By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN — THOUGH, efforts are ongoing to reconcile the Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji and his estranged new kings after almost two years of royal tussle over the elevation of the latter from high chiefs to crown wearing kings, it is not yet Uhuru as there are grey areas that are left unaddressed in the peace move.
The reconciliatory move was initiated by some Ibadan indigenes in the Diaspora who believe that the dirty linen of the traditional council of the city should not be washed in public.
They are of the view that in spite of the seeming irreconcilable differences, dialogue should not be ruled out.
But, as things are, it appears that the two parties see the move as a form of marriage of inconvenience.
On the side of the Olubadan, it appears that the reconciliation move is being forced down his throat.
These tell tale signs emerged from the meeting.
Vanguard gathered that the Ibadan monarch was not willing to see his members of Olubadan-in-council.
A source at the meeting said despite the fact that the monarch had been told earlier on about the proposed visit of the new kings, he reportedly did not come over immediately to meet his high chiefs.
According to the source, the new kings were waiting for the move of the monarch for more than two hours.
The reluctance of the Olubadan to have discussion with the new kings became a subject of discussion within the renovated Popoyemoja palace as they were putting heads together on how to convince the king to come down and meet his high chiefs. This created a form of division among them. While some felt that the king should come down from his high horse, some are averse to their stance.
Again, one key figure on the Olubadan’s side, a former state governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja was not at the all important meeting.
It was gathered that his case was fixed for that day. Some on the side of the new kings see his absence, at the meeting, as unwillingness on his part to allow reconciliation.
Many loyalists of Governor Abiola Ajimobi accuse Ladoja of using the crisis to settle political score with the governor.
On the side of the new kings, in as much as they want the crisis to be over, they believe that their elevation from high chiefs to crown wearing kings is not negotiable as they insisted that nothing should touch their crowns.
Secondly, they feel being undermined if the monarch still addresses them as high chiefs, when in fact they were duly crowned by the same governor, who crowned the Olubadan.
In all the correspondence from the office of the Olubadan, they are still being addressed as high chiefs.
The new kings believe as far as this continues, it means the Olubadan does not want any reconciliation.
One of the kings who spoke with Vanguard said: “We decided to be at the meeting just to make the whole world know that the whole reconciliation lies with the king. We just want peace to reign. When we got to the palace, he refused to come down to us.
“It was his children that prevailed on him to attend to us. At least, the whole world now knows we have played out parts well. Ladoja, who is a brain behind the whole thing, was absent from the meeting. We were told that that day was fixed for his case. So, everything remains as it is. Nothing has changed.”
When asked if any specific date was fixed for another meeting, he said there was nothing like that.
The children of the king, who are willing that the crisis should come to an end, want the reconciliation process to be done without media attention.
Those at the botched meeting included the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun; the Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Owolabi Olakukehin; the Ekaarun Olubadan, Oba Amidu Ajibade Salaudeen, and others.
Before the new kings went to the palace of Olubadan, about six of them had earlier met at the ancient Mapo Hall where they took a common position.
To show that most subjects of the monarch were willing that all parties in the feud should sheathe their swords, the palace drummers and other subjects expressed joy the crisis was over.
Apart from His royal majesty, the Ekerin Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Abiodun Kola-Daisi, who had reinstated the local government allowances of the Olubadan, others are yet to do so.
Oba Kola-Daisi, who is the Chairman of Oluyole Local Government Traditional Council in a letter addressed to Oba Kola Adegbola, Ekarun Olubadan of Ibadanland, said: “To continue in the present stance savours of nothing, but conspiracy by his junior Kabiyesis against the highest traditional authority in Ibadanland bequeathed to us by our most noble ancestors.”
But his stance contradicted the earlier unanimous decision taken by the new kings, who said they would withhold the LG allowances and emoluments due to Oba Adetunji until he recognized their new status.
Out of the eleven local government areas in Ibadan, only two councils where the former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Oba Kola-Daisi head their traditional councils are not withholding the LG allowances of the paramount ruler.
The kings said: “It is not automatic that he (Olubadan) should become king. In fact, anybody from the chieftaincy title of Ekerin from both lines can be picked as Olubadan of Ibadan. We recommended him to the governor before he was installed by the same governor who installed us as kings.”
Oba Kola- Daisi said: “I have had deep reflection and reasoning on this action ever since and I have come to the conclusion that in as much as the Olubadan is the authority by which I have the privilege to sit as the Acting Chairman at the Traditional Council meetings, it is not proper to undermine or jeopardise the authority and deny or withhold the entitlements that are due to His Imperial Majesty, The Olubadan of Ibadanland.”