By OLA AJAYI, IBADAN
AS the royal tussle over the proposal to have 32 beaded crown-wearing kings in Ibadanland conceived by Governor Abiola Ajimobi continues, 10 out of 11 members of Olubadan-in-Council have thrown their weight behind the governor saying the move would be beneficial to Ibadanland as a whole.
Their stance, however, negates that of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji and Senator Rashidi Ladoja who refused to support the initiative.
While speaking with newsmen at Ibadan House, Oke Are yesterday, all the high chiefs excluding two of them spoke one after the other in support of the review of 1957 Olubadan chieftaincy declaration which occasioned the proliferation of kings.
Led by the next-in-hierarchy to the Olubadan, High Chief Lekan Balogun, the council corroborated all the reasons given by the state government that the move did not have any political undertone but was intended to upgrade the Ibadan traditional system and accord more dignity to the city.
High Chief Balogun who was flanked by Osi Balogun, High Chiefs Ajibola Abimbola, Lateef Gbadamosi Adebimpe, Ashipa Balogun, Kola Adegbola, Ekaarun Balogun, Eddy Oyewole, Ashipa Otun Olubadan and Owolabi Olakulehin, Balogun of Ibadanland said, “we are not talking for the government. But we are absolutely in support of the proposal. In the past, if the Olubadan went to any meeting or function, unlike others who have kings on his entourage, Olubadan attended such function alone. Initially, all of us were against the move but when the governor invited us to a meeting, all of us including the Olubadan of Ibadan were there and we all agreed when we realized that the governor meant well for us”.
“We, as members of Olubadan-in-council, are completely in support of the proposal. Majority of us are with the government on this issue, the idea is to elevate Ibadan. Much as we support the government, we have no reason to disrespect our king, Olubadan of Ibadanland”, he said.
Another member of the council, High Chief Olakulehin, said “what some Yoruba youths said was nothing but mere propaganda. The youths said we want to change the system, nothing changes. If promotion comes, I will move to the next stage. God just called one of us, High Chief Olufemi Olaifa, the Otun Balogun who died. He has stopped being the Otun Balogun. It is Osi Balogun that will replace him. The crisis is blamed on the governor, but it is not so. We are all in support”.
On the divergent view that a former Governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja has on the issue, High Chief Olakulehin alleged that Ladoja was not happy that the review did not take place during his tenure.
He said, “Ladoja tried to do the review during his tenure but he failed. So, he doesn’t like someone who took over the mantle of leadership in the state to achieve the feat.”
Explaining why two other high chiefs were not in attendance, he said, “some of us had a hectic time last night because of the death of one of us, Olaifa. As we are talking now, some of us are with the family.”
When asked who is the consenting authority that will install the new kings, High chief Ajibola said since it was the governor who put the crown on the Olubadan and presented him with the staff of office, it is the same governor who will install the new kings. As of now, the power is in the hand of the governor. So, after the installation, the Olubadan of Ibadan can then start crowning the remaining kings”.