SINCE the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji Aje Ogungunniso 1 was enthroned on March 4, 2016, he has taken some giant strides that will remain indelible in the anal of history of the populous ancient city of Ibadan. The applause that greeted the heroic deeds of the monarch reached up to the heavens with some of the subjects saying it’s indeed the dawn of a new era. Without sounding hyperbolic, some of the remarkable deeds of the monarch have enhanced the perceptions of people about the city.
Also, the prominent king has taken some controversial decisions especially on removal and conferment of chieftaincy titles which have generated ripples with unending spiral effects. To those who are on the receiving ends of his actions, they are livid with anger, describing them as a bitter pill to swallow. In fact, it appears that the monarch has surpassed the records of other previous kings in conferment of chieftaincy titles. In fact, with about 120 days on the throne, Oba Adetunji has in all likelihood conferred an average of one title per day, if the number of those who have benefited from the milk of his kindness is taken into account.
So many Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic and religious backgrounds have been honoured by this great king. Among those who have been decorated with titles are Governor Abiola Ajimobi and his wife, Florence Ajimobi who were conferred with Aare and Yeye Aare of Ibadanland on December, 17, last year, Dr Azeez Adeduntan, Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Aare Basiro of Ibadanland and just recently the Special Adviser to the governor on Information and Communication Technology, Mr. Oluwafunminiyi Ajao, who was made to climb the first step of Mogaji in the Olubadan chieftaincy hierarchy.
Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki who was represented by Senator Adesoji Akanbi representing Oyo South at the upper chamber. Saraki was honoured with the title of Otun Ajagunna of Ibadanland, Akanbi himself did not return home empty-handed as he bagged the title of Okanlomo of Ibadanland while his wife, Fola Akanbi is now Yeye Okanlomo of Ibadanland, others on the endless list of title holders are Senator Bukar Ibrahim representing Yobe who was honoured with the title of Asaaju Baameto of Ibadanland, Mr Abiodun Awoleye representing Ibadan North Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. He and his wife, Dorcas are now referred to as Jagun Atunluse and Yeye Jagun Atunluse of Ibadanland respectively.
Dr Kase Lawal, as Otun Asiwaju of Ibadanland; Dr Owolabi Fakunmoju, Jagun Basorun of Ibadanland; Otunba J.O Osusina, Agbaakin Basorun of Ibadanland and Mrs Joko Oni as Otun Iyalode Ajagunna of Ibadanland. Alhaji Rasaq Mohammed was decorated as Otunba Basorun of Ibadanland and Alhaja Simbiatu Olanrewaju, Yeye Otun Basorun of Ibadanland.
Apart from these, there are scores of community leaders (Baale). Others installed as new Mogajis were Alhaji Ismail Adebayo, Alhaji Musiliudeen Adekunle, Mr Rasaq Oladipupo and Alhaji Ismaila Alao. Also installed as Baales were Alhaji Lateef Ogunsola(Baale Koloko), Alhaji Ismail Kolawole(Baale Patako Village), Chief Bayo Folarin (Baale Idi-Obi) and Mr Felix Ogunlowo((Baale Badeku town), Alhaji Fatai Lawal (Baale Olomo villages and Chief Raimi Okomalu(Baale Osegere Town.
Breaks 17-year-old jinx:
No sooner had he assumed the throne than he broke a 17-year old royal rivalry between the Olubadan and the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi as he visited him in his palace at Oyo town. Due to the subtle supremacy battle between the two chieftaincy stools, Olubadan visited Alaafin last in 1999 during the reign of the late Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Yinusa Bankole Ogundipe Arapasowu 1.
The monarch, had, a week earlier, paid a similar visit to Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu. He said the visits were to strengthen the cord of unity that bind the Yoruba together and to promote unity among the Yoruba traditional rulers. The monarch promised a more cordial relationship between the people of Ibadanland and Oyo Kingdom, noting that his relationship with Oba Adeyemi dated back to his coronation in 1971.
Promoter of culture:
Apart from other cultural values, Olubadan, to revive Yoruba language which is going into gradual extinction, has made speaking of the language compulsory in his palace; always makes case for creation of Ibadan State and frequently enjoins Nigerians to make agriculture a priority. The valiant king also frowns at piracy saying more punitive measures should be taken against those who pirate the intellectual property of others describing it as an act of economic sabotage.
