News

April 14, 2024

Olubadan unprecedented deadlock rocks Ibadan

Kingmakers divided over nomination of Olubadan designate, Oba Olakulehin

…as ailing Olakulehin tears High Chief Ladoja, Oba Ajibola, others apart

As for Oba Ajibola, it is widely believed that his ‘refusal’ to give express consent for the emergence of the new Olubadan leaves much to be desired

By Laolu Elijah, Ibadan

The cloud over the Ibadan Traditional Council since the late Oba Olalekan Balogun Alli Okunmade 11 joined his ancestors on March 14, 2024 is yet to abate as controversy thickens over the health status of the Olubadan-designate, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin.

The issue of the fitness of the next in line to assume the Olubadan stool has created a deep gulf within the 10-member Olubadan-in-Council and the gulf is widening even after the expiration of the 21-day mourning period of the deceased king which lapsed on April 5, 2024.

This is unprecedented in the history of the town that an Olubadan-designate will be enmeshed in a controversy on whether he is fit or not to ascend the throne.

When the process to enthrone the 43rd Olubadan is supposed to have reached the climax, the 10-member kingmakers, who used to speak with one voice, began to churn out discordant tunes over the next Olubadan.

At a time, Otun Olubadan, High Chief Rashidi Ladoja, who is the most senior member of the Olubadan-in-Council, called a meeting but only him, the convener, turned up.

All the remaining eight members boycotted the meeting.

After the mediatory role played by some prominent Ibadan indigenes at the residence of Chief Bode Amao, an industrialist, some kingmakers agreed to sheathe their swords.

But just as the dust began to settle, another issue cropped up. One of the kingmakers, Otun Balogun, Oba Tajudeen Ajibola, sounded a note of warning. 

He argued that anyone who will be enthroned as the new Olubadan should be hale and hearty.

Intrigues

There are two lines to the Olubadan throne: The Olubadan and Balogun lines. High Chief Ladoja leads the Olubadan line while Oba Ajibola, who is Otun Balogun, leads the Balogun line. Oba Ajibola is the one to formally present the Olubadan-designate, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, to the Olubadan-in-Council. But, according to Oba Ajibola, the Olubadan-designate is yet to call him or speak with him, noting his health status is too fragile to undergo the rigours of the rituals of Olubadan. He suggested that the Olubadan-designate should be allowed to recover well.

One of the aides of Ladoja who pleaded anonymity said, “Why is Oba Ajibola the only one saying ‘no’ using the excuse of age related ailments of Oba Olakulehin? “He’s paving the way for himself to become the next Olubadan”.

Also, Ladoja, who is eyeing the Olubadan stool, wants the Olubadan-designate to be formally nominated for his name to be forwarded to Governor Seyi Makinde.

Even though the Otun Olubadan reportedly said he’s not desperate, there are insinuations that he wants the Olubadan-designate to become Olubadan so that it will pave the way for his line to present Olubadan of which he will be the beneficiary. 

As for Oba Ajibola, it is widely believed that his ‘refusal’ to give express consent for the emergence of the new Olubadan leaves much to be desired.

They claim that he knows if the Olubadan-designate is declared unfit due to his health status, he will be the beneficiary because the throne will still remain in his line, though Oba Ajibola has consistently said he doesn’t have anything against Olakulehin becoming the next Olubadan.

When Sunday Vanguard called Oba Ajibola, the Otun Balogun Olubadan ruled out any possibility of litigation, saying Ibadan will be at peace.

 ”I don’t want to say anything about the matter again. I have said all I needed to say”, he said 

When asked about his reaction to the comments credited to Ladoja that the kingmakers could substitute him(Otun Balogun) if he failed to turn up for the Friday meeting, he said he didn’t care a hoot, noting that he should go ahead if the law permits him to do so.

His words: ”Eruobodo (meaning I’m not shaken). No problem. If they feel they are on the side of the law, let them go ahead. But, the law will take its course. Nobody is thinking of any litigation. What we are saying is that Ibadan should have remarkable progress. We don’t want crisis at all in Ibadan. What do I have left to say? (singing) (kilo tun ku ti o so, eni ti a be l’ori, ti n jenu wuye, ki lo tun ku, ti o so) What does he have left to say, someone who’s beheaded and still grumbling, what does he have to say?

”I have spoken the truth. I have said I won’t participate in illegality. That’s all”.