Even though the gathering yesterday was press briefing to update the media on the state of Ibadan, the city in the news, the arrival of the Otun Olubadan, High Chief Lekan Balogun at the Mapo Hall premises came with an air of royalty.
The spontaneous chorus of ‘Kabiyesi ooo’, which heralded his emergence from car, was indicative that the press conference would be a catalyst to the debates over successor to the immediate past Olubadan, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji Ajeogungunniso I who joined his ancestors on January 2, 2022 at the University of Ibadan College Hospital (UCH).
How one of the High Chiefs, the Ekarun Olubadan, Hamidu Ajibade, curiously marshaled Balogun from his car to the hall, pointed to direction where the event was heading. When the briefing was flagged off by the high chiefs, who are traditionally the Ibadan kingmakers, there was no longer a doubt that the new Olubadan would emerge. And that was what happened, which a battery of attentive reporters inside the hall promptly fed reading public apparently hungry for updates.
Significantly, the Ekarun Olubadan stole the show with his extensive account of justification for the selection of Balogun and, in addition, revealed a strong bond between the late Olubadan and the Olubadan-In-Council till Oba Adetunji breathed his last.
The former Kano-based business success, Ajibade added that the late Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, did not alter the ascension order in spite of presenting crowns to him and other high chiefs in August 2017, saying further that they remained members of the Olubadan-In Council, with whom Oba Adetunji administered Ibadanland.
The Olubadan-designate, from Ali Iwo lineage, is 79 and former senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and also former lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
Flanked by other high chiefs, he paid homage to the late Olubadan whom he described as a peace-loving and an outstanding custodian of culture and tradition who held on strictly to the principles of excellent leadership.”
He also commiserated Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde as well as the state executive council whom he noted worked together with Oba Adetunji to sustain the peace in Ibadadanland.
He extended the same message to the Olubadan-in-Council, the entire members of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) and people of Ibadan, praying that God to grant them fortitude to bear the loss.
“I thank you all for the expressions of affection and genuine love you have shown to the family of the late Kabiyesi. The new year will bring unto your doorsteps the peace and prosperity you all deserve. Once again, on behalf of myself, the Ali Iwo family and the entire members of the highly revered members of the Olubadan-in-Council, I pray for the peaceful repose of the soul of the late Kabiyesi,” he supplicated.
Balogun, however, admonished public on need to be wary of peddlers of what he called unfounded rumours and insinuation, saying peace of Ibadan should be paramount to everyone than personal desires.
His appeal aligns with that made by the Osi Olubadan, Senator Rasidi Ladoja, who told visitors to his Bodija residence today that only “Uninformed people are just causing unnecessary tension in Ibadan.”