Crowning of Obas: One pertinent issue needing clarification!

Crowning of Obas: One pertinent issue needing clarification!


“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.”

Governor Seyi Makinde had said in his speech at the crowning of ten Ibadan high chiefs Friday, July 7, 2023, at Mapo Hall.

Governor Makinde

He was guest of honour and had graced the event in company with the Speaker of Oyo state House of Assembly, Debo Ogundoyin and some other top government functionaries.

The event had stoked controversies with the Otun Olubadan High Chief Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja snubbing the event refusing to be crowned.

The former governor argued he had no intention of being crowned a lesser king other than as Olubadan. He is now in court to challenge the elevation and coronation of the high chiefs.

Governor Makinde had the burden of justifying the action and had made the opening remark above.

He continued: “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.”

That is the defence of the Oyo state’s first citizen. But his argument ignites pertinent questions. It’s fraught with several propositions. Does an Oba now have the latitude to, if he so wishes and is able to convince his chiefs or rather his chiefs unanimously resolved to get promoted to the status of kings and are able to strike the right chord with their lord, go ahead to upgrade his chiefs?

That’s one inference that can be made from the governor’s address at the Mapo ceremony. A further critical analysis shows that as he tries to extricate himself of culpability he unwittingly engenders new contentions.

Furthermore, he talks of reviews and reforms in the traditional setting. That is more or less a glib talk. Reforms witnessed in the past went through laborious commissions of inquiries that unfolded under the nose of experienced and competent justices. Internal reforms as the governor puts it and which he endorses is an open invitation and challenge waiting to be accepted by other monarchs. All they need is to attain amity on decision within their system.

Well perhaps he is talking in reference to the Chieftaincy Declaration of the Olubadan of Ibadan stool.

However, he revoked the amended Ibadan Chieftaincy Declaration, in February 2022, after a high court nullified it, which paved the way for the enthronement of Oba Lekan Balogun.

The Chieftaincy Declaration of Olubadan stool was amended during the tenure of late Governor Abiola Ajimobi in 2018 to allow the crowning of eight high chiefs which was however challenged in court by the then Olubadan Saliu Adetunji and Ladoja.

The death of Oba Adetunji and quashing of the amended laws created a lacuna against the ascension of Oba Balogun which was evacuated by the revocation of the amended Ibadan Chieftaincy Declaration by Makinde on February 11, 2022.

Now, has the revocation of the amended law been reversed? What about its nullification by the court as the last we heard (or l heard) is that the appeal against the nullification was withdrawn from court which allowed the reigning Ibadan Oba to be crowned?

There is need to properly define where we stand in Oyo state in order not to spark confusion in the traditional institution. Bending rules, propping up laws according to prevailing whims will cause erosion of standards and be misconstrued as nepotistic tendency that will bring about loss of faith in government.

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