By Sayo Aluko
Ibadan is the most populous Yoruba city, the culture capital of the Southwest. It has 11 local government councils with over 160 recognizable regions. It has sought a “State status” for many years. But, until today it had only one Oba. A big disservice to the throne, heritage, history and the people of Ibadan. An unarguable disservice.
Our last Olubadan, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade 1, was conferred a CFR status. At the conferment, he was accompanied by chiefs. Other Oba’s were accompanied by “lower-ranking” Obas from their domain.
Abeokuta has 4 or more Obas. Eko has many. Ijebu has several. Ife has about 4. Iwo has about 4. The Awujale is the paramount ruler of Ijebu land. The Oluwo is the paramount for Iwo land. The Alake is paramount for Abeokuta. The Ooni is paramount for Ife.
These are smaller towns than Ibadan with less population and lower numbers of LGs. The Olubadan deserves to have “lesser” Obas under him.
And, apart from its befitting stance, any Ibadan indigene who needs to be schooled on the importance and impact of regional and subregional Obas towards socioeconomic advancement and communal accord cum efficiency, must be wilfully ignorant.
It is clear as day that this move even seems already belated and couldn’t have come at a better time. The efforts channeled into rebuilding and modernising Ibadan would amount to a futuristic futility if we don’t strengthen and reposition our traditional institutions, in this case, the Obaship. What’s the essence of building infrastructure without a reticulated, strong and befitting communal institution to boot? Well, your guess is as good as mine. I’ll deploy a Yoruba proverb as an allegory here – Omo (read Ìlú) táà’kó, láá kó ilé táa kó tà!
By this move, Ibadan has one Olubadan that becomes the Imperial majesty, 11 senior ranking Obas and another 11 Baales that now wear beads.
The ascension line to the Olubadan remains unchanged. The Otun and Osi line continue in the historical path to Oba.
The demand for this was by 10 of the 11 high chiefs, the Baales, and other submissions to a Judicial Commission of Inquiry constituted by the Governor of Oyo State, who by law has the power to create such. Notably, past Governors have also attempted this move, but this is the time it’s coming to fruition.
The move is supported by the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, Ibadan Elders forum and other Ibadan cultural associations.
It’s a new royal dawn in Ibadan, let’s wear our robes and celebrate, while we brace ourselves for the positive impact that will be driven by this new, but long-overdue wave.