IBADAN: One Beaded Crown Too Many


It is always good to maintain cordial relationship, rather than engage in bickering that could cause chaos and attract lifelong regrets. Emerging signals from the contrived elevation of Ibadan High Chiefs to the status of wearing beaded crown is nothing but an attempt to disrupt and destroy the world-acclaimed and applauded system of ascendancy to the Olubadan stool.


It is clear that some interest that are not knowledgeable in the oral and historical perspectives of the Ibadan heritage are out to erase the status quo of sustaining their age-long traditions of the progenitors and then embrace the circumvention of the integrity laden customs and tradition of Ibadan.


In March this year, shortly after the general election, I cautioned, when it became apparent that some ‘hawks’ were swirling round the mandate that paved way for the second term victory of the incumbent governor. I raised a voice and called an attention to the fact that if caution was not applied, the state may soon be embroiled in unnecessary rancour and intense crisis.


Recall that this suspicion was further fired by a poetic congratulatory message sent in by the former governor of the state, High Chief Rasidi Adewolu Ladoja. For the avoidance of doubt, the message is recalled verbatim as thus: “My dear governor… selfless job before you.”


Mr. Governor, is this innocuous deal or part of the deal struck under the curtains to short-change the integrity of vast majority of Ibadan indigenes to return the ‘carton crown’ back to the ancient city? I am just worried at the spate of what your second tenure would bring to all with the enormous goodwill invested.


You will recall that I did point out in the poetic/coded congratulatory outburst reflected in RAL’s lines and advised that you be wary of them. Unfortunately you defied the advice, believing it is inconsequential and that your status was capable of dealing decisively with whatever occurrences likely to erupt.


This is an impunity that can never flourish in Oyo State, even if other states entertain it. Oyo State is such a place where the tenets of its rules are sufficiently kept.


The truth here is that you must be just in your conduct and actions, minding the fact that non-compliance with these procedures might attract open contestation to test the validity of the law or otherwise.


An eulogy of Ibadan people particularly those from the warrior side referenced… “b’eru ba mba yin e wi o….eru o bo’mo Balogun” (which literally translate thus: Speak out if you are afraid, but not the least one of Balogun’s ward is afraid of confronting or going to war as the case may be) – that’s the stark reality in the message with the melodrama of the unfolding events which exposes the hidden facts on starched, siphoning or filtering away of the state resources.


The Chieftaincy issue, which supposedly is considered insignificant, can trigger and at same time hinder the stability of the state. It is clear and without any equivocation that there exists the Ibadan Traditional Declaration and trampling on it may create a backlash which could lead to disunity among the Ibadan people and of the state.


My advice therefore, Your Excellency, is not to listen to these psychophants who have not made any headway or impact in their various professional callings but are out to dismantle the integrity stakes that firm up the traditional fabrics of Ibadan, and unknown to you, using you and your office as weapons of destruction! You must prevent them from using your position or your office to upgrade themselves to relevance.


In spite of monumental task and developments embarked on by Senator Abiola Ajimobi, of the blessed memory’ – your predecessor in office, though borne out of ill-conceived idea to turn each hamlet in the state and upgrade them to the status of an oba (it was cloaked), the aim was to review the Ibadan Chieftaincy procedures and subject the matter to serious tinkering.


Still the hatchet team, midwived by former Governor Ajimobi, failed in its bid. Taking a cursory look at its constitution, it was found out that there were only two Ibadan indigenes out of seven members. Later four more Ibadan indigene were added to make six, while members rose to 11 that made the hatchet committee.


A court of competent jurisdiction buttressed this in a judgment delivered by Justice Olajumoke Aiki of the Oyo State High Court in Ibadan (and the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan). The hatchet men were shoved aside by the law courts and gods of the land.


When the Olubadan’s seat became vacant thereafter, these chiefs were happy to positioned themselves as beneficiaries. It was not until they were literally forced by the power that be -your humble self- to withdraw their case from the law court, denounced the carton crowns before sanity could be restored.


‘The much tmm-touted reforms on the Chieftancy Declaration in the state cannot, therefore, lead to the promotional award for the chiefs because they are not appointees or staff palace. Any change in regard to the obaship position should and must be consequent on the resolutions of the state Traditional Council of Obas and Chiefs saddled by law with the responsibility. But the Council has for long abdicated its responsibility due to lingering legal issues on leadership tussle.


And now, with your procurement of “Oju Agbeni Market” resolution/passage of Bill of the state House of Assembly to the 1957 Chieftancy Declaration which now confer on you the role of a kingmaker, no doubting the fact sir, you acted ultra vires of ‘an instrument in your hand which you presented to the House of Assembly to legislate upon. With all intents and purposes, you were incapacitated to do so because of the vested interest of some few power intoxicated saboteurs.


No reigning Olubadan, as an individual, is empowered by law to promote the High Chiefs, neither did he indicate under which section of the law he is relying on for the promotion. What we have at hand is a case of an individual who, by virtue of his office, abrogated what the law did not prescribe as a right. There is no extant law to support this act.


Mr. Governor, your executive and discretionary powers begins with and terminates at either to assent or to reject.


How would it sound that an oba promotes his kingmakers to the position of obas? Should they be accorded any respect? Where are the reports or recommendation(s) of those empowered for the selection? Due diligence has to be strictly adhered to and the real stakeholders have to be identified.


These power-drunk elements should not be given any leeway to influence the reforms. Else, we would be heading for an unimaginable crisis in no distant time.


The proposal being initiated to crown baales over mogajis who are the supposed family heads is a time bomb capable of razing the Ibadan city down, God forbids. To get our tradition and custom back on track, a thorough reform is required, so that sanity is entrenched in the system.



Mr. Governor, it is equally necessary to bear in mind at this point that, consequent upon the initial act of rebellion by these belligerent elements against a reigning oba, they were supposed to be served with punitive measures. With this not in place, they were emboldened to return to this second attempt to rubbish traditions.


In Yorubaland, any oba whose crown was literally removed is deposed and banished from the city forever and a return (if there is any) should be on ground of amnesty or state pardon, Supreme Court declaration or appeasement of the gods of the land, as the tradition demands. The gods are angry.


Lanre Ogundipe, a former President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), writes from Ibadan.


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