By Ola Ajayi
The royal crisis in Ibadan Traditional Council worsened, on Wednesday, as the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, challenged members of Olubadan-in-Council to substantiate their allegations that he commercialised the chieftaincy titles in the city.
The monarch urged people to disregard what he described as “unsubstantiated allegations fit only for pepper soup joints and beer parlours.”
Oba Adetunji, who spoke through his Personal Assistant/Media and Publicity Director, Mr. Adeola Oloko, explained that the allegations by his high chiefs were intended to undermine the Olubadan stool.
Apparently referring to a letter by members of Olubadan-in-Council, where his high chiefs alleged that he charged as much as N30 million for a chieftaincy title, Oba Adetunji asked the high chiefs to mention the names of chiefs who paid the money.
He said they should disclose “where and when the money was paid. Was the money paid in cash, cheque or through transfer? Was it paid in local or foreign currency? What kind of traditional chieftaincy title was the so-called person asking from Olubadan, as alleged?
“How much gain would the person possibly make from the alleged N30 million investment on the chieftaincy title, which he could have possibly invested in more profitable ventures?”
The right fees
Olubadan said what the high chiefs did not tell the public was that in September 2019, the high chiefs came to plead with Olubadan that the vacant positions from Otun Balogun down to Jagun on both sides be filled, and His Majesty requested from them the usual N100,000 per step.
He said: “Thinking that His Majesty would ask for more, the high chiefs prostrated for Kabiesi in appreciation. The implication of this is that if you have two steps to climb, you are liable to pay only N200,000. If you have three steps, you pay N300,000.
“Even when some of the high chiefs could not afford to pay, it was a member of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, CCII, that bailed them out.
“So, how can the respected monarch ask for N30 million from someone who cannot afford N100,000 only?
“The money in question, when collected, is always paid into the coffers of the Olubadan-in-Council. It is then disbursed at the end of every successful chieftaincy exercise and divided into three equal parts.
“While one part usually goes to Olubadan, the two other parts are always shared between Otun Olubadan and Balogun lines.
“When on December 15, 2016 the former governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, was honoured along with his wife, Florence with the honorary chieftaincy titles of Aare and Yeye Aare of Ibadanland, that was how some of our high chiefs falsely accused Olubadan of having collected N50 million.
“They bluntly refused to be consoled until Ajimobi told them point-blank that Kabiyesi did not charge anything, so he won’t give a dime to any chief. The former governor is alive to confirm the story. We challenged them to produce demonstrable evidence of his claim.
“If you are Olubadan of Ibadanland at 91 like Oba Saliu Adetunji, what materialistic ambition could anyone be possibly pursuing with the enormous goodwill attached to the exalted throne?”
On the threats that they reserved the right to remove Olubadan, the monarch noted it was an empty threat.
“For the benefit of the public, there is no law that empowers any high chief or group of high chiefs to remove Olubadan. On the contrary, it is Olubadan who can suspend or peg any erring chief for act of contumely,” the king said.