By Ola Ajayi

Mixed reactions have trailed the recent decision of Governor Abiola Ajimobi to review the Olubadan chieftaincy declaration which was written in 1957.

Already, a seven-man committee has been set up by the governor with instructions that the reports of the committee should be submitted within four weeks.

Following the inauguration of the commission which is headed by a retired High Court judge, Justice Akintunde Boade, at the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s Office, in Ibadan, last Friday,  many people including politicians, indigenes of the ancient city have read different meanings into the proposed review. While some feel the governor is making a foray into unknown terrain which will probably have dire consequences, others see the decision and the review as the best thing that could happen to the state.

To the antagonists of the review, the most peaceful and orderly traditional council in the South West is about to be tinkered with and this would definitely usher in chaos, bitterness and rivalry that will characterise most traditional institutions, especially ascendancy to the coveted throne of kings.

Olubadan of Ibadan

While inaugurating the commission, Governor Ajimobi appointed a retired permanent secretary in the ministry of local government, Chief Onaolapo Ajibola; and the state’s Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary in the ministry of justice, Mr. Wasiu Gbadegesin, Joseph Oladele, Paul Ayoola, Ogunniyi Ogunjinmi,  Abiodun Adegbaye, and Director of Chieftaincy Matters in the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Olanrewaju Jaiyeola.

Process of ascendancy to Olubadan throne

There are two lines that move up the chieftaincy ladder. They are Civil and Military, otherwise known as Otun and Balogun. Each line moves from stage one which is Mogaji to another stage if anyone on top of the ladder dies. Every one on both lines has 22 stages to climb before becoming the Olubadan.

This orderly arranged ascendancy to the throne of the Olubadan  and can be said to be the best  in Yorubaland. Unlike other cities and villages in the zone where ascendancy to the throne is greeted by fierce battles among intending candidates and lineages, contenders, Ibadan stands tall among them all.

Mixed reactions trail governor’s decision

The first to fault the decision was the former Governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja who warned the governor sternly not to meddle in the affairs of the traditional institution.

The ex-governor, who is the leader of Accord Party said the governor should be preoccupied with solutions to a myriad of challenges facing the administration. He listed the challenges of striking workers of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, unpaid backlog of workers salaries and the ailing economy of the state.

Another man, Odetola Arogundade, a businessman advised the governor to allow  sleeping dogs lie.

He added that previous state governors who try to meddle in traditional institutions end up burning their fingers.

According to him, the governor should take a cue from Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala who had his second term bid truncated because he interfered with the State Council of Obas and Chiefs led by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi.

Others wondered why the governor should wake up to change a system that has been successful over the years.

But some people see it as a good decision saying the obsolete system has denied younger people from becoming Olubadan.

Mrs Tewogbade Alake, a trader at popular Bodija Market says recent actions of Olubadan, especially the issue of the controversial removal of Iyaloja, Chief Labake Lawal, litigations arising from conferment of titles and alleged non-inclusion of other high chiefs who should be part of decision making could have prompted the governor to take such a decision.

On the claims that it was to deprive Senator Ladoja from becoming the Olubadan, the governor dismissed this saying, the decision would, in the long run, benefit people of the state.

Though some people asked why the governor had to start the said review from Ibadan, the governor had earlier said the same review would be replicated in other cities across the state.

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