Former Governor of Oyo State and the Osi Olubadan of Ibadan, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, has revealed why he is against the proposed review of the Olubadan chieftaincy declaration proposed by Governor Abiola Ajimobi. In a recent interview, Ladoja said,” My position is that it is not the responsibility of the government or governor of Oyo State to review the Olubadan chieftaincy declaration. The declaration was first formulated in 1946. That was when Ibadan began formal documentation of how the chieftaincy process would be. It was reviewed in 1950. The one we are talking about now was done in 1959 and not 1957.
“What happened in 1957 was that the Western Region government decided that chieftaincy declaration should be registered with the government. It was not that government was going to do it (review) for them. When you do your declaration, you will take it to the government to register. The one we are using in Ibadan was done in 1959. If it is going to be reviewed, it should be done by those who made it. Those who made it then were headed by the then Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Isaac Akinyele.
“He was also the head of the Chieftaincy Committee of Ibadan District Council which comprised the 11 council areas of Ibadan. The declaration of 1946 was done by Ibadan Native Authority, which was reviewed in 1950. What I find hard to believe is the fact that the government is making an attempt to review the declaration. How many towns will the government do declaration for? It is misleading the public by saying it was the chiefs’ law of 1957 that it was trying to amend.
“The letter which announced the constitution of people in the commission said the review of Ibadan Chieftaincy Declaration and other related chieftaincies in Ibadan. Why should there be a judicial connotation to the panel? Is there anything to be investigated? When you set up a judicial commission or panel, it means there is something to be investigated. Has the Olubadan stolen money? You set up a judicial commission to investigate something. What has the Olubadan declaration got to do with judicial commission?
“Almost all the people in the committee are lawyers. Out of the first seven-man commission, only two are from Ibadan. They are retired permanent secretary, John Onaolapo Ajibola and Akintunde Boade, a retired high court judge. Prince Wasiu Gbadegesin is from Oyo town; Ogunniyi Ogunjinmi is from Igbo-Ora; Paul Ayoola is from Iseyin; Mikail Abiodun is from Ogbomoso; and Olanrewaju Jayeola is from Okeho. The impression the government is creating is that members are from all zones in Ibadan. In Igbo-Ora, there are five kings.
“Every quarter has an oba. Now, how many quarters can you take out of Ibadan? It means that each people that settled in Igbo-Ora have their own king. It is not the same thing with Ibadan. Thos who settled in Ibadan decided to have only one oba and all of them have the chance to become the Olubadan. When we raised the point, Governor Abiola Ajimobi quickly added four Ibadan people to it. How can someone who came from a place that is far smaller than Ibadan understands why there should be only one oba in Ibadan?
“Oke-Ogun people cannot understand why Ibadan is what it is. In ATISBO council area, there are seven towns that have their own obas. In some cases, a town has more than an oba. For example, Ago-Are has three obas. How can someone tell us that these people can understand our history? The people in the committee are lawyers and not students of history. That is the first thing that made me say the government has other motives. It wants to disrupt the system that works in Ibadan.
“The system works because nobody goes to court to contest Olubadan stool. The government just told us that it recently settled 34 years crisis in Ado Awaye. There is no oba in Saki because of succession crisis. Only God knows who will be the next Olubadan. The present Olubadan was only third in the rank. There was Balogun and Otun Olubadan before him. But they both died in succession and the present Olubadan emerged when Oba Samuel Odugade joined his ancestors.
“The government wants young people to become Olubadan. That means we have to scrap the present system totally. Even if we shorten the lines to three and a young king emerges, if he dies at 90, how old will be the person behind him and who is in line to succeed him? Age does not decide how long you will be on Olubadan throne. Oba Kobiowu was 56 when he was crowned and he died six months after. We had the previous Olubadan who spent about nine years despite ascending the throne when he was above 90 years. Let God do what he wishes with Ibadan instead of manipulating the throne. These are reasons why I am against it.”