By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN—THE seemingly intractable royal crisis in Ibadan Traditional Council over promotion of high chiefs to beaded-crown wearing kings has spread its tentacles beyond the sprawling city as a respectable traditional ruler in Yorubaland, the Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi threw his weight behind the action of Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, who installed the kings.
The monarch, who was at the presentation of cars to the new kings in Ibadan did not mince words as he wondered why the ancient city had been so impervious to the promotion of its high chiefs.
The June 1886 Treaty
Oba Adeyemi recalled how he fought passionately for the promotion of the Oyo State Obas till they were crowned kings in many areas of the state. But, lamented that out of all cities across the state, it was only Ibadan that refused to be crowned.
He, however, noted that it was achievable after much sweat.
Alaafin said when the crowning was done for the then Olubadan of Ibadan on the 7th December 1976, there was stiff opposition then and he told them of the 6th of June 1886 Treaty that gave the Olubadan more recognition than others.
The Alaafin said: “Today’s gesture, therefore, brings to fore, the struggle for the recognition and honour for the traditional institution and we are grateful for this.”
Olubadan faults Alaafin’s interference
But his comment has drawn the ire of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji who wondered about the interference of the Alaafin of Oyo in the affairs of his own kingdom. Though the Ibadan monarch was wary of exchanging words with Alaafin on the pages of newspapers, he felt his royal colleague acted outside his jurisdiction.
Speaking through his Director of Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Deola Oloko, he made the Alaafin realize that the traditional institution in Ibadan is quite different from that of Oyo town.
Oloko said: “This is not Oyo town. This is Ibadan and we have a peculiar way we do our things here. If he knows that the installation of the new kings is a good omen, let him (Alaafin) as the paramount ruler recommend it to Governor Ajimobi that all members of his Oyo Mesi (kingmakers) be given beaded crowns. After all, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.”
Oyo Govt withholds Olubadan’s salary?
Oloko further said that for the past 11 months, the Olubadan’s salary and salaries of his palace staff which is usually paid through the 11 local government areas in Ibadan have been withheld. Oloko noted that while Olubadan remains unperturbed about his suspended salary, he feels strongly for the palace staff whose salaries have equally been suspended.
When asked if Olubadan was given his own car, Oloko explained that the monarch was left out and was not even invited for the programme.
“We did not even know about the programme until it was held”, he said.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi used the forum to say emphatically that Oyo State being the traditional and political headquarters of the Yoruba race must continue to play the pacesetting role of elevating the status of our traditional rulers so that they will be reckoned with among the comity of the royal fathers in the country.
Respect the rule of law, Olubadan tells Ajimobi
Reacting to his comments at the presentation of the cars to the new kings, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, disagreed with the governor when he said that the controversial approval of beaded crowns by the Oyo State Government was irreversible.
Olubadan, who is still hopeful on the series of cases filed against the review of Olubadan declaration, said: “My position is that if a case is in court, it is no longer open for discussion as this statement is automatically subjudice. If it is not reversible, why did the two parties go to court?”
Oba Adetunji also faulted the statement that his disapproval of the crowning of the traditional rulers was political.
He said: “My humble opinion is that the procedure for approval of beaded crowns for any chief or Baale in Ibadan was not discussed at the Olubadan-in-Council level. If it was discussed, how would any of the High Chiefs bear two titles at the same time? Oba and High Chief? This is an abomination.”
The Olubadan, who stated that while he was not opposed to provision of cars for traditional rulers by the State Government, however, appealed to Governor Ajimobi to prevail upon “the controversial kings to release the eleven months salaries of palace staff which they have been withholding along with Olubadan’s salary cheques, even when the allocations for traditional councils have been released.”
From all indications, it is clear that the last has not been heard about the installation of the kings until the court delivers judgment in all the cases before it.