The Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, on Friday installed Senator Olalekan Balogun as the 42nd Olubadan of Ibadan.
Balogun’s coronation as the traditional head of Ibadan, the state capital, came 36 years after he became the Mogaji.
The new monarch was presented with his Staff of Office and Instrument of Office by the governor at a ceremony held at the ancient Mapo Hall in Ibadan.
Present at the coronation included the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; a former vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; and Governors Kayode Fayemi, Dapo Abiodun, Abdullahi Ganduje of Ekiti, Ondo and Kano states.
Monarchs at the event included the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Rasheed Akanbi; the Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan; and the Olugbon of Orile Igbon, Oba Francis Alao.
Meanwhile, shortly before the presentation of the staff of office, former governor Rashidi Ladoja, who is the Osi Olubadan, led other high chiefs to pay homage to the new monarch. They all took turns to prostrate before the king.
The elated Olubadan expressed gratitude to the governor, the High Chiefs and the people of Ibadan for their support, which he said enabled him to ascend the throne. “I will not let Ibadan down, I will not let Nigeria down,” he noted.
Makinde described the Olubadan succession arrangement as the best while advising traditional rulers not to dabble in politics or allow politicians to tinker with the plan.
He said, “Since the first coronation ceremony was held in the 1850s, we have maintained in the best way possible, given various circumstances, one of the best succession lines in Yoruba history.
“So, we rejoice that today, we crown a new Olubadan. As a Bible Proverb says, when the righteous is in authority, the people rejoice. Our gathering here today is victory for the sons and daughters of Ibadanland, and restoration of our traditional systems.
“I have always taken a stand for the integrity of our traditional system and so I am especially delighted that today, Friday, March 11, 2022, the sanctity of the emergence of this century-old dynasty has been restored.
“His Imperial Majesty, Oba (Dr) Mohood Olalekan Ishola Balogun Alli, Okumade II, has distinguished himself as an excellent professional. He has without doubt contributed and will continue to contribute to the development of Ibadanland and Oyo State at large.”
He pointed out that the new monarch, whom he once worked with at Shell Petroleum Development Company, had served both in private and public sectors, including representing the state at the Senate.
“So, we rejoice that His Imperial Majesty, Oba (Dr) Mohood Olalekan Ishola Balogun Alli, Okumade II, climbed the 22 steps on the Olubadan line starting from the lowest rung of Jagun Olubadan over a period of 39 years.
“We rejoice because His Imperial Majesty having seen how things were, when politics became a factor in the ascension to the throne, is in a great position to defend the traditions of our people and ensure that this does not happen again.”
The new monarch was one of the Baales promoted and crowned as kings in 2017 by former Governor Abiola Ajimobi during a disagreement with the then Olubadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji.
Ladoja and the late monarch opposed Ajimobi’s move to tinker with the town’s age-long chieftaincy and succession plan, while the other High Chiefs submitted themselves to Ajimobi’s move. This triggered some persons’ initial opposition to Balogun’s nomination as Olubadan, as some argued that having been crowned as a king, he could no longer become the Olubadan.
His nomination as recommended by the Olubadan-in-Council was however approved by the governor, who also approved the revocation of the Ibadan Chieftaincy Declaration amended by Ajimobi to promote the Baales in 2017.
Makinde said, “I want to restate that even though we politicians will come and go, sometimes, to satisfy our political whims, we may make decisions that do not protect our traditional systems. But this is why the custodians of our culture must always take a stand against us tinkering with age-old traditional systems.
“Our elders, the members of the various councils, the chiefs, our traditional fathers they are the gatekeepers and they must remain steadfast in their role. Remember, no politician can destroy any system without the cooperation of some members of these systems.
“Therefore, I want to use this opportunity to ask that Kabiyesi and the Olubadan-in-Council work to ensure that the laws having to do with the ascension to the throne of Olubadan remain sacrosanct. If there are to be any amendments, they should be self-conceived. The Olubadan-in-Council should remain self-regulated without any external interference from the political class.”
The vice-president congratulated the new monarch, saying Ibadan was lucky to have him as their king. He noted that Balogun’s openness and large heart earned him the throne as he prayed that his reign would bring greatness to the town.
“He was better prepared for the throne, having been a scholar, former senator and champion of indigenous culture and community empowerment,” Osinbajo added.