Olubadan wins award:
In recognition of his role, Oba Adetunji was awarded the UN Ambassador of Nigeria Goes Green award by a member of the National Assembly, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim.
Complaints of his subjects
As heroic as his deeds are in the last one year, they seem to be buffeted by an avalanche of scathing criticisms. There have been numerous grievances over removal and conferment of these titles. The list is almost as long as his good deeds. Now, there area series of court cases challenging some of his actions. Of course, the controversial deposition of Baale of Oloode in Oluyole Local Government, Chief Lukman Ilufemiloye Alao, and the installation of a new person, Odeyemi Wasiu, elicited a bloody clash.
The way he was removed was so sudden and dramatic. He approached the court to seek redress, but he and his family members got the beating of their lives when he attempted to serve the court process on the defendants. The beating was so severe that he was rushed to the Adeoyo Medical Hospital, Ibadan for treatment. Also of note is the case involving Prince Odumosu Michael Olanrewaju of Ataari community in Lagelu Local Government area and Elder Kehinde Johnson Oyagoke who was installed as Baale. Both are still in court.
Another controversial issue which is likely to end in court is the fresh removal of Iyaloja of Ibadanland, Chief Mrs. Patience Labake Lawal and subsequent installation of Chief (Mrs) Isiwat Ameringun to replace her after the initial attempt had failed. The Apanpa, Babalaje of Ojaaba and the General Secretary, Ibadan Joint traders’ Association and Alhaji Nurudeen Lawal Inaolaji, President, Ogunpa Central are not happy about the issue.
In her reaction to the installation, Chief Lawal claimed that the installation did not curry the favour of members of Olubadan-in-Council. She said: “I have been in Ibadanland for the past 50 years. This kind of thing has never happened before. Olubadan set up a committee from Olubadan-in-council and the committee is yet to submit its report. I am very sure that the Olubadan in council is not in support of this installation”.
She further explained that her position as the Iyaloja of Ibadan is a permanent appointment that only terminates at the death of the occupier of that office. “I am still alive and it has never happened that a new Iyaloja would be installed when the incumbent Iyaloja is still alive. So, this is totally unacceptable. The executive members will meet very soon here and discuss the next line of action. But, I assure you, this installation had failed before, it will fail again.
“I am sure that they did not get the approval of Governor Abiola Ajimobi. The governor has told them that they should not install another person. Governor Ajimobi, at a meeting he called on February 22, 2017 shortly after the initial installation was stopped, told them to have the fear of God.”
One of the market leaders, Chief Apanpa, said: “We have been here for quite sometime. We still wonder why Olubadan should install another Iyaloja when the substantive one is still alive. He only wants to bring violence into the market and he has triggered crisis already.”
Another leader, Alhaji Nurudeen Lawal Inaolaji, President, Ogunpa Central market who claimed to have taken a gift of a cow from Chief Lawal to the monarch when he was marking his one year anniversary, said what the monarch did could dent the accommodating mien that Ibadan had been known for. He said: “I don’t support what our father did. After I took the gift to him, he gave me N2,500 as transport fare and personally spoke with Iyalode to thank her. So, it’s a big surprise to us.”
Factions react to new installation
At Ogunpa market, some supporters the two Iyalodes almost clashed. While supporters of the new Iyalode burst into singing, the larger proportion of the traders who are sympathetic to Chief Lawal were raining curses on them telling them that their joy would not last.
Why Iyaloja was removed: Though, the monarch was said to have referred to allegations of financial impropriety against the embattled Iyalode. But Chief Labake insists that they said it is because she is not an Ibadan indigene. But as the embattled Iyalode is kicking, the newly installed Iyalode is full of thanks to the monarch, some members of Olubadan in council and other well wishers.
She said: “I give special thanks to the Olubadan of Ibadan, Iyalode of Ibadanland, Olubadan-in-Council, Wives of the Olubadan, Chief Adisa Oladapo, Babaloja and all members of the Ibadan Traders Association. I also thank my father and Uncle, Gov. Abiola Ajimobi and his wife for their unflinching support”, she said.