From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, has described a purported threat from 21 new Ibadan kings to recommend him for removal as an affront to the people of Ibadan.
The monarch also described issuers of the threat as end-of-the-year entertainers, who were scared that he might declare their seats vacant and, subsequently, replace them with other chiefs in the line of Olubadan.
Oba Adetunji disclosed this in his reaction to the 21-day ultimatum issued to him by the Ibadan Council of Obas urging him to reconcile his activities with the provisions of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Review carried out by the Oyo State Government between May and August 2017, otherwise they would pass a vote of no confidence in him and, subsequently, recommend him for deposition.
But, the Olubadan, who said the so-called Oba-in-Council was unknown to the Oyo State Chieftaincy Laws, wondered how a group of educated individuals, such as the embattled ‘high chiefs’ could resort to illegality by commenting on a matter before the court.
Daily Sun gathered that proceedings in the suit filed by Olubadan against the state government will continue today at the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan.
Adetunji assured members of Ibadan Obas-in -Council not to be afraid yet, as their seats will not be declared vacant in the absence of court verdict.
The Obas-in-Council had, on Monday, at a press conference addressed by Otun Olubadan, Oba Lekan Balogun, who is next in rank to Olubadan, said: “The Olubadan, Oba Adetunji, has, since after the inauguration of the Beaded Crown Obas in Ibadan, cultivated himself to misbehave by engaging in acts capable of causing civil disorder by parading himself about with some unscrupulous Mogajis in Ibadanland, inciting people against the legitimate administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
“This is a serious offence, which we, the Ibadan Council of Obas, can pass a vote of no confidence in him, after which we, as kingmakers who nominated and appointed him for confirmation and approval by the executive governor, would also call for his removal.
“We are, by this conference, giving His Imperial Majesty 21 days ultimatum to change his stand now and work for the improvement of Ibadan, rather than disorderliness.”
But, Director of Media and Public Affairs to Olubadan, Adeola Oloko, in a statement yesterday, said Oba Adetunji had pleaded with the state High Court to take judicial notice of the alleged persistent contempt of court on the matter before it by the new kings and some government officials, who are defendants in the litigation he instituted against the state government.
Olubadan was quoted to have prayed the court to make a scapegoat of one or two among the defendants in the suit he instituted, expressing fear that there might be no end to court contempt until the court imposed punishment for the alleged infractions.
Responding to the issue raised by the Ibadan Council of Obas, Adetunji contended that the council in question, which “comprises ‘high chiefs’ and Olubadan only, is basically an advisory council with no force of law, customs and traditions backing it.
“In the same vein, baale, whom the embattled ‘high chiefs’ have added to themselves to become 21 are not members of Olubadan-in-Council, and, therefore, should not be dressed in borrowed robe, as they have no power, whatsoever, over their lord.”
Olubadan, who noted that as the prescribed and appointing authority who can promote and/or peg the promotion of an ‘high chief’ as long as he wishes, declared that he did not contemplate any of such decision as he did not see himself as an absolute monarch.
The monarch contended further that there was no time the embattled ‘high chiefs’ were barred from attending palace activities. He said they were the ones who spurned palace invitation in their desperate rush for multiple crowns and cheap royalties.
He expressed delight that despite their absence from official palace activities, he had been exercising his duties without let or hindrance.
Olubadan stated that even when members of the Ibadan Obas-in-Council were being harassed and molested on the city streets and called unprintable names, he did his best to calm down frayed nerves to guarantee their safety and security by going to court to diffuse tension.
Oba Adetunji stated that as the Yoruba proverb says that okro can never outgrow its reaper, an ‘high chief’ can’t outgrow the king by threatening to recommend him for removal.
His words: “By custom and tradition, no Olubadan has been recommended for removal from office by any ‘high chief’ or group of ‘high chiefs’ at any time and my own reign will not be an exception.
“At least, we have received applications from families of about four of the embattled ‘high chiefs’ asking for their immediate replacement. But, like a prodigal son, we hope that they would, sooner than later, renounce the unrecognised crowns and return to the warm embrace of their father as the palace door is perpetually open.
“The ‘high chiefs’ are hereby advised to emulate ‘high chiefs’ in other places, who are not wearing crowns but still earn respect of their people for peace and progress to reign supreme in the land.”
In the suit filed by Olubadan, Governor Ajimobi, is listed as the first defendant, Attorney General/Commission for Justice; and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters are the second and third defendants respectively.
Also, the eight out of the 11 members of the Olubadan-in-Council installed as beaded-crown wearing monarchs by the state government on August 27, 2017 are the fourth to the 11th defendants, while the 13 baales (village heads) also installed as coronet wearing kings on the same day are the 12th to the 24th defendants.
One of the prayers of Olubadan in the suit is a declaration that the elevation of the members of Olubadan-in-Council and the baales to the rank or level of an Oba and their installation as kings, entitled to wear beaded-crown and coronet by the governor without consultation with the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs as illegal, null and void, and ultra-vires the powers of the governor under the Chiefs Law Cap 28 Laws of Oyo State. (The Sun)