Over 300 Mogajis (family heads) in Ibadan land have headed to court, asking the governor to either reverse the promotion of the Baales (village heads) to their new status of kings or await the court’s verdict which will bring the government’s reform on system into disrepute.
One of the spokesmen of the group, Chief Wale Oladoja, a family head of the Akinsola from Labiran compound in Ibadan yesterday evening confirmed a statement earlier endorsed by him and another Mogaji from Adanla compound, Chief Abdul Jelili Karimu.
He said 315 of them held meeting with the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, in solidarity with the monarch’s opposition to Oyo State Government’s elevation of high chiefs and Baales.
Oladoja who was a former Director, Odu’a Investment Company Limited, said the forum of Mogajis are solidly behind the Olubadan and would seek redress in the court, just as he wondered how Baales, who, by Ibadan customs and tradition, were under them in hierarchy, could be promoted as kings at their (Mogajis) expense.
In their statement jointly endorsed by him and Karimu, the Ibadan family heads (Mogaji) said the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) which on Tuesday claimed that 90 per cent of Ibadan indigenes back Governor Ajimobi’s chieftaincy review has no capacity to do so, as the CCII is just an umbrella organisation of socio-cultural clubs and societies where people drink beer and take pepper soup.
They wondered how, when and where the CCII leadership conducted its survey before arriving at such a ridiculous figure of 90 per cent, when town hall meetings were not conducted.
Meanwhile, the Oyo State Government yesterday said the Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland and former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, has not rejected the obaship title it conferred on him on Friday August 25, 2017.
The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Bimbo Kolade, disclosed this during an inter-ministerial press briefing held at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Agodi Secretariat, Ibadan.
According to Kolade, who addressed journalists with his counterpart from the Ministry of Information, Mr. Toye Arulogun, Ladoja said he was not available to receive the crown and the beaded-crown has been kept for him till whenever he would be available.
Ladoja had in a statement issued by his media aide, Alhaji Lanre Latinwo, on Tuesday said he would not accept the crown because he would not be a king without domain, alleging further that the recent review of Olubadan chieftaincy was particularly targeted at him.
But Kolade said each of the 11 members of the Olubadan-in-Council, including Ladoja presides over the traditional councils in each of the 11 local government areas of Ibadanland, adding that the installation of 21 kings in Ibadan on August 27 would not increase the expenditure of government because each member of the Olubadan-in-Council would continue to draw their salaries from the local government each of them presides over as they have been doing when they were ‘High Chiefs’
His words: “Honestly, I wonder where anybody saw that the Osi Olubadan has said he has rejected the crown. I have not seen him rejecting the crown. To us in the ministry, there is not a single letter with us in the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, where the current Osi Olubadan has written to say he has rejected the crown.
“He has only said that he was not available. We are still expecting and waiting for his availability to pick up his crown. Whenever he’s available, he will pick up his crown.”
Kolade also dismissed the speculations that the review of 1957 Olubadan of Ibadanland Chieftaincy Declaration by the government has placed the Baales (village heads) above the Mogajis (family head)
“So, Mogajis still remain the Mogajis. They still remain the heads of their families in the city. They still retain and perform all their rites. But all the Baales that have become obas don’t have mogajis in the city. If anyone is in doubt, the person should show me the mogaji that covers Ijaiye or the mogaji that covers Awotan and so on. Once you are entitled to Mogaji in the city, you don’t need to wear crown in the village.”
The Commissioner for Information, Toye Arulogun, in his comment said the Governor Ajimobi-led administration in the state did wide consultation before the review and the reform, adding that “the consultation even predates the current Olubadan.
The issue of review and reform predate the current Olubadan of Ibadan. It started with members of Olubadan-in-Council then, like Chief Omowale Kuye, the late Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, who raised some of these issues because of the low level of respect and dignity accorded to the ‘High Chiefs’, especially when they go to public functions.
(Edited By Olamide Michael)