OPINION: On the new Olubadan: their “royal majesties” at a cross road by Seun Kolade


 

I just read that High Chief Lekan Balogun and his “Olubadan-in-Council” supporters have released a statement today to the effect that there is no controversy in the historic succession process about who becomes the next Olubadan.

This is quite an interesting position from these high chiefs turned Obas, who were made their “royal majesties” by the late Governor Ajimobi. In one same breadth, they are happy beneficiaries of change via the contrivance of the late Ajimobi. In the same breadth, they are resolute defenders of the status quo. With a straight face, they seek to have their cake and eat it.

Citizens and commentators- and not just a Ibadan people- are weighing in. As is often the case, the opinions being offered are tainted with partisan considerations. For the most part it is about whose side you are on, not wether your views are logically sound. Truth becomes a casualty. I read someone arguing, in support of their “royal majesties”, that there was nothing in the Ibadan ordinance that prevents a “royal majesty” from becoming Olubadan. At least one lawyer has described such a position as spurious and untenable. Now let’s just assume, for the sake of argument, that this is in fact true.

The converse will also hold true, in that case. Before Ajimobi, there was also nothing in Ibadan ordinance that makes royal majesties of members of Olubadan-in-Council. Ajimobi sought to disrupt the process with his political contrivance. Those who resisted were seeking to preserve the integrity of the “Ibadan way”. The “royal majesties” will be shooting themselves in the foot if they insist on keeping Ajimobi’s “elevation”. Worse still, they will be exposing the institution of which they are primary beneficiaries to ridicule. Why? If Ajimobi’s unilateral political contrivance stands, what prevents the current or future governor from doing something new, say by making the position of their “royal majesties” a tenured position for 4 years? Or making the Olubadan position hereditary? This is the danger many are failing to see. If everything is effectively at the whims of the sitting governor, where does it end?

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