The Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, has urged the public to perish the thought that the controversial approval of beaded crowns by the Oyo State government to Ibadan high chiefs and baales is irreversible.
The frontline monarch stressed that “our case against the state government is alive”.
In a statement yesterday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, by his Personal Assistant/Director of Media and Public Affairs, the Olubadan urged Governor Abiola Ajimobi to be mindful of the court on the controversial chieftaincy review and respect the rule of law.
Apparently reacting to a statement credited to Ajimobi while distributing cars to 36 traditional rulers, Oba Adetunji recalled that a judgment delivered by Justice Aiki of the Oyo State High Court had declared the chieftaincy reform illegal, null and void.
He said: “Afterwards, the Oyo State government decided to file an appeal at the Court of Appeal. My position is that if a case is in court, it is no longer open for discussion, as this statement is automatically subjudice. If it is not reversible, why did the two parties have to go to court?”
Oba Adetunji also faulted the statement that the controversy which followed the crowning of Ibadan traditional rulers was political, saying the issue raised is customary and traditional.
He said: “My humble opinion is that the procedure for approval of beaded crowns for any chief or baale in Ibadan was not discussed at the Olubadan-in-Council level. If it was discussed, how would any of the high chiefs bear two titles at the same time? Oba and high chief! An abomination!”
The Olubadan, who said though he did not oppose the government’s presentation of cars to traditional rulers, urged Ajimobi to prevail on the kings to release the 11-month salaries of palace workers they have allegedly been withholding with Olubadan’s salary cheques, when the allocations to traditional councils had been released.
According to him, it is to avoid a breakdown of law and order in Ibadan and beyond he had maintained dignified silence.
Oba Adetunji noted that if the motive behind the reform was to modernise tradition, the move had bred indiscipline and what he called “gangsterism”.
The Olubadan recalled what he called a failed attempt by “the so-called new kings, backed by the Oyo State government, to undermine the authority of the Olubadan, who decreed ‘no masquerade dance’”.
He added: “Even when all masqueraders under the leadership of the Olori Alagbaa, Baale Labala and Aare Isese of Ibadan complied with the order, the state government with one of its commissioners went on propaganda spree, saying the Olubadan’s order had been disobeyed as masquerades danced in one of the embattled high chief’s compound.
“We told them to produce the pictures on newspaper pages or television screen. Was Atipako there? Was Alapansanpa there? Was Olunlade there? Was Oloolu there?”
On the purported statement credited to Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, decrying long-term reservation of Ibadan to have more monarchs, Oba Adetunji advised the Oyo top monarch to recommend his high chiefs to become crown-wearing obas, if it was so desirable.