The drama over the Obaship crisis in Ibadan on Tuesday took another dimension with the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1, declaring that the 21 new kings recently crowned by Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State are wearing what he termed as “fake crowns”.
Oba Adetunji, who spoke while receiving members of the Council of Authentic Magajis of Ibadanland, who visited the palace to declare their support for the monarch, added that anybody who wants to become a king in Ibadan has to wait for God’s time.
The Olubadan maintained that those he termed as ‘Ajimobi’s kings’ themselves know that the crowns given to them by the state government are not real ones in the true sense of the word, according to the Yoruba tradition.
He stressed that the Olubadan throne remains the only kingship position in Ibadanland and that anybody who wants to ascend the throne has to wait for God’s time, as only God makes kings.
The Olubadan described as untrue and unfounded the statement credited to a group of Ibadan elders that he (Olubadan) had consented to the controversial chieftaincy review embarked upon by the state government resulting in the controversial crowning of 21 new kings.
Some private radio stations located in the town had quoted Ambassador Olu Sanu-led Ibadan Elders’ Forum who met with Olubadan as saying that the monarch had consented to the elevation of the chiefs to kingship status, having now seen the light.
The first class monarch, who acknowledged receiving the elders at his Popoyemoja, Ibadan palace last Thursday, maintained that there was never a time he was in the dark over the Ibadan chieftaincy issue as he did not say what the elders quoted him to have said.
Oba Adetunji stated that the elders should not mislead Ibadan people into believing what he did not say, explaining that he told them that Governor Ajimobi over whom they had come to plead for is his son and that he would not want a third party’s intervention over the matter.
“For the avoidance of doubt, my opposition to the elevation of high chiefs to kingship status without domain remains the same, as I maintain my stand. I cannot see how I would bless the high chiefs who have refused to wait for their turn before stepping forward to take crowns from the government, contrary to our tradition and custom.
“The crown, which I wear has its root from somewhere. I cannot bless a crown that has no root. You will recall that the same Ibadan Elders’ Forum stoutly opposed former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala’s move to elevate six Baales in their letter dated April 24, 2009”, he said.
According to the monarch, on page two of that letter titled ‘The Composition of Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs’ signed by Ambassador Olu Sanu and Onaolapo Ajibola, the Ibadan Elders’ Forum had opposed the proposed review of Ibadan chieftaincy declaration.
The Olubadan quoted the group to have noted that the Ibadan chieftaincy system had worked for ages and ensured peace and stability in Ibadan land and that the forum would therefore not want the government to tamper with the system in order not to create confusion and ill-feeling.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Council of Authentic Mogajis of Ibadanland addressed a press conference at the Iyaganku, Ibadan secretariat of the Oyo State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), where they described the state government’s action as “manifestation of distorting history, culture and monolithic tradition unique to Ibadaland.”
Addressing the press on behalf of Mogajis, former Deputy Governor of the state and the Magaji of Olugbesan compound of Ibadan, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarumi, called on the state government to rescind and reverse its action on the review of Ibadan chieftaincy declaration.
The group described as ridiculous, the promotion of Baales, who were hitherto under the supremacy of Mogajis, to beaded crown kings, and the upgrade of Ibadan high chiefs to kingship without domains and palaces.
The Ibadan Mogajis also described the government’s action as a political onslaught against the Olubadan and the Ibadan chieftaincy declaration.
Also speaking, the Ajia Balogun of Ibadaland, Chief Babajide Ayoade, cautioned the state government not to allow the Ibadan chieftaincy tussle to degenerate to a major crisis in the ancient city.
Ayoade insisted that few people who were pursuing selfish interests were behind the controversy, advising Governor Ajimobi to be careful of those who might want to use the government to fuel crisis in Ibadanland.
According to Ayoade, but for the matured and civilised manner the Ibadan people had handled the issue, it would have degenerated to a major crisis.