Saturday July 8, 2023
Governor of Oyo State, ‘Seyi Makinde, has declared that the elevation of the 11 High Chiefs in Ibadanland to beaded crown-wearing Obas was a proposition of the Olubadan-in-Council, which was only approved by his office in line with the extant laws.
The governor stated this on Friday, in his address as Special Guest of Honour at the presentation of crowns and staffs of office to the Obas, which was performed by the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Dr. Mohood Olalekan Balogun, Alli Okunmade II, at the historic Mapo Hall, Ibadan.
The governor said his administration approved the review because it was instituted internally and it had the backing of the traditional council comprising the Olubadan-in-Council, the Senior Chiefs, Mogajis and Baales in Ibadanland.
The governor stated that the process leading to the presentation of beaded crowns to the elevated Obas was in line with his campaign commitment that he would not interfere with the chieftaincy system and that any review must come from within the system.
Governor Makinde, who noted that it was the Olubadan that elevated and crowned the Obas, said with the passage of time there would always be a need for the review of the traditional system and that whenever the process is properly done, he would not shy away from approving such a review.
The governor equally said that with the Ibadan Traditional Council being able to review its system internally, it was only a matter of time before the issues preventing the meeting of Oyo State Council of Chiefs would be resolved internally within the traditional council in the state.
He said: “We are here today for a major reason. Some people have insinuated that I want to crown High Chiefs that have been elevated to the position of Obas, but is that what you are seeing here today? No. It is the Olubadan of Ibadanland who is crowning the Chiefs.
“Well, this coronation has generated many comments. Some don’t know how we got to this point, but let me use this opportunity to clarify a few of those issues. First, everything we have done here today is premised on the promise that I made to the people of Oyo State and, in particular, the custodians of our tradition.
“As time passes, there will be a need for reforms to our traditional system for one reason or the other. So, I promised that whenever there is need for such reforms, it has to come from the royal fathers themselves. I don’t know anything about the crown.
“During the 2019 campaign, the issue of the crown generated controversy. Back then, Kabiyesi Olubadan and one of our fathers were amongst those that went to court. But if our royal fathers say they want internal reforms, as the governor, I will back them up and give approval. Today, Kabiyesi Olubadan is supporting what is being done today.
“Out of 11 High Chiefs in the Olubadan-in-Council, 10 are being crowned as Obas; that is a majority. But as it is the practice in a democracy, the majority should have their way, while the minority will have their say. So, we have heard what the minority has said and they can approach the court.”
The governor also used the occasion to address the recent amendment of the Oyo State Chiefs Law.
He said, “Some have even said the amendment of the Chiefs Law was done to give myself the sole authority to decide who will wear beaded-crowns in Oyo State. And sometimes, one wonders why these mischief-makers come up with stories like these.
“The law has always given the state governor authority to approve or disapprove reforms from the traditional systems. So, all we amended was to remove it to refer to the governor and retain it so that this part agrees with the rest of the law.
“The second part of the amendment that is based on subsection one is that any person who is elevated to wear the beaded crown from Baale to minor Chief shall continue to pay obeisance to a prescribed or consenting authority.
“The consenting authority today is the Olubadan of Ibadanland, not the governor of Oyo State. So, the elevation of the Chiefs does not make them, in any way, higher than the Olubadan, who is the Consenting Authority for this elevation.
“Today, history has been made because those who have planned to go to court will only waste their time. What the traditional chiefs, paramount rulers and residents of Ibadan want us to do is what we have done,” the governor added.
He congratulated the new Obas, challenging them to work for the good of the residents of the state, even as he congratulated the Olubadan for making history, saying: “What is happening today has been destined by God.”
Earlier, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba (Dr.) Balogun, appreciated the governor for giving approval to his request for the elevation of the members of the Olubadan-in-Council to beaded crown-wearing Obas.
According to Olubadan, the elevation of High Chiefs to beaded crown-wearing Oba is a reconstruction of Ibadan’s rich history in a way as to make it sustainable and enduring, stating that he was sure that posterity “will record us rightly.”
He added that the new development had not, in any way, altered the uniqueness of the Ibadan traditional system, saying: “The system remains as it is, as nothing changes in our succession plan.”
The event was attended by traditional rulers from within and outside Oyo State, top government functionaries and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders in the state.
Among the royal fathers that graced the occasion were the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, who was represented by the Onifegunwa of Ifegunwa, Oba Adewole Solomon; the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi; the Onpetu of Ijeru, Oba Sunday Oyediran; and the Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Alao.
Others were the Onjo of Okeho, Oba Rafiu Osuolale; the Olu of Igbo-Ora, Oba Jimoh Titiloye; the Alepata of Igboholand, Oba Joel Olawuwo; the Aare of Ofiki, Oba Gbenga Adeoye; and the Onigbope of Igbope, Oba Moses Oyetola, among others.