By Ola Ajayi, Ibadan
As the events marking the centenary birthday of the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade I, was rounded off, yesterday, a new record was set in the history of Ibadan. Since the ancient city started the monarchical system in 1820 with Baale Maye Okunade as the first king, Odulana is the first king to attain the age of 100 years on the throne. Others who reigned before him were actually old due to the well-arranged traditional structure that is adjudged the best in the South-west.
This orderly arranged ascendancy to the throne of the Olubadan makes Ibadan unique in Yorubaland. Unlike other cities in the zone where crowning of kings is preceded by fierce battles by contenders, Ibadan is not known for such. There are two lines to the throne of the Olubadan: civil and military, which is translated to Egbe Agba and Balogun.
Title holders are appointed on rotational basis to occupy the stool immediately a king passes on. The next to the Olubadan and most senior on both lines are the Otun Olubadan and Balogun. The remaining chiefs in the Olubadan-in-Council are the Osi Olubadan, Asipa Olubadan, Ekerin and Ekarun, as well as Otun Balogun, Osi Balogun, Asipa Balogun, Ekerin and Ekarun Balogun, Seriki and Iyalode.
Right from the commencement of the activities marking the 100th birthday of the monarch, Ibadan was a beehive of activities as notable Nigerians started trooping into the city to felicitate with the monarch. Among them were President Goodluck Jonathan, Senator David Mark, the Senate President, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Adamu Muazu; Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Emeka Ikhedioha; and the Minister of State, FCT, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide (SAN).
Jonathan, who could not attend the thanksgiving service held at the Anglican Communion of St. Peters, Aremo, Ibadan as a result of the Abuja bomb blast, used the opportunity to advise other geo-political zones in the country to learn from the South-west, where Muslims and Christians live together in peace. The President, represented by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, said, “Yoruba land is a symbol of peace where Muslims, Christians and traditional worshippers embrace one another.
If there is no religious violence in Yoruba land, there is no reason for religious violence anywhere in the country”. Also at the thanksgiving service were the Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Senator Musiliu Obanikoro; Minister of Communication and Technology, Omobola Johnson; former governors of the state, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Dr. Omololu Olunloyo; Seyi Makinde, PDP governorship aspirant; Dr. Ola Makinde, former Prelate of Methodist Church; Archbishop, Ibadan Catholic Archdiocese, Most Revd. Gabriel Abegunrin; and Oba Obateru Akinruntan, Olugbo of Ugboland.
Jonathan described the Olubadan as a very unique monarch being one of the very few around who were born when the Northern and Southern Protectorates were amalgamated. According to him, it is the clean mind, good character, clear conscience and good record of service, that the monarch has that made him enjoy longevity. Governor Abiola Ajimobi appreciated the life worthy of emulation that Oba Odulana lives.
Speaking on the celebrant, he said the monarch played a pivotal role in his administration’s transformation and restoration programmes. “In the Olubadan is a demonstration of the elusive concept of Omoluabi. The Omoluabi, for the purpose of clarification, is that man who carries nobility, human goodness and trust around him like a pouch. With kabiyesi, you know where you stand as he does not suffer fools gladly.
In him you find the discipline of a trained soldier, the consummate nobility of a gentleman and the astuteness of a man of honour. His own politics transcended the type found on the streets today; it was the politics of a statesman. To a statesman like him, politics could not be worth its salt until it transforms the lives of the collective citizenry and repositions society on the path of transformation,” the governor said. Ajimobi also described the Olubadan as one of the first people to acknowledge the urban renewal initiative of his administration.
“As a fitting demonstration of his acknowledgment of our effort in this regard, Kabiyesi bestowed on me the traditional title of Atunluse of Ibadanland. While delivering a short sermon, Most Rev. Segun Okubadejo described the celebrant as an embodiment of virtue who has served mankind meritoriously. He said, attaining centenary in one’s lifetime is an uncommon phenomenon.
“This is unique because it is 100th birthday of royalty. We should offer sacrifice of jubilation and songs of praise to God for what He has done in the life of our king. Looking at the hopelessness, restlessness, insecurity in the world; looking at a world where life expectancy is now 49, it is worthy of praise for somebody to attain 100 years” Turning to the celebrant, the cleric said, “You are a unique and distinguished personality. You are the first Olubadan to clock 100 years on the throne and the first Olubadan to serve his subjects meritoriously.
Making reference to the book of Isaiah 3:10, he said the word ‘righteousness’ in the text does not connote perfection but connotes someone who has done justice to all. “Your impeccable record and invaluable contributions to social and other facets of life would remain indelible. As you live on, you must praise God because he has been so faithful to you. Praise Him because his undying love is still available to you till you breathe your last”, he said.
Also rejoicing with the monarch, some members of Olubadan-in-council, High Chief Eddy Oyewole, Ekerin Olubadan of Ibadanland, and Oloye Lekan Alabi, Aare Alaasa of Ibadanland, said, “Kabiyesi is a successful and a private individual. He was a teacher, soldier, member of House of Representatives, Parliamentary Secretary to the late Premier of the Western Region, Sir Tafawa Balewa in the first republic and he climbed about 22 steps before he became the Olubadan of Ibadan. We thank God for God’s mercy for him. What other contribution can anybody make that he has not made”.