Is this inordinate ambition? Many are asking as unusual drama unfolds in Ibadan over the Next Olubadan.
The age-long smooth ascension to the throne of the Olubadan of Ibadanland appears to be under threat as a two top Ibadan chiefs have laid claim to the coveted throne.
While the Balogun of Ibadanland, High Chief Saliu Adetunji, as the next in rank to the late Olubadan, anticipates his installation as the next Olubadan, the Otun Seriki of Ibadan, Chief Adebayo Oyediji, says he is the ‘‘next Olubadan’’.
Oyediji warned the kingmakers, the Olubadan-in-Council, not to flout what he called a 1989 ruling of the Supreme Court by installing Adetunji as successor to the late Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade, who died on Tuesday at the age of 101 years.
Ibadan is reputed to be a major Yoruba city, where succession to the throne of the city’s traditional stool is rancour-free as the ascension to the throne is through seniority.
Before the demise of Oba Odugade on Tuesday, the late monarch elevated Adetunji and other high chiefs in Ibadan with Adetunji becoming the Balogun of Ibadanland.
The position, according to the Olubadan succession system, qualifies him as the next Olubadan when the incumbent passes away.
But while dignitaries and indigenes were mourning at the late Oba Odugade’s palace on Wednesday, there was celebration at the Alusekere family compound of Adetunji in the Popoyemoja area of Ibadan.
Our correspondent, who visited the family, observed that many well-wishers trooped to the compound to felicitate with Adetunji, who many believed would be named as Oba Odugade’s successor.
Hundreds of youths started an early party in the High Chief’s home, treating themselves to loud music while another sound system was being mounted at the entrance to the compound before our correspondent left the area on Wednesday.
Adetunji, 87, who is a prominent music promoter and owner of Babalaje Record Company, told our correspondent that the late Olubadan contributed greatly to the development of Ibadanland during his reign.
“Tradition and Ibadan royal succession system demand that since I am next to the late monarch, I should be the next Olubadan of Ibadanland.
“I pray that God will grant the late king a good rest. He was a wonderful person who we all loved. Ibadan people and visitors among us should expect good things from God in my time. Our economy will improve and peace will reign in my time,” he added.
He promised to strengthen the existing peace in Ibadan, stressing that the city would witness economic boom during his reign as the Olubadan.
Adetunji became the Mogaji (Head) of his family in 1976, reaching the top 40 years later.
Until October, 2015, he was the Otun Balogun of Ibadanland.
In October 2015, the Balogun of Ibadanland, High Chief Sulaimon Omiyale, who, until his death, was the next in line to the throne of the Olubadan, died at the age of 91.
But Oyediji, 89, alleged that the Olubadan-in-Council disregarded the rule of law in the succession process.
Speaking in Ibadan on Wednesday, Oyediji said, “I am the next to be installed (the) Olubadan and not Adetunji.”
Justifying his claim, Oyediji said a motion filed on behalf of the Seriki family by his lawyer, A.G. Adeniran, before the Oyo State Chief Judge, Justice Mukthar Abimbola, stated that his family had obtained a Supreme Court judgment, which favours their admittance into the Olubadan ruling line.
He alleged that since 1989 when the judgment was obtained, the Olubadan-in-Council had refused to respect it.
Oyediji claimed that the last Otun Seriki, who was a National Chairman of the defunct National Party of Nigeria, the late Chief Adisa Akinloye, was denied the opportunity to become the Olubadan before he died in 2007, claiming that the Seriki family was the third line in the Olubadan succession system.
He added, “The problem with the Seriki line started with the 1959 Ekerin Balogun of Ibadan Chieftaincy Declaration, which places the Seriki under the Ekerin Balogun of Ibadan and provides, for the first time, that the Seriki can only be promoted to Ekerin Balogun only if there are two simultaneous vacancies occurring in the Ashipa and Ekerin Balogun titles.”
Oyediji said the motion was also seeking the order of the court, setting aside the appointments made by the late Olubadan to fill vacancies existing in the chieftaincy titles of Ekerin Olubadan, Ashipa Olubadan, Osi Olubadan, Otun Olubadan and Balogun Olubadan of Ibadan from November 21, 2008, to the last appointments made on January 1, 2016.
According to him, one of the motions would be heard on January 28, 2016.