We are Kings not High Chiefs, Ibadan Monarchs Insist

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Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan

The two-year royal crisis within the Ibadan Traditional Council Wednesday assumed another dimension as indications emerged that there are still some scores to settle with the new kings, who have vowed that they will only return to the Olubadan’s palace if they are accorded due recognition as obas and not as high chiefs.

The kings, who were upgraded by the administration of former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, after rising from a meeting held at the Alalubosa residence of Oba Owolabi Olakulehin in Ibadan, said their new status as kings had already been gazetted which means they are legally recognised as kings and not high chiefs.

They said unless the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, and his aides recognise and address them as kings, they would never return to the palace.

While faulting earlier reports that they went to the Popoyemoja palace of Olubadan without crowns, Oba Olakulehin and Oba Tajudeen Ajibola, who spoke on behalf of others, said those saying that were living in fool’s paradise and were being mischievous.

Explaining further, Oba Olakulehin wondered why mischief makers were making a mountain out of a molehill, saying as kings, it is not mandatory for them to wear crowns all the time they go out, adding that those peddling the rumour should observe other popular kings in Yorubaland including Olubadan if it is every time they wear their crowns.

They noted that it is a fact that their status as kings has come to stay and nothing on earth could undo it.

According to them, after former Governor Ajimobi, who meant well for Ibadan and its people 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, insisting that those casting aspersions on their crowns are either ignorant of what the law says or they are being mischievous.

In a statement signed by Oba Lekan Balogun, Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland and Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, Balogun of Ibadanland, the kings said: “The reform carried out by the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, was in the best interest of Ibadan and in response to the age long agitation for befitting status for the Ibadan high chiefs within the larger Oyo State Council of Obas and chiefs.

“What they don’t know is that even without wearing crowns to the Olubadan palace, we are obas. For anybody to say remove your crowns before you come to us, it is absurd. We won’t return to Olubadan’s palace as high chiefs but as obas.

“We are not fighting Olubadan at all, he is the one fighting us. What we are saying is that he should accord us the respect and recognition that we deserve. Two, we have told him many times that his wife (Olori) has no right to sit with us at Olubadan-in-council meeting. She is not a member. We learnt that she still sat at a meeting recently and as long as that impunity continues, there won’t be peace. We love and cherish peace, but things must be done properly.”