By Ola Ajayi
AS people of Oyo State especially Ibadan indigenes anxiously await peaceful resolution of the on-going royal crisis between the Olubadan of Ibadan, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji and his estranged members of Olubadan-in-Council, who were promoted to crown-wearing kings about two years ago by Governor Abiola Ajimobi, the two parties are busy pointing accusing fingers at each other.
While the monarch has been very careful about making inflammatory comments that could stoke the fire of the crisis, a former governor of the state, High Chief Rashidi Ladoja, Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland; and Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, who share divergent views, have been very outspoken.
Senator Rashidi Ladoja, some weeks ago, said the new Ibadan kings ignited the crisis in Ibadan traditional council by their alleged romance with the governor.
Ladoja, through his Personal Assistant, Alhaji Lanre Latinwo, said he had warned them many times not to externalise the traditional affairs of the Olubadan in council for a “mess of pottage” noting that some of them, who were falling over one another to have the ears of the governor did not listen until the keg of gun powder exploded in their faces.”
“When clandestine meetings started at different locations against Olubadan, I had cause to warn them of the danger inherent in such an unholy alliance against the Olubadan stool. Given this background, how did I contribute to the cause of their rift?
“In spite of the letter received by them from the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Ibadan North Local Government is yet to comply with the directive. Even, where there is compliance, one month out of 11 months’ salary was paid to the palace staff.”
Vanguard gathered that the children of the paramount ruler and some of the new kings want all parties to sheathe their swords. Some, however, maintained a rigid stance saying they don’t care a hoot what becomes the consequences of the prolonged imbroglio.
As it were, both parties are said to be licking the wounds inflicted by the crisis. The problem, it was gathered would have ended resolved by now but for the judgment of the state high court in Ibadan on the case filed by a former governor of the state. He had asked the court to declare null and void the review of the 1959 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration. The court granted his prayers. But an appeal has been filed against the judgment. This judgment was said to have emboldened Ladoja and the monarch, who were said to be hopeful that they would win the battle at the end.
In the camp of the new kings, while some of them appear polite in their utterances, a host of them are not ready to change their stance. It is either Olubadan accepts them as kings under him or they use their power as kingmakers against the paramount ruler.
Crack in reconciliation
There appears to have been a crack within the camp of the new kings as Oba Kola-Daisi appears to have retraced his steps. He has since been paying the local government allowances due to the Olubadan on monthly basis. Besides, the tone of his statement, some months ago, where he said it was insubordination for the kings to be withholding the allowances of the monarch, who they were subservient to, depicted that he had had a rethink. But it is not clear yet if he would be ready to go back to his high chief status.
New kings tackle Ladoja
The new kings had, in a statement by Oba Lekan Balogun, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, Oba Tajudeen Ajibola, Oba Eddy Oyewole, Oba Lateef Gbadamosi Adebimpe and Oba Amidu Ajibade argued that “what motivated the release of the suspended stipend was the letter from the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters ref: CB.211/2T1/237 dated 6th August 2018, which is self-explanatory.
The Ministry’s letter was in response to Olubadan’s letter captioned: ‘suspension of payment of Monthly stipends/Allowance of Members of Traditional Councils in Ibadanland by Olubadan of Ibadan’ dated 16th July 2018.”
“Ladoja should stop insulting us, we are not his stooges. When we go to any Olubadan-In-Council meeting in future, we will go as Obas-in-Council (as His Royal majesties) under the chairmanship of kabiyesi, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, who is His Imperial Majesty. We are not calling ourselves what we are not.
“At best, he seems jealous of our elevation forgetting that the moment we were elevated as His Royal Majesties, our revered Kabiyesi, the Olubadan of Ibadanland became elevated from His Royal Majesty to His Imperial Majesty in Ibadanland. The High Chiefs in Ibadanland have become Obas under the Imperial Majesty of Kabiyesi, the Olubadan of Ibadanland while we are still members of Olubadan-in-Council unadulterated.
“Ladoja chose to remain (or retain) a High Chief by his own design borne out of his egoistic in-born character or manner because he was not the architect of the modernization of Ibadan Traditional System.
“What he even attempted to do on the 23rd of November, 2005 by elevating the Olubadan of Ibadanland to an Imperial Majesty and all traditional chiefs in Ibadanland from Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland to Jagun Balogun of Ibadanland as well as some baales in Ibadanland (Onijaye of Ijaye, the Baale of Lalupon, the Onikereku of Ikereku and Baale of Erunmu) all totalling 47 chiefs to First Class Traditional Rulers/Chiefs in Ibadanland but failed woefully to achieve out of timidity because he only wanted to upgrade some chieftaincies in the state.”