition with prestige deserving and worthy of their status as royalties.
“The attendant socio – economic benefits of this review cannot be overemphasised as individual domains of our new obas, Ibadanland and Oyo State in general are bound to witness tremendous growth and development, particularly at the grassroots.
“Let me assure all the Kabiyesis that this Government will not relent in its efforts in transforming and repositioning Oyo State. I am confident that history will be kind to all of us. Generations yet unborn will appreciate us for being part of this process that has rewritten the history of our dear Ibadanland”.
The governor closed his speech with a quotation from the immediate past President of United States of America, Barack Obama, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time, we are the ones we’ve been waiting for, we are the change that we seek”.
Earlier, in his speech, the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Bimbo Kolade, who rolled out Governor Ajimobi’s chieftaincy titles to include: Aare Atunluse and Fitanbale of Ibadanland, and Pegunrun of Oyo State, said that the governor is noted for being the first in many things in Oyo State.
According to him, Governor Ajimobi is the first to be elected for a second term of office in the history of Oyo State, the first to install a king in Ado-Awaye after 34 years and first to elevate high chiefs and Bales in Ibadan to beaded crown obas. He said that the governor would still do many things before he leaves office in 2019.
Though the 11 members of the Olubadan-in-council were elevated to the status of Oba, only eight were available for the event, following the death of two high chiefs and the refusal of Osi Olubadan, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, to be part of the process.