Stalemate Over Nomination Of New Olubadan: Kingmakers, Ladoja In Supremacy Battle

The peaceful ascendancy to the stool of Olubadan which had hitherto received accolades from neighbouring states and beyond, is undoubtedly going through a tumultuous moment….CONTINUE READING

The stormy wind blowing against the Ibadan Traditional Council is so strong that it is shaking it from the foundation since the death of Oba Olalekan Balogun, Alli Okunmade 11, on March 15, 2024.

Unlike in the past when the process of selecting a new Olubadan would go seamlessly, there have been misgivings among the members of the Olubadan-in-Council who also double as the kingmakers of the ancient city.

As the pendulum swings between Otun Olubadan, Chief Rashidi Ladoja and the other nine members of the council, the atmosphere is fraught with uncertainty about which of the two sides will win the contest at the end of the day.

No doubt, the smoke oozing out of the attempts by former Governor of Oyo State, the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi, to review the Ibadan Chieftaincy Declaration is yet to be put out.

Ladoja and the then Olubadan, the late Oba Saliu Adetunji, on one side and the other nine kingmakers, were at daggers drawn over what the majority of the people considered an unpopular step by the late governor to elevate the high chiefs to beaded crown-wearing kings.

The hiccups the move generated still spiralled to the tenure of Governor Seyi Makinde who eventually approved the elevation of the High Chiefs to kings but this time, with the consent of Olubadan, who is the Paramount ruler.

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His decision to turn down the elevation appears to have boomeranged now as other members of the Olubadan-in-Council feel they are higher in rank than a High Chief.
The knotty issue

High Chief Ladoja, who is next in the hierarchy to the possible Olubadan designate, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, is the head of the kingmakers and the one who is saddled with the responsibility of convening the meeting of Olubadan-in-Council.

The penultimate week, he was at the venue of the meeting which he convened at the ancient Mapo Hall.

While waiting for other members of the council, he learned later that they had resolved to boycott the meeting.

An impeccable source had told Vanguard earlier that the nine kingmakers would not attend the meeting.

It was later that information filtered in that the members of the council, who boycotted the meeting, had held a meeting on Monday where they took the decision that they would not nominate Oba Olakulehin until they see him physically to ascertain his health status.

As revealed by Oba Hamidu Ajibade, he said the “Obas” have had their meeting.

Another source disclosed that they resolved at the meeting that they would not attend a meeting convened by a “High Chief” who is lower than “Oba.”

Another grey area, as discovered by Vanguard, is that the council had decided not to nominate Oba Olakulehin if the stories about his state of health were true.
Other permutations for nomination

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It was reliably gathered that if anything hinders the kingmakers from picking Oba Olakulehin, they are not likely to move away from the Balogun (Military) line meaning the lot will fall on the next in hierarchy to Oba Olakulehin who is considered to be younger.

This move, if taken, would lead to another legal tussle because the attention of the kingmakers should be on Ladoja’s line.

Also, as the nine kingmakers are scheming, Ladoja, who is a former Governor, is not standing akimbo.

He is trying to ensure that Oba Olakulehin is nominated and crowned king. His position tallies with that of the Olubadan designate’s family who keeps saying Oba Olakulehin is fit though not disputing his health status which they say is old age-related ailments.
Ladoja’s counsel speaks

Speaking on the claims by nine kingmakers that they would not sit at a meeting where a High Chief presides, his counsel, Mr Michael Lana, argued that the Olubadan Declaration permits high chiefs and not Obas to nominate an Olubadan, noting that their stance may backfire.

Lana, who is a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Oyo State, said: “The elevated Obas are in a dual capacity, one as Oba and the other as High Chief. As Obas, they cannot nominate a person for the stool of Olubadan; they can only do so as High Chiefs. In the latter capacity, their most senior chief is Chief Ladoja who is also the only person that can validly call a meeting to nominate the candidate for the Olubadan stool.

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“I think the elevated Obas should note this difference in their capacities. In elevating the chiefs to Obas, their Chieftaincy Declarations were not amended. Under the defunct White Paper of Ajimobi, it was stated that the Obas would be chiefs under the Olubadan. Under the Declaration, the following are the Kingmakers Otun Olubadan, Osi Olubadan, Ashipa Olubadan, Ekerin Olubadan, Iyalode, the Balogun, Otun Balogun, Osi Balogun, Ashipa Balogun, and Ekerin Balogun.”

Both Ekaarun Balogun and Ekaarun Olubadan have to wait until they are promoted to Ekerin before they become Kingmakers.

“To nominate a candidate, the most senior chief in the line that is not producing the candidate shall summon a meeting where the chiefs in the line that will produce the candidate shall do the nomination. Note that it doesn’t talk of an Oba in the lines but a chief.

The Civil line (Otun) and Military line (Balogun) all climb through the rungs of the ladder before they assume the stool of Olubadan.

The Otun line consists of 22 rungs beginning from Jagun, while the Balogun line has 23 hurdles to climb before they are crowned Olubadan.

Ibadan people, the Yoruba-speaking states and beyond, are itching to see the new Olubadan.

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