Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on Friday, presented staff of office to 10 out of the 11 high chiefs of Ibadanland, who were recently elevated to beaded crown-wearing Obas, at the Mapo hall, Ibadan.
The governor had on June 22 approved the elevation of the high chiefs to Obas following the recommendation of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun, who is the prescribed and consenting authority for the town.
The new Obas are Owolabi Olakulehin, Tajudeen Ajibola, Eddy Oyewole, Lateef Adebimpe, Biodun Kola-Daisi, Kola Adegbola, Hamidu Ajibade, Olubunmi Isioye; Bayo Akande and Abiodun Azeez.
However, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, High Chief Rashidi Ladoja, who had earlier rejected his elevation to an Oba, was conspicuously absent at Friday’s ceremony.
Ladoja, a former governor of the state, had said he was not interested in any crown than that of the Olubadan, adding, “When I set out to join the race to become the Olubadan, I was focusing on how to become the Olubadan and the only crown I want to wear is that of Olubadan of Ibadanland.”
Meanwhile, all the newly crowned Obas are now the chairmen of the traditional councils of their respective local government areas in Ibadanland.
Speaking at the ceremony, Makinde said the Olubadan remained the consenting authority for elevated beaded crown-wearing Ibadan high chiefs
The governor said, “The Chiefs’ Law has always given the state governor authority to approve or disapprove reform to traditional systems in the state. The current amendment clearly states that any person who is elevated to wear beaded crown from Baale to minor chief shall continue to pay obeisance to his prescribed consenting authority.
“The consenting authority today is not the state governor, but the Olubadan of Ibadanland. So, the elevation of the high chiefs today does not make them in any way equal or higher than the Olubadan, who is the consenting authority for their elevation.”
Earlier, the Olubadan, Oba Balogun, said the elevation of the high chiefs would not have come to be without the approval of the Olubadan Advisory Council.
Balogun, who spoke through the former Head of Service in the state, Tajudeen Aremu, said there was a consensus on the need for some of the Baales in Ibadanland to wear crowns and be addressed as Obas.
The monarch stated, “Again, we all subscribe to the ancient fact and tradition of our high chiefs being superior to our Baales and even administratively, the high chiefs representing the Olubadan as the acting chairmen in our various local government traditional councils superintend over the Baales. Will the Baales crowned as Obas be removing their crowns when going for meetings to be presided over by the high chiefs?
“We cannot do without reference to the indignation our high chiefs suffer at public gatherings where they are usually denied their well-deserved courtesies and treated shabbily where an Oba of a community not as populous as my Aliiwo family compound is given all respect and reverence simply because there’s a crown on his head and he is addressed as ‘Oba’.
“Another notable observation worthy of public clarification has to do with the fear of the stool of Olubadan losing respect, honour and prestige because of the elevation of the high chiefs to beaded crown-wearing Obas as royal majesties. I don’t think it can happen or I don’t see it happening because the stool of Olubadan is a sacred one that nobody dares desecrate for whatever reason or purpose.
“What’s more, today’s high chiefs are tomorrow’s Olubadans and the law of what you sow, you will reap or the admonition of our forefathers that when you want to go and bury your senior brother nakedly, take along your younger brother (Eni to ba fe lo sin egbon e ni ihoho, ko ranti mu aburo re lowo) should remain our guide.”
Dignitaries at the ceremony included the representative of the Ooni of Ife, Adedire Solomon, who is the Onifegunwa of Ifegunwa; senators Ayoola Agboola, Gbenga Babalola, Soji Akanbi, Kamorudeen Adedibu and Monsurat Sumonu; the state’s former deputy governor and Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Taofeek Arapaja, and a host of others.