THE 21 obas crowned by the immediate past governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, have declared that they are not illegal obas and thus have no plans to drop their crowns.
This is against the backdrop of a reconciliation meeting held at the palace of the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, earlier in the week.
Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune on Thursday, Oba Lateef Adebimpe confirmed a meeting held at the Alalubosa residence of Oba Owolabi Olakulehin on Wednesday, adding that by law, they were not illegal traditional rulers.
Those at the meeting were Oba Tajudeen Ajibola, Oba Biodun Kola-Daisi, Oba Adebimpe, Oba Hamidu Ajibade, Oba Eddy Oyewole and Oba Kola Adegbola.
Oba Adebimpe, reacting to a report that the obas had agreed to drop their crowns, said: “How can we do that? By law, we’re not illegal obas. Whatever is the outcome of the Court of Appeal cannot invalidate that section of the law. That section has never been challenged by anybody in a court of law. That section was not included in the case at the Court of Appeal.”
On Monday, the Osi Olubadan and former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, had in company with the Otun Olubadan, Oba Lekan Balogun and Oba Ajibade, visited the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Adetunji, at his Popoyemoja palace, to chart a way forward for the traditional institution in the city.
But some of the obas, rising from another meeting at the Alalubosa home of Oba Olakulehin on Thursday indicated that there were still some scores to settle, adding that they would only return to the Olubadan’s palace if they were accorded due recognition as obas and not as high chiefs.
They insisted that their new status as kings had already been gazetted, adding that they had been legally recognised as kings and not high chiefs.
They insisted that unless the Olubadan and his aides recognised and addressed them as kings, they would not return to the palace.
They frowned on reports that they went to the Popoyemoja palace of the Olubadan without crowns, as emanated from palace aides.
Oba Olakulehin and Oba Ajibola, who spoke on behalf of others, said those spreading such rumour were being mischievous.
According to them, after former Governor Ajimobi had approved them as kings, the court attested to it in March 2018 when, in addition to the earlier promoted 21 kings, another 27 kings were elevated and empowered by the Chieftaincy Laws of Oyo State Cap 28, Section 28(i) vol. 1.
In another development, family heads (mogajis) in Ibadanland have commended the move to resolve the crisis between the Olubadan of Ibadanland and the high chiefs.
The family heads described the development as victory for the genuine sons and daughters of Ibadanland.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Chief Wale Oladoja on Thursday, they said the truce had shown that external interference in the traditional institution in Ibadanland was not allowed.
The statement further commended Ladoja, who mediated between the palace and the high chiefs, for ensuring that the issue was amicably resolved.
According to the statement, the traditional and cultural heritage of Ibadanland would not be compromised for selfish individual or for any political gains.
The statement further commended the state governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, for ensuring that peace returned to the traditional institution in the state.