Barely a week after Ibadan Mogajis, some senior Chiefs, Market men and Women applauded the State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde and the State House of Assembly on the planned reform of Chiefs Law of Oyo State, the Olubadan-In-Council on Friday also backed the fresh move, saying ‘it is time to amend the Chiefs law to have more Obas’ under the Olubadan of Ibadanland.
Majority of the Olubadan High chiefs in their memorandum to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, during a public hearing of the bill on the reform which recently entered second reading stage, copiously advanced reasons why the need for chieftaincy reform in Ibadan which can only happen after the Chiefs Law of the State has been amended.
According to one of them, High Chief Tajudeen Ajibola, ‘I need to report why the Government of Oyo state should reform the Oyo State Chieftaincy Reform visa-s-vis Ibadan Municipality in the Eleven Local Government within its Municipality and how to go about it.’
Ajibola said ‘The Ibadan has been long governed by 1957 Declaration Law whereby the High Chiefs under the Olubadan are subject to ridicule and lack of respect at public functions until during the era of Late Senator Abiola Ajimobi who abolished the 1957 Declaration Law and upgraded the High Chiefs to the Status of Royal Majesty why Olubadan himself was upgraded to the Status of Imperial Majesty.
‘He also cut the line to 12 steps at Otun line and 13 steps at Balogun line, the situation which was later reversed by Governor Seyi Makinde
‘The Ibadan High Chiefs were not respected and given necessary regard within and outside governmental functions like other Obas from outside Ibadan like Oke Ogun, Oyo and Ogbomoso axis who have no higher domain status or size bigger than Foko, Agbeni, Oje, etc. in Ibadan.
‘The defect leading to the derailment of attempt of Late Senator Ajimobi to upgrade Ibadan hierarchy was failure to amend the Chiefs Law to give it status it deserved.
‘Now that the incumbent Governor Engineer Seyi Makinde has now deem it fit to put the record straight and give Ibadan a befitting status, we solidly support the Amendment to section 28 of the Chiefs Laws of Oyo State.
‘It is a kudos to His Excellency Governor Makinde who has deem it fit to correct the long time defects to the Chiefs law politically created during,’ Ajibola added.
In his own contribution, the Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom, Oba Sunday Oladapo Oyediran
Stated that the amendment of the Law is a good development.
He, however, said the exercise of the Governor’s discretion in respect of the chieftaincy holders that are entitled to wear beaded crown should be exercised based on the historical antecedent of the chieftaincies, the peculiarity of a given area and doctrine of necessity.
Oba Oyediran said, ‘In exercising his discretion, the Governor should carry out due diligence to ensure that territorial identities are respected, avoid overlapping of areas of traditional authorities and draw a distinct line between traditional Chiefs and honorary ones. The beaded crown so approved by the Governor should be annotated with the inscription of Obas created by statute.’
The monarch said with this amendment, the Governor is now placed in the position of a Judge of the Court in respect of entitlement to wear beaded crown and he must exercise his discretion judiciously and judicially,
The reform is seeking to amend the current Chiefs Law particularly Section 28 of the Law which provides that ‘The Governor may from time to time after consultation with the Council of Obas and Chiefs of the State by order specify the chieftaincies, the holder for the time being of which are entitled to wear beaded crown.’
The wearing of beaded crown by chieftaincy holders in the State is at the discretion of the Governor by the provision of the present law and the Governor can only exercise his discretion after he must have consulted the Council of Obas and Chiefs.
But the amendment sought by the Governor is to give him the right to exercise his discretion as provided by the Law unfettered.