Amidst dispute, Ibadan high chiefs shunned Olubadan’s 90th birthday reception

Ordinarily, the 90th birthday celebration of Oyo monarch, Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, recently held in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, was an opportunity to reconcile the monarch and aggrieved high chiefs, but the absence of chiefs at the occasion was an indication that not only will the face-off linger, also, all is not well with the traditional council.
AGBOOLA BAYO writes
Embattled high chiefs The absence of the Ibadan High Chiefs elevated to beaded crown wearing Obas at the reception held for the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji to mark his 90th birthday celebration, on Sunday, August 26, no doubt showed that all is yet to be well within the Olubadan in Council following the elevation and crowing of some Ibadan High Chiefs who are members of the Olubadan In Council by Governor Abiola Ajimobi in August, last year.
Though, until that Sunday’s absence of the Ibadan High Chiefs, many were of the opinion that the prolonged crisis rocking the Olubadan in Council is over, more so with the visit of the embattled High Chiefs to the Olubadan in his palace for an Olubadan in Council meeting which was apparently put on hold despite the presence of majority of the High Chiefs at the Popoyemoja palace of Oba Adetunji.
With the hope raised by the presence of the High Chiefs at the Olubadan palace after almost one year of staying away from the palace, people were expecting the Ibadan High Chiefs to be at the a week long programmes lined up for the 90th birthday celebration of Oba Saliu Adetunji which ended with the reception held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.
Lingering crisis Alas, on the reception day, Sunday, August, 26, the reverse was the case as the expectations of many residents on presence of the High Chiefs at the Olubadan’s birthday were dashed as all the Ibadan High Chiefs elevated to beaded crown wearing Oba stayed away from the venue of the reception.
The Ibadan High Chiefs elevated to Obaship status by Governor Abiola Ajimobi of the Oyo were conspicuously absent at a reception.
The High Chiefs, who recently made peace with Oba Adetunji, after almost one year of face – off with the monarch, as a result of the controversial review of the Ibadan chieftaincy law by the state government, stayed away from the reception thus, causing divergent of interpretations by keen observers.
According to reports, the development made guests at the birthday party to suspect that their rift with Oba Adetunji was yet to be over.
One of the Olubadan’s aides, it was learnt, expressed surprise that the High Chiefs decided to stay away from the party, despite the fact that they were given invitation by the state government.
Plea for resolving crisis Apparently not happy with the absence of the Ibadan High Chiefs elevated to beaded crown wearing Oba in Ibadanland, the President General of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) Chief Yemi Soladoye, pleaded with Oba Adetunji to use his 90th birthday and ensure that the crisis rocking the Olubadan in Council was resolved before the advent of a new administration in the state in May 2019.
“The CCII knows that Kabiyesi is not against reforms, but considering the peculiar situation of Ibadan chieftaincy arrangement and identified three areas of – authorization, jurisdiction, and code of conduct must be addressed for any review of the Olubadan chieftaincy law to succeed.” In his welcome address, Chairman of the 90th birthday planning committee, Professor Taoheed Adedoja, Chairman of the Olubadan 90th birthday planning committee, noted that one of the lessons of the birthday celebration is that “the Yoruba tradition which the Olubadan represents, should be preserved, respected and protected”.
Though the 90th birthday reception for the Olubadan has come and gone, the absence of the Ibadan High Chiefs has clearly showed that the prolonged crisis resolution in the Olubadan in Council will no doubt go a long way as one of the major factors in determining the next governor of the state going by the by the unfolding political scenarios in Oyo state, nearly all (if not all) the registered political parties in the state are working towards presenting an Ibadan indigene as their governorship candidate for the 2019 general elections considering the fact that 52percent of the total votes in Oyo state will come from the eleven local government areas in Ibadanland.
Why high chiefs stayed away In his eplanation, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, High Chief Lekan Balogun, the next-in-rank to the Olubadan, who acknowledged receipt of the invitation card from the chairman of the planning committee, Professor Adedoja, said that the new “kings” decided not to attend the birthday reception because they were not “properly invited” to the occasion.
Balogun added that the new kings were invited as outsiders when they were supposed to be part of the organisers.
The Otun Olubadan, in a telephone interview with journalists in Ibadan, the state capital, said the fault in the improper invitation extended to the new kings was not from Adedoja.
He described the birthday planning committee chairman as a gentleman and an intelligent person, who ensured everything went properly.
The Otun Olubadan argued that the new kings were not carried along before the composition of the planning committee, and the whole programme did not have their input, which made the new kings to decide not to attend the birthday reception.
Balogun, however, explained further that if the beaded-crown-wearing monarchs had not taken the decision to boycott the birthday reception, there was no way he could have attended the programme because he was bereaved, saying his personal assistant on family affairs died on Friday.
He added that the boycott of the birthday reception of Olubadan would not affect the ongoing reconciliation between the new kings and the monarch.
Similarly, the Balogun of Ibadanland, High Chief Owolabi Olakelehin, confirmed the receipt of the invitation card, saying the letters were not properly addressed to them because they were addressed as ‘High Chiefs’ instead of ‘Obas’.
He stated further that the obas were supposed to be part of the organisers of the birthday programme, adding that before the planning committee was set up, the palace should have asked them to send two or three monarchs among them to be in the committee.
Despite the absence of the High Chiefs, Oba Adetunji’s birthday reception was reportedly grand with large turnout of prominent Nigerians including the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi , members of the Council of Lagos Traditional Chiefs led by Oba Onikoro of Lagos, Oba Adesoji ,the Olugbo of Ugbo , Oba Obateru Akinruntan , the Eleruwa of Eruwa, Oba Samuel Adegbola, former Governor of Kano , Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso represented by Dr.
Muktar Umar , and General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army , Major General Chukwudili Azinta, represented by Brid-Gen.
Soyele .
Others included Governor Abiola Ajimobi , and members of his executive council , former governors Adebayo Alao-Akala and Senator Rashidi Ladoja who is the Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, a legal luminary , Chief Niyi Akintola SAN, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Engineer.
Seyi Makinde, former Secretary to Oyo state Government (SSG) , Barrister Sarafadeen Ali, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chief Bayo Adelabu , All Progressives Congress chieftain, Engr.
Joseph Tegbe, the Prelate Emeritus of the Methodist Church ,Nigeria , Sunday Ola Makinde , and Justice L.O.
Aransi, Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes( CCII) and Ibadan Elders Council ( IEC) led by CCII President General , Chief Yemi Soladoye and Ambassador Olu Sanu , Professor Soji Adejumo, wife of the late Ibadan politician, Alhaja Bose Adedibu, Senator Gbenga Babalola, the Baale Ekotedo, Elder Taye Ayorinde, Chief Ayo Afolabi, the Aare Musulumi of yorubaland, Alhaji Dawud Akinola, Chief Adegboyega Arulogun, former Head of Service, Chief Tajudeen Olasukanmi Aremu and the gospel music maestro, Yinka Ayefele, among others .

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