Ibadan, capital of Oyo State, western Nigeria, stood still Friday as people from all walks of life thronged Mapo Hall situated at Oja’ba to witness the coronation of the 87-year-old 41st Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Alasupo Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, who was the immediate past Balogun Olubadan.
Security operatives had a very difficult task controlling the huge crowd who wanted to ensure that they occupied strategic places to be able to have a clear view of the event.
A large crowd of people who were prevented from entering the arena pushed and pressed to be able to catch a glimpse of activities.
It was a major struggle for those who had access and for dignitaries to enter the arena where the ceremony took place.
The situation was so bad that journalists had it rough as they were prevented from having access to the podium area to carry out their duties and were harassed and ordered off the area.
The media team of the event led by Yomi Layinka, Senior Adviser to the Oyo State Governor, unleashed security men on the journalists, giving them instruction to push and chase journalists away from the area.
It became worse on the arrival of the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi who himself supervised the policemen led by the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adeleye Oyebade to push away the journalists from the strategic position they stationed themselves on the podium after which he moved the eminent monarchs to the area where journalists were driven away from.
The organisation of the event was so shoddy that even the newly installed Olubadan was also not spared as he was pushed and shoved around by the crowd as he made his way to the podium.
Other monarchs from different parts of the country also did not have a pleasant experience in getting to the area designated for them.
Overzealous security operatives, police especially, flogged many people in the crowd and some sustained injuries of various degrees.
The programme slated for 10am did not commence until 12:35pm shortly after the Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi arrived.
In his speech, the new Olubadan called on the Federal Government to raise the status of the Ibadan Airport to an international airport as well as create Ibadan State as a matter of urgency.
According to the monarch, Ibadan with eleven local governments is bigger than some states in the country and there is no reason under equity and justice, why Ibadan should not be made a state.
Justifying the eminent dignitaries that attended the coronation, the Olubadan pointed out that most people have one link or the other with the ancient city.
Governor Ajimobi in his speech tagged, “Behold the King of a city built on hills”, explained that the Olubadan of Ibadan Chieftaincy is a recognized chieftaincy under Part 2 of the Chiefs Law OYSLN 2000, and that the 1957 Olubadan of Ibadan Chieftaincy Declaration accorded recognition to only two major chieftaincy lines, that is, the Otun Olubadan and Balogun lines.
According to him, “The ascension to the stool of Olubadan of Ibadanland is ‘strictly rotational’ between these two chieftaincy lines. The recognized kingmakers to the Olubadan Chieftaincy that is, the Olubadan-in-Council having met in accordance with the Chieftaincy Declaration, and having satisfied all the conditions precedent, particularly the provisions that ‘the line whose turn it is to present a candidate shall nominate a candidate’ who shall not be found to be disqualified under the provision of Section 10(2) of the Chiefs Law 1957 (now Section 14(2) of the Chiefs Law 2000).
“There is the need to inform us all that under the above quoted portion of the law, ‘No person shall be qualified to be a candidate for a recognized chieftaincy who: suffers from serious physical infirmity; or has under any law in force in Nigeria, been found or declared to be a lunatic or adjudged to be of unsound mind; or has, in any part of the Commonwealth: been sentenced to death or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years; or been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty and sentenced to imprisonment therefore, and has not been granted a free pardon.’”
The governor further stated: “The choice of the new Olubadan of Ibadanland from the Balogun line, and also as the highest ranked in that line is customary, traditional and legal. It has also satisfied all the legal provisions without any legal encumbrances. The Olubadan-in-Council, being the Kingmakers appointed and presented – high chief Adetunji -as the 41st Olubadan Of Ibadanland and as the Governor of Oyo State, I have relied on provisions of Chiefs Law Cap 28 Section 20(1) OYSLN 2000 to approve this appointment.
“Oba Saliu Akanmu Olasupo Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, is now the 41st Olubadan of Ibadanland. The uniqueness of Olubadan Chieftaincy is such that the new Oba had climbed the 23rd step on the Balogun line starting from the lowest rung of Jagun Balogun in a period of 38 solid years!”
