The Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, has warned members of the Olubadan-in-Council who are parading themselves as Ibadan obas against engaging in disruption of customs and traditions of the ancient city.
The Olubadan, in a letter entitled, ‘Re-Our grievances,’ dated February 5, was reacting to a letter dated January 26, in which the aggrieved Ibadan high chiefs and baales expressed their displeasure at the treatment meted to them by the Olubadan.
The Olubadan said the affected high chiefs should revert to the tradition, warning that acting otherwise would attract grave consequences.
The letter read in parts, “We read extracts from your letter of January 27 on newspaper pages before receiving it at 2.45pm on Monday February 3, from Kamoru Liasu, Secretary to Olubadan-in-Council. If you have teachable spirit, putting a letter meant for Olubadan in the public domain before it eventually gets to him is indicative of your tacit lack of royal etiquette.
“As if this were not enough, you had the impudence of writing this same letter on Ibadan Oba-in-Council letter head. The so-called Ibadan Oba-in-Council is not known to law how much or less our Custom and tradition.
“Even in the content of your letter, you referred to yourselves as members of Olubadan-in-Council. This shows absurdity unbecoming of High Chiefs of Ibadanland.
“We should not have dignified you with a reply if not for your fruitless but desperate effort to absolve yourselves from the damage you collaborated with the immediate past administration of Senator Abiola Ajimobi to inflict on our traditional patrimony.
“What you did in the name of chieftaincy review along with that administration was equivalent of coup calculated to disrupt the smooth flow of Ibadan chieftaincy system. Unfortunately for you, the coup failed. As a matter of fact, Ibadan people were demanding for your banishment from the city.
“This is a recent history which no one can twist, bend or manipulate as you have shamelessly sought in your four-page letter. Thankfully, our people have expressed their reservations and today, we are savouring the joy and victory of a new dawn in our traditional institution’s history.
The statement added, “When we said the other time that our battle is over, some of you who were so obsessed with unlawful use of Obaship title and illegal wearing of crowns and coronets could not read between the lines. By the stroke of pen, somebody created a crisis situation in our chieftaincy system. By the same token, somebody created sanity and normalcy has returned.
“As the Olubadan of Ibadanland, I do not carry out the statutory duties of high chiefs nor obstruct anybody from performing his duties, but when we send out invitations for meetings, it is you who choose which ones to attend or not. As nature does not arbour vacuum, life continues. But it is the same invitation that we extend to you that we also extend to other high chiefs such as Osi Olubadan, Ekerin Olubadan, Ekerin Balogun, Ekarun Balogun and Iyalode who did not sign your letter of grievances. Thankfully, more and more people are beginning to repent.”
It read further that the style of administration in the palace was not different from the style elsewhere, adding, “If you are invited to a council meeting at 11.00am and arrive at 1.30pm when the Olubadan is already seated without prior notice of your late coming, this is indiscipline and is punishable. It does not matter whether the offence is committed by one, two or more high chiefs. It becomes suspect when three or four of you are coming at the same time to the council meeting. In the same vein, it is beyond the duty of high chiefs to set agenda for meetings, especially when there is demonstrable evidence that separate meetings have been held at Mapo before coming to Popoyemoja. So, there is nothing unprecedented in your experience with me as your leader.
“It is your own actions that are unprecedented. Nowhere in Ibadan history have High Chiefs ever been politically influenced to be agitating to become Oba without a domain. No Oba in Yorubaland has no domain.
“As a matter of fact, we have created more enabling environment for you to function as High Chiefs, if you would be true. So, I won’t know about the public opprobrium to palace actions, which you talked about in your letter.
“Contrary to your opinion in the letter that the controversy generated by the review of Ibadan Chieftaincy Declaration was needless, this is not true. You and I, who were members of the old Olubadan-in-Council, would recall the gravity of the reservation of Ibadan people to former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala’s review and subsequent promotion of six chiefs in Ibadan less city to crown-wearing status.”
It recalled that Alao -Akala backed down as a concession to public outcry.
“But, my son, former governor Abiola Ajimobi, who did not consult us nor rely on our recommendation before crowning over forty has suddenly become needless, apparently because you have benefitted from it since the ill-fated chieftaincy review, you have placed me in a most uncomfortable situation of having to plead with our people at social functions, especially where the police presence is not heavy, to let you stay with me because as far as they are concerned, you are a pariah. If truth must be told, common people call you ‘Oba alade pali, Oba alade Shoprite; and Oba alade Sunday.’ In fact, you have become a butt of jokes in Yorubaland.
“We are equally surprised that after participating in the elevation of Mogaji to Jagun and other ranks on January 3, and getting your own share of the rites; you could turn around to distance yourselves from it. If this is not a double standard, what is it?
“As for the appointment of the new Araba of Ibadanland which you complained about, High Chiefs do not take part in the appointment process of Araba if you are not part of them. It is the exclusive right of Babalawos, when they pick their leader, they present him for ceremony and this is what you have been invited to witness, which you spurned,” the statement read.
However, efforts to get reaction from the affected high chiefs were abortive as of the time of filing this report.