By Oluwakemi Ishola
- Alh. Jimoh is our Babaloja-General, over 2.5m members nominated him – NANT S/W Coordinator
Hundred of Traders in Oyo state under the umbrella of the Coalition of Market Groups of Oyo state on Tuesday stormed the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ), Iyaganku to register their displeasure over alleged imposition of Babaloja-general of Oyo state by the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji.
Oba Adetunji had in August of this year, installed Chief Yekini Abass as the Babaloja of Oyo state, the development which greeted criticism by the traders, saying; “installing Babaloja of the state is not the duty of the monarch.”
The five trade union under the coalition which has the Oyo State Market Men and Women led by its chairman, Alhaji Dauda Abiodun Oladepo, Ibadan Joint Traders Association led by Chief Odunade Kayode Danjuma, National Association of Nigeria Traders led by Alhaji Kamorudeen Salaudeen, Progressive Trade Men and Antisans led by Chief Tewogbade Tobalase and Association of Concerned General Traders.
The groups which have their representatives at the rally from all the zones in the state said if the Oyo state government ratified the imposed Babaloja on the people, the coalition would resolve to installing Babaloja in all the major Markets in the state.
Leading the protest, the Iyaloja general of Oyo state, Alhaja Wuraola Atanda-Daisi, and the Southwest Coordinator of National Traders Association of Nigeria, Chief Odunade Kayode-Danjuma, and her secretary, Chief Abiodun Adegoke in separate interviews said they would resist any attempt to impose Babaloja on traders in the state.
Addressing a press conference on behalf of other traders, Oyo State Market Men and Women, Alhaji Dauda Abiodun Oladepo explained that Olubadan in his letter dated July 16, promised not to interfere in the internal affairs of Traders.
He noted that the unions were surprise to discover that he is now imposing Babaloja general of the state on the people rather than maintaining his stand on the said issue.
Oladepo said; “we appreciated the governor for allowing us to work during the Covid 19 pandemic lockdown. If you see the different unions present here today, you will see that we are the real authentic Traders. On this issue of Babaloja of the state, we can’t accept any imposition. Our own Babaloja is Alhaji Jimoh Akinremi.
“Appointing Babaloja general of the state has a process which must be duly followed. All the marketers in the state have started the process by visiting the house of chiefs, secretariat Ibadan before we heard someone has been installed. We are talking about Babaloja of Oyo state and not Ibadan land. If the government ratifies the imposed Babaloja, we are going to ensure that all zones have their Babaloja general,” he said.
Mrs Odunayo Danjuma, the South-West Coordinator, National Association of Nigerian Traders(NANT), pleaded with the appropriate authorities in the state to be wary of imposition of market leadership.
“Imposition is assassination of democracy. Imposition is a rape to democracy. We nominated the Babaloja of Oyo State in person of Alhaji S.A Jimoh.
“Jimoh is well acceptable by traders in the 33 local governments in the state. Over 2.5 million members nominated him,” she said.
Reacting to the allegations, the monarch through his spokesman, Ademola Oloko said the protesters are aggrieved because they were not favored by the choice of the Alhaji Yekini Abass.
He said the market leadership is extension of traditional institutions, therefore the monarch has done the right thing by installing the right person as the babalola jay general of Oyo state.
He said; “Before Olubadan took that step of installing him, he had visited all other monarchs and traditional rulers in the state. Ask those who protesting including the Iyaloja general of the state. Governor Makinde had even said it is over on the issue of Traders. They have the certificate of Olubadan. That means Olubadan installed them. Why now aggrieved,” he queried.