Ajimobi however charged the new monarch to be above board and be a rallying point to all citizens of their towns and cities adding, “the Olubadan is at the apex of the entire chieftaincy system in Ibadanland and the ruler of Ibadan as well as the paramount ruler of the entire Ibadanland currently made up of five urban local governments and six outer urban or rural local government areas. No doubt, he is the custodian of the people’s tradition and culture. He is also the symbol of unity of Ibadan people and has the final say on all customary matters. He carries responsibility for peace and progress of Ibadanland. The Olubadan Chieftaincy itself is unique for being republican and to a great extent rancour-free. This makes the traditional system worthy of emulation by other towns both in the state and the country at large.”
He pointed out to Olubadan that he should know that he stood at the head of an enlightened and articulate community and that he is faced with the task of building a new society on a celebrated pedestal of a distinguished predecessor.
Ajimobi declared that the state government under his leadership is set to review the chieftaincy declaration of some titles, stressing that the institution of chieftaincy in the state would be overhauled.
“We will also review the status of Obas and Chiefs with a view to also insulating them from partisan politics more so that they are expected to be the fathers of all,” he said.
He concluded: “On this note, I, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the Governor of Oyo State, in the exercise of powers conferred on me by Section 3(a) and 20(1) of the Chiefs Law, Cap. 28 Volume 1 Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria and by virtue of all other enabling powers on that behalf, present this Certificate of Instrument of Office and symbol of Authority to Oba Saliu Akanmu Olasupo Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, in confirmation of Part II Recognized status of Olubadan Chieftaincy.”
Oba Adetunji is a man of modest education who speaks, reads and writes in English. He began his career as a tailor when his uncle took him to Lagos in 1949. He learnt tailoring from Mr. Disu Alade Igbalajobi, then of No. 33, Ereko Lane, Idumota, near Kosoko, on Lagos Island.
Stroke of luck brought him into the entertainment industry where he started by selling records and at some point, he played a pivotal role in the rise of music superstars such as Lefty Salami Balogun, Amuda Agboluaje, Tatalo Alamu, Raimi Atolagbe, Dauda Epo-Akara, Sule Epo, Iyanda Sawaba, Asanat Omo Aje and a host of others whom he promoted through his popular music label, Omo Aje Sound Studio. He is also credited with the rise of King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, K1, and Alayeluwa Sule Alao Malaika, among others.
Blessed with many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, his first and second wife, Alhaja Rafatu and Alhaja Olanrewaju, respectively, have passed on, while his surviving wives are Olori Kudirat Molade and Olori Rashidat Alolade.
He began his long journey to the Olubadan throne in 1976 when he was chosen as the leader of the large, all inclusive Adetunji family of Alusekere Compound, Popoyemoja, Ibadan, on the advice of the immediate past Balogun of Ibadanland, the late High Chief Sulaiman Omiyale.
After becoming Mogaji of his family house during the reign of Olubadan Gbadamosi Adebimpe at Odinjo, Ibadan, he started the journey to join the Ibadan Traditional Chiefs by getting enlisted in the Balogun line in 1978. He received the chieftaincy title of Jagunmolu Balogun during the reign of Olubadan Daniel Tayo Akinbiyi of Elekuro, Ibadan.
In the past forty years, he was promoted from one step to another till date when he ascended the throne of the Olubadan after it became vacant following the passage of Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade 1 on 19 January, 2016.
Among the dignitaries in attendance at the coronation were: former Lagos state Governor and Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and his counterparts in Oyo state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Senator Rasheed Ladoja, and Dr. Omololu Olunloyo.
Serving governors in attendance were Governors Ibikunle Amosun, Akinwunmi Ambode, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Ayodele Fayose. Also, Deputy Governor of Oyo, Chief Moses Alake and his wife, Janet, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, Chief Mrs. Mutia Ladoja, Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka who led some principal officers of the institution to the event and his counterpart from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Professor Adeniyi Gbadegesin, the three senators and six members at the House of Representatives, Oyo and Osun States legislators led by their speakers, Hon. Michael Adesina Adeyemo and Hon. Najeem Salaam, respectively, were also attendance.
Monarchs in attendance include: Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, Oba of Lagos, His Highness Oba Rilwan Akiolu,, Soun of Ogbomosho represented by his high chief, Samuel Otolorin, Aare Agbo of Ogbomosho land, Sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubakar, and Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari.