By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN—THE royal tussle between the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji and 40 traditional rulers over wearing of beaded crowns got messier, yesterday, as the monarch said the chieftaincy review by the last administration was a coup calculated to disrupt the smooth flow of Ibadan chieftaincy system.
The monarch, in a letter he signed, was responding to a protest letter sent by some of the members of Olubadan-in-council.
Excluding the Osi Olubadan, Ekerin Olubadan, Ekerin Balogun, Ekarun Balogun, the monarch said the action of the high chiefs had reached the high heavens that Ibadan people were demanding their banishment.
Olubadan, in the letter, said: “We should not have dignified you with a reply if not for your fruitless but desperate effort to absolve yourselves from the damage you collaborated with the immediate past administration of Senator Abiola Ajimobi to inflict on our traditional patrimony.”
“What you did in the name of chieftaincy review along with that administration was equivalent of coup calculated to disrupt the smooth flow of Ibadan chieftaincy system. Unfortunately for you, the coup failed. Ibadan people were demanding for your banishment from the city. This is a recent history which no one can twist, bend or manipulate as you have shamelessly sought in your four-page letter.”
Olubadan noted that the Obas-in-Council, which the high chiefs claimed in the letter, were unknown to law.
“The so-called Ibadan Obas-in-Council are not known to law how much or less our Custom and Tradition. Even in the content of your letter, you referred to yourselves as members of Olubadan-in-Council. This shows absurdity unbecoming of High Chiefs of Ibadanland.
“When we said the other time that our battle is over, some of you who were so obsessed with unlawful use of Obaship title and illegal wearing of crowns and coronets could not read between the lines. By the stroke of pen, somebody created a crisis in our chieftaincy system, by the same token, somebody created sanity and normalcy has returned.”
Reacting to the claims of the high chiefs that they were sidelined from performing their traditional duties, Oba Adetunji said: “As the Olubadan of Ibadanland, I do not carry out the statutory duties of high chiefs nor obstruct anybody from performing his duties, but when we send out invitations for meetings, it is you who choose which ones to attend or not.”
“As nature does not abhor a vacuum, life continues. But it is the same invitation that we extend to you that we also extend to other high chiefs such as Osi Olubadan, Ekerin Olubadan, Ekerin Balogun, Ekarun Balogun and Iyalode who did not sign your letter of grievances.
Thankfully, more and more people are beginning to repent.”
Our style of administration in the palace, the king went further, was not in any way different from the style elsewhere.
“If you are invited to a council meeting at 11.00 am and arrive at 1.30 pm when the Olubadan is already seated without prior notice of your late coming, this is indiscipline and is punishable. It does not matter whether the offence is committed by one, two or more high chiefs. It becomes suspect when three or four of you are coming at the same time to the council meeting. In the same vein, it is beyond the duty of high chiefs to set agenda for meetings, especially when there is demonstrable evidence that separate meetings have been held at Mapo before coming to Popoyemoja.”
“Contrary to your opinion in the letter that the controversy generated by the review of the Ibadan Chieftaincy Declaration was needless, this is not true. You and I who were members of the old Olubadan-in-Council would recall that gravity of the reservation of Ibadan people to former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala’s review and subsequent promotion of six Chiefs in Ibadan less city to crown-wearing status”.
“As for the appointment of the new Araba of Ibadanland which you complained about, High Chiefs do not take part in the appointment process of Araba if you are not part of them. It is the exclusive right of Babalawos, when they pick their leader, they present him for the ceremony and this is what you have been invited to witness, which you spurned.”