Unknown to many people, beautiful Iyalode Abiodun is one of the most powerful ‘political kingmakers’ in Oyo State. A silent ‘political calculator’, she does not tolerate nonsense and as such, she has suffered oppression in the past.
Here are few things you need to know about her:
1. She was one of the ‘biggest five’ in Oyo state after Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, together with Late Lamidi Adedibu, late former governor Lamidi Adesina and late Aare Arisekola Alao who used to make governors -Afiobaje.
2. She is Ibadan’s most powerful woman.
3. As Iyalode, she is the representative of women in the Olubadan-in-council which has 11 members ( the Olubadan as the head and 10 other high chiefs, including Iyalode).
4. She can be referred to as the Obabinrin (female king) of Ibadanland.
5. Following the demise of the former occupant, Chief Mrs Wuraola Akintola, Abiodun was announced in August, 2007 and installed on the 19th day October, 2007, as the Iyalode of Ibadanland, the 13th in the history of the ancient town, rising through the ladder as Jagun Iyalode of Ibadanland, from 1971 to her present position, almost 36 years after she began her journey.
6. A strong and successful businesswoman. Just like some of her predecessors, especially the likes of Efunsetan Aniwura and Humuani Alaga, Alhaja Abiodun was always with the masses.
7. The late petrel of Ibadan politics, Lamidi Adedibu, and then Governor Adebayo Alao -Akala were absent at her official installation. Adedibu, then a member of the Olubadan-in-Council, ensured that there was no representative of the state government at the ceremony.
Adedibu had allegedly supervised the demolition of Abiodun’s shopping complex at the Bola Ige International Market, Gbagi, Ibadan by the ‘Molete boys’ despite advises by late Olubadan Samuel Odulana Odugade I and other members of the Olubadan-in-Council.
The Iyalode petitioned the Council, accusing Adedibu of supervising the demolition of her ultra-mordern shopping complex. In the petition, she explained how some hoodlums stormed her shopping complex under the supervision of Adedibu, a fellow Olubadan cabinet member, and pulled down all the standing shops and carted away various items from the demolished buildings.
She said her property was demolished on the allegation that she did not support the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nor donate to the electioneering campaigns of the state governor, Alao-Akala and Senator Kamorudeen Adedibu during the 2007 elections.
Adedibu knew that Abiodun was on the side Sen. Rashidi Ladoja, who was still in court to contest his ‘unlawful’ impeachment as governor of Oyo State.
On the strength of the letter, the late Olubadan subsequently summoned Adedibu to explain his roles in the alleged demolition of Abiodun’s building, but trust the garrison commander, he didn’t honour the invitation but addressed the press, saying he was not involved in the demolition. He pointed out that the row of shops standing on the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] land was once demolished by the former government of Senator Ladoja and such, the old woman shouldn’t have built anything on it.
8. During the installation of new Obas by the Abiola Ajimobi’s government, the role of Iyalode was retained and untouched.
9. She was very close to former Governor Rashidi Ladoja as they belong to the Olubadan-in-Council.
10. With wealth, power and fame, Iyalode Abiodun was very popular among the market women.