By Simon Fatade
Oyo State Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Bimbo Kolade has reiterated that the recent reform carried out in the Ibadan Traditional leadership structure will only enhance the status of Olubadan and deepen traditional governance in the ancient city.
The Commissioner said the Governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi responded to the call of prominent Ibadan elders, Chiefs, Baales and leaders of thoughts who have consistently called for the review of the Ibadan Chieftaincy Law over the years.
Kolade noted that rather than diminish the status of the Olubadan throne and the current occupant, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, the elevation of the 11 High Chiefs to Obas will enhance the status of Olubadan as the Paramount Ruler while the order of ascension to the Olubadan throne remains the same.
“For almost 30 years, there have been calls and agitations for the review of Ibadan chieftaincy law. In fact one of the notable Ibadan indigenes, Chief T. A. Akinyele wrote a book in which he posited the need for the Ibadan chieftaincy law to be reviewed. There have been several other books also written by Ibadan indigenes on the need to review the Ibadan chieftaincy law. Between 1974 – 76, and as recent as 2003, there were several commissions of enquiry set up by government to look into chieftaincy matters in the state, during which there were constant calls for a review of the Ibadan chieftaincy law. During the Adio Commission of 2003, some 33 Baales in Ibadan made a request through the respected lawyer Niyi Akintola, (SAN) for them to start wearing beaded crowns.
“Out of the 33 Baales then, I think the Adio Commission recommended 16 of them for the title of Obas. Even though the immediate past administration of Chief Alao Akala in Oyo State did not set up a commission of enquiry, it actually made attempts to turn some Baales into Obas in the state, and about six Baales were given approval to wear beaded crowns, although this was not implemented. So, the agitation for a review of the Chieftaincy law has been on for a very long time. Immediately this administration came in, there were several representations to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on the need to review.”
The Commissioner explained that Governor Ajimobi who is also an indigene of Ibadan has very high regard and respect for the Olubadan throne and will not do anything that will diminish the worth of the throne adding that the newly installed Obas will help with the administer Ibadan and strengthen governance in the areas where they have been playing their roles as heads and members of Olubadan-in-Council.
Mr. Kolade said some notable politicians in the State only seek to make political capital out of a reform which he insisted is progressive, describing it as in the best interest of all.
“The people of Ibadan are happy about the reform. There is no crisis situation in Ibadan and the state at large. What has happened is really a welcome development. There are celebrations and jubilation all around the localities and the areas where the Baales have been turned into Obas. It shows wide acceptance of this by the people,” the commissioner noted.