From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Oyo State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Bimbo Kolade, has said the Olubadan of Ibadanland cannot stop the ongoing review of 1957 Olubadan chieftaincy declaration that will result in upward review of kings in Ibadan to 32.
In an interview with newsmen in Ibadan yesterday, he said the Justice Akintunde Boade-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the review of the existing 1957 (1959) Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration, submitted its report last Friday, adding that, “the report is going through the normal processes it should before it becomes a law and declaration in the state.”
But, the Director, Media and Public Affairs to Olubadan, Adeola Oloko, in a statement on Tuesday, described the proposed 32 kings for Ibadan as a joke taken too far, saying: “For the avoidance of doubt, there was never a time that Olubadan supported the review embarked upon by the Oyo State Government.
“Both the young and old in Ibadan know that the Ibadan chieftaincy system is not a creation of the government. It is a creation of Ibadan people. No king, no governor, no elite, no High Chief has the right to tamper with the system without recourse to our people.
“If the traditional institution wants a review, it is not the duty of government to spearhead the review. It is the duty of the Olubadan sitting in council to look at what they want to review and register same to the state government for approval.”
Fielding questions on whether Olubadan could stop government from the review, Kolade said: “I will say emphatically that it is no. If you go through the chiefs law, if you go through the declaration that we are using for Olubadan Chieftaincy Matters, it was put together in 1957, it eventually became a certified declaration in 1959, and it has been there running.
“On what this administration is trying to do, let us face it, what is the meaning of high chief? A chief is a chief. It is because you are trying to qualify it and make it better for people, recognising their status. That was why the high chief comes into it, otherwise, a chief is a chief.
“The government is now saying we have used high chief for so, so and so, and high chief has become obsolete. Then, can you have it as Oba? So, what is stopping ‘His Royal Majesty’, Oba Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan?’ What is wrong in that? So, that is what we are saying. It is a model. Whatever is the succession plan that we are using in Ibadan now, did not start the first day Ibadan was founded. It evolved as a system that should be used.
“If this one is evolving now, I want to believe that at the end of the day, everybody is coming to credit the administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi for the things that the administration is doing now. So, we have everything to run through its cause. At the end of the day, we will see what happens.”
Kolade, however, stated that Olubadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, did not agree to the review initially until the exercise was better explained to him, saying: “Initially, Kabiyesi said he did not accept the review because he did not want any other person to wear beaded crown with him in Ibadanland.
“Later, when the review was better explained to him, the Olubadan said he did not know that what government was trying to do is good, and that whatever the governor wanted, he also wanted with him. So, what is the argument in that? So, it is normal for people to agree to disagree and come back to agree with you.”
Meanwhile, thousands of youths who are indigenes of the city have aligned with the Olubadan on the review, contending that if the proposal succeeds, it would rupture the orderly, peaceful and self-reforming traditional system, which has endeared the city to other states in the South-West and beyond.