By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN – WHEN Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State said, after the review of 1959 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration and eventual promotion of high chiefs and Baales numbering 21 to the status of beaded crown- wearing kings, the action would be extended to other parts of the state, many people especially those who opposed the review, took his comments with a pinch of salt and a prank to make them succumb to the ‘unwanted’ and undue interference with the orderly ascendancy to the Olubadan throne.
But, the state government has made good its promise when, about a week ago, it approved the promotion of additional 48 kings across the state.
Expectedly, mixed reactions have trailed the new decision by government.
While some see it as a new dawn and good development in the state, others see it as a ploy to justify the alleged ‘lawlessness’ that the state government perpetrated in Ibadan traditional council.
Mixed reactions greet decision
In his remarks, Aare of Ago Are in Oke Ogun area of the state, Oba Abodunrin Oyetunji Kofoworola (Ilufemiloye) Olakanla II, described the elevation of the new kings as a welcome development.
Speaking with Vanguard in a telephone interview, Oba Kofoworola said: “It is a good development in the state and we look forward to more of it. The governor is doing well and he is trying to replicate what is happening in other climes especially in some Yoruba states. We want the governor to extend the same gesture to others who have not benefited. If you consider what the governor has done, he followed due process and I appreciate the governor for what he is doing and we want him to keep it up especially in the area of the welfare of kings in the state.”
A former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, who is opposed to the review of Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration, accused the governor of trying to legitimise the lawlessness he carried out in Ibadan.
Faulting the action of the state government, Ladoja, who spoke through his media aide, Alhaji Lanre Latinwo, said: “If you check the list of the newly promoted kings, you would notice that the names of Ibadan high chiefs are included and it is a common knowledge that the court has ruled against the review of the 1959 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration which the governor used to effect the promotion. The governor used the same review that the court had nullified. As the chief executive law officer of the state, he is not expected to engage in any act of lawlessness because the moment we ignore court judgment, we are inviting anarchy.
“As for other towns and cities whose kings have been promoted, we are not bothered. What we are saying is that he should not have included that of Ibadan because the law does not recognise him to perform the role of crowning kings. It is the sole responsibility of the Olubadan and his council. After their selection, they can forward it to the governor for approval. He should realise that what operates in other towns and cities may not be convenient for us in Ibadan. Ibadan is not like other towns and cities. It has its own unique traditional system”, he said.
The Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, a beneficiary of the elevation of high chiefs to beaded crown- wearing king, sees the initiative of the governor as “victory for truth, honesty, dedication and a decision supported worldwide.
“The promotion covers the entire state. The man who took the governor to court on the elevation of Ibadan kings should now cover his face in shame. It must have dawned on him now that the state government meant well for Ibadan and the state at large”, Olakulehin said.
Implication of elevation
On the implication the elevation of the 48 kings could have on the traditional institution in the state, observers opine that the state government has extended the promotion to other towns and cities, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and others, who opposed the review of Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration should have a rethink because it would not be in the interest of Ibadan city if other small towns and cities across the state could boast of numerous kings and the big city of Ibadan will be parading only one king.
The government, through the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun said the approval was in line with the exercise of powers conferred on the Governor by Section 28(1) of the Chiefs Law Cap 28, Vol. 1 Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria and by virtue of all other powers enabling in that behalf, stressing that the approval has been gazetted with Oyo State Notice No. 20-67 of Oyo State of Nigeria Gazette No. 3, Vol. 43 published 29thMarch, 2018 and endorsed under the Governor’s Command by the Secretary to the State Government, Ishmael Olalekan Alli.
He said out of over 100 applications received, only 26 were considered for beaded crowns from all the geopolitical zones of the state.
Arulogun disclosed further that the consultative meeting with the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs was attended by 23 Obas and Chiefs led by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, saying that three of the Obas could not attend due to old age while the other three did not attend for different reasons.
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