His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Moshood Olalekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, is one of the newly crowned 21 kings in Ibadanland. In this interview with GBENGA ABEGUNRIN, the former member of the Senate said there is no need for controversy over the review of the Olubadan chieftaincy declaration by Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state. Specifically, Oba Balogun declared that the review has nothing to do with the 2019 general election in the state.
In an earlier interview, you claimed that the Olubadan still remained the father of all elevated kings, and that all was well within the Olubadan in council. But recently, the Olubadan reportedly described the crowns that you all the 21 newly elevated kings are wearing as fake?
I do not believe that Olubadan made such statement. His Imperial Majesty is a gentleman, he is too refined and responsible to made such pronouncement. I believe strongly that such derogatory statement did not emanate from the Olubadan’s palace. If it did, maybe it was from the Olubadan’s spokespersons. Some people might be using the Olubadan’s name to talk. I know him very well. He is too gentle and refined to make such statement. The language does not sound like his own.
There is this insinuation that the main motive while Governor Ajimobi review the Olubadan law is political. That the governor wants to use it to ensure victory for his political party in 2019. What is your take on that?
I cannot see any nexus between the review of the Olubadan chieftaincy law by Governor Abiola Ajimobi and the 2019 election. We all know that the governor cannot contest against be return to the Agodi government house in 2019. Also, as far as I know, the governor has not declared that he will be running for any office in 2019. So, to say that the review of the Olubadan chieftaincy law was politically motivated is wrong.
I have said it over times that it is obvious that the review was stemmed out of the governor’s love for Ibadanland. I call it Ibadan patriotism. It must have stemmed out of Governor Ajimobi’s experience of lesser kings in Yorubaland who are surrounded with crown-wearing subordinates. The governor then wondered why our revered and respected Olubadan of Ibadanland should not be surrounded with crown-wearing kings.
It is like majority of Ibadan people are against the review. Are you not bothered that the issue is fast dividing Ibadan people?
Those connected with opposition to the review are highly ignorant. For example, one of the was asking on a radio programme that where is Oba Lekan Balogun’s palace. For record purpose, let me inform that the Ali-Iwo palace had been in existence long before I was born. I inherited the palace when I became the Mogaji of Ali-Iwo. The palace has been there since 1863 when Ali-Iwo got to Ibadan. When Ali-Iwo came to Ibadan, the then ruler of Ibadan was his friend. They had been friends for long, so he appointed Ali-Iwo as Baba Isale of Ibadanland, meaning the grand patron of Ibadan. Can you imagine, about 150 years later, an unknown Mogaji asking where is Lekan Balogun’s palace. I just used that to illustrate their level of ignorance.
Some people have noted that you opposed former Governor Alao-Akala’s attempt to review the Olubadan law then, but you are now supporting incumbent Governor Ajimobi because he is your fellow Ibadanman?
I was close to former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala. He is my very good friend . So, I am not supporting Governor Ajimobi’s initiative to review the Olubadan because he is a fellow Ibadan man. I opposed Governor Ajimobi’s initiative at the beginning because we were not consulted, and because a lot of allegations were made against the governor’s initiative.
They alleged that the governor wanted to use the reform to unjustly demote and promote some high chiefs. But the governor summoned a meeting, and it was at the meeting that I realised that his motive was genuine and out of his patriotism for Ibadanland. Even, the Olubadan at that point agreed with the governor and said that the review was long overdue. We were all there together, not what I watched in the television. If Akala had used the same approach that Governor Ajimobi used, I would have supported him.
With you elevation and subsequent crowning as a king, will you still be politically active?
I have stopped being politically active for long, and that was the reason I did not go back to the Senate in 2003. Now that I am a king, and my subjects belong to different political party, how do you want me to support or go against any particular political party? Moreover, to me, politics is not a do-or-die affair. I am not looking for self interests in politics.
What is the situation within the Olubadan-in-council. Has the controversy not affected the relationship among members of the council?
We are all one. We remain very close, and our relationship is still very cordial. We all have the interest of Ibadanland and its people at heart.
What about the Osi Olubadan, Senator Rashidi Ladoja who has gone to the court to challenge the review?
Ladoja is my friend and brother. I know him very well. He is highly intelligent. I have no doubt that with time, Ladoja will reverse his decision to oppose the review of the Olubadan chieftaincy declaration. He will soon see the reason to support the reform. The reform has changed nothing. It has not affected the hierarchy in the Ibadan traditional chieftaincy. We have nothing to lose with the reform. What has changed are nomenclature and fashion. For example, I still remain the Otun Olubadan of Ibadaland. What has changed is that instead of cap, I now wear a crown, and I am now referred to as His royal majesty.
In your view sir, what are the implications of this reform on the development of Ibadanland?
Its advantages on the development of Ibadan are many. We will soon start to see its advantages. If we have Ibadan state today, are you saying that we should continue to have only one king in Ibadanland? The resemblance of such reform had taken place in Ekiti, Ijebu, Egba, Osun state and other parts of Yorubaland. However, one thing is unique about the Ibadan reform. It has not changed the geography of Ibadanland. Ibadanland is still one under the paramount rulership of the Olubadan of Ibadanland. Nobody has carved out any part of Ibadan as a separate town or kingdom.
Lastly, your advice for those who still oppose to the reform?
My advice for them is that they should go and study the review very well. If they study it well, they will realise that there is no need for them to cause any controversy over the review. It has changed nothing in the Olubadan traditional chieftaincy hierarchy.
The post Ladoja Will Soon Change His Position On Olubadan Chieftaincy Review – Balogun appeared first on Independent Nigeria.
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Author: Gbenga Abegunrin