Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has said that he had no plans of deposing the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, no matter the level of provocation and opposition to the recent installation of new obas in Ibadanland.
He also appealed to members of the Obas-in-Council and all other newly installed obas in Ibadanland to extend the olive branch to the Olubadan by visiting him as a way of assuring the paramount ruler that they bore no grudge against him.
The governor spoke at a meeting he held with the traditional council of the 11 local governments in Ibadanland, which are being headed by the Obas-in-Council, formerly known as members of the Olubadan-in-Council, at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan.
The meeting was also attended by senior chiefs in Ibadanland, members of the Ibadan Elders' Forum, chairmen of the 11 local governments and 14 local council development areas in Ibadan as well as members of the state executive council.
Despite being vested with enormous powers of suspension and deposition of erring monarch, as enshrined in Cap 28, Section 26 (1) of the Chiefs Laws of Oyo State 2000, Ajimobi said that he would not invoke such powers over the Ibadan monarch.
The section reads, “The governor may suspend or depose any chief (oba) whether appointed before or after the commencement of this law if it is satisfied that such suspension or deposition is required according to customary law or is necessary in the interest of peace or order or good government''
Governor Ajimobi, who reiterated that Oba Adetunji was his father, said that he would not do anything that would diminish his status or bring his exalted stool into disrepute.
He said,``Let me state that the existing chieftaincy law gives any governor power to remove any traditional ruler who engages in activities that can jeopardize the peace of his domain.
``I should also add that Kabiyesi, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, has of recent been engaging in certain activities that are inimical to the peace and tranquility of Ibadan.
``Only recently, Olubadan embarked on a roadshow across Ibadan, waving horsetail to bystanders in an apparent attempt to incite the people against the government. Such actions could have pitted the antagonists and protagonists of installation of new obas against one another.
“This is capable of plunging Ibadan metropolis into a crisis of unimaginable proportion, if not for the understanding and support of the people for the government. But no matter what happens, I assure you I will never depose the Olubadan. He remains my father. His palace is just being used by failed politicians, especially the Accord Party leader, Chief Rashidi Ladoja, to relaunch his faded political career.
``I hold the Olubadan and his stool in high esteem. This is why I will also want to beg the obas-in-council to visit Baba and mend their relationship. If I can't fight the Olubadan, please you should not fight him.”
Ajimobi, who described the royal father as a good man, with liberal disposition, however, expressed the regret that he had allowed his palace to be hijacked by those he called failed politicians and serial losers.
He said that their plans were not only to heat up the polity but also to return Ibadan metropolis to the dark days when arson, violence and brigandage reigned supreme, all targeted at the 2019 general elections.
The governor added, ``Reports at our disposal indicate that the crisis that had trailed the appointment of new obas in Ibadan and the gun attack on the Olubadan palace on Monday might have been masterminded by these failed politicians.
``They have taken advantage of Kabiyesi's advanced age to carry out their nefarious activities and use the palace as the centre of opposition to the government. What they failed to achieve through the ballot box, they want to achieve through the back door.
``Our government is not for violence. We don't encourage brigandage. It is people like Ladoja who have been promoting violence that were behind the attack on Olubadan's palace. It was during Ladoja's regime that gunmen shot into the late Baba (Lamidi) Adedibu's house because of his opposition to him.
“Ladoja's supporters caused mayhem in Akure (Ondo State) when he lost out in his bid to be endorsed as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party. During his administration, even the governor's office became a theatre of war. All these are on record.”
He, however, vowed not to be intimidated by what he called Ladoja's pull-him-down syndrome and self-centredness.
Speaking earlier, the Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, expressed appreciation to the governor for the matured way he had handled the provocative activities of the opponents of the recent review of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Law.
Olakulehin recalled what he called the overwhelming support members of the then Olubadan-in-Council gave Oba Adetunji during his nomination as Olubadan-designate and his eventual colorful coronation by the state government.
He, however, alleged that the foremost traditional ruler had treated them with disdain and had embarked on activities that could tarnish the revered Olubadan stool.
The royal father particularly cited the “unilateral removal of Alhaja Abake Lawal as the Iyaloja of Ibadanland by Oba Adetunji” allegedly on the excuse that she was not an Ibadan indigene in spite of the opposition by the Olubadan-in-Council.
Also, the Ashipa Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Gbadamosi Adebimpe, rejoiced with the governor on what he called the successful completion of the Olubadan chieftaincy law review, adding that the Olubadan stool had further been elevated to the imperial status.
He said that Ladoja's major grouse with the governor was that he had no opportunity of carrying out the reform during his own tenure as governor.
Oba Adebimpe said, “I will appeal to the citizens of Oyo State to be praying for good health and strength for the governor because of his many good intentions. I rejoice with him for seeing the reform through. He has succeeded where his predecessors have failed.
“I also want to say that the main grouse of my friend is that he was unable to carry out this reform when he was governor. I salute Ajimobi's doggedness and courage. He has taken many valiant and commendable steps since he became governor.
“Maybe, Kabiyesi the Olubadan did not know that the governor had elevated his status by this review. He is also a beneficiary because he is now the imperial majesty. Our role now is to be enlightening the people on the many advantages of the chieftaincy review.”