The traditional structure of ascension to the throne of Olubadan ohas been well-arranged such that it is seamless. The chieftaincy system makes the royal succession tradition largely free from rancour, litigation and usurpation. Any male child title-holder of the metropolitan centre of Ibadan is a potential king.
In Ibadanland, the two ruling lines are the ‘Egbe Agba’ (civil) and ‘Balogun’ (military) from where Olubadans are appointed on rotational basis to occupy the stool on the demise of a monarch.
The two high chiefs that are next in rank to the Olubadan from the two lines are the Otun Olubadan and Balogun of Ibadanland. The duo are recognised as second-class traditional rulers under the Western Nigeria Law.
The fact that Oba Adetunji was produced by the Balogun Lineage has automatically positioned the Otun Lineage to produce the next Olubadan. And the most senior chief is Senator Lekan Balogun, who was in the Senate for Oyo Central from 1999 to 2003.
Since the news broke that Oba Adetunji has joined his ancestors, it was a sort of mourning of the departed soul at Popoyemoja Compound of the monarch. But at Ali-Iwo Compound of Senator Balogun, it has been jubilation galore that it is time for one of their own to occupy the stool as long as God allows him to live.
In an interview with Daily Sun in May 2017, Balogun said: “When I became Mogaji of Ali Iwo Compound, there were a lot of much older people, whose kids were even older than me. My compound used to produce the oldest person as Mogaji before my time. Yet, these people insisted I should be made Mogaji in the late 1970s. The Olubadan that we have produced so far – Ali Iwo I, reigned for three months as Olubadan. If I make it to the throne of Olubadan, I will be Ali Iwo II. After I became Mogaji, many young and educated men have been made Mogajis, which is the self reforming nature of the Olubadan chieftaincy system.”
Daily Sun, however, enquired from the Ekefa Olubadan, Oloye Lekan Alabi, how long it usually takes for new Olubadan to be installed after the demise of a monarch. He answered by saying Olubadan-in-Council, which is the body of kingmakers, comprising the 11 High Chiefs and Iyalode of Ibadanland, would meet and decide when a new Olubadan would emerge.
He explained that the usual practice has always been that the Olubadan-in-Council would meet and commiserate with the bereaved royal family, and would select the successor that is always known. He added that what the council would do would only be ratification of the next in rank to the late occupier of the throne. The council, he said, would then make recommendation to the state government for approval. After the approval, a date would then be set for installation ceremony.
The Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000 Cap 28 spell out the power of the governor in relation to the appointment of recognised chieftaincies in the state. Irrespective of recommendation from the kingmakers, the laws empower the governor to pick among four most senior chiefs on the line, whose turn it is to produce Olubadan, based on certain parameters, such that the candidate for the throne must not be suffering from any serious physical infirmity, must not be a lunatic and must not be an ex-convict. But no governor in the state has ever changed the ratification made by the Olubadan-in-Council.
In this instance, the four most senior chiefs on the Otun Line are Senator Balogun as the Otun Olubadan; Senator Rashidi Ladoja, former governor of Oyo State, as Osi Olubadan; Eddy Oyewole as Ashipa Olubadan and Abiodun Kola-Daisi, as Ekerin Olubadan. Every chief on the Otun Line has to ascend 22 steps and every chief on the Balogun Line has to climb 23 steps to occupy the stool. It usually takes decades to groom an Olubadan for the stool through the stages of chieftaincy promotion, which is an average of 35 to 40 years.
Jagun is the first step on the two lines that produce Olubadan on rotational basis. But for a chief to become Jagun on either of the two lines, he must have been a ‘Mogaji’ (compound head) . Mogajis are installed by reigning Olubadan, and there are about 500 mogajis at present.
Olubadan died 2 months to 6th coronation anniversary
Oba Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, joined his ancestors at the age of 93, barely two months to the celebration of his sixth coronation anniversary, having been crowned on March 4, 2016.
Personal Assistant/Director of Public Affairs to the late monarch, Mr. Adeola Oloko, said his principal was hospitalised for five days before he joined his ancestors.
In an interview with journalists in his office at the Popoyemoja palace of Oba Adetunji, yesterday, Oloko said the late paramount ruler was initially hospitalised at a private hospital for five days, before he was rushed to the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, by 9:30pm on Saturday January 1, 2022 for enhanced medical attention.
“It was a brief illness. At about 9pm on Saturday, he was taken to UCH, Ibadan. After four hours at UCH, which was 1a.m., he joined his ancestors. He was aged 93 years. May God repose his soul.”
Oloko, however, cleared the speculation that Oba Adetunji, who celebrated his 93rd birthday in August 2021, died of COVID-19, saying: “Olubadan did not die of COVID-19. If he was infected, his corpse would not be brought to the palace. The scores of sympathisers here would not be allowed into the premises. You journalists would not even come here. So, COVID-19 did not kill him.”
The remains of the late monarch were conveyed to the palace in an ambulance of the UCH, yesterday morning. However, the Chief Medical Director of UCH, Prof Abiodun Otegbayo, in a statement by Mr. Toye Akinrinlola, deputy director of Information and Public Relations Officer, said Oba Adetunji passed on at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at 1.15 a.m., adding that the late monarch was referred to the UCH from a private hospital in Ibadan at about 9.30 pm on Saturday. He was immediately admitted to the ICU where Prof. Otegbayo directed that a high-powered medical team be constituted to provide the best medical treatment to him. By 1:15 am, yesterday, the king breathed his last breath.
The corpse of Oba Adetunji, was committed to mother earth within the premises of his palace at Popoyemoja, Ibadan at about 4pm yesterday following. a fidau prayer, led by the Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Sheikh Abdul-Ganiy Agbotomokekere, held at the popular Mapo Hall, Ibadan.
Deputy Governor Rauf Olaniyan led the government delegation to the funeral ceremony.
All markets in Ibadanland close
The Babaloja-General of Oyo State, Alhaji Yekini Abass Oladapo, has announced the closure of all markets in Ibadanland today in honour of the late Olubadan.
The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of council of market leaders in the state presided over by Oladapo (YK Abass).
“The council agreed that all market in Ibadanland should be closed on Monday 3rd January, 2022 to honour the demise of the paramount ruler of Ibadanland,” he said.
Oladapo noted that the contributions of Oba Adetunji to the development of Ibadanland prompted markets in the state to witness patronage.
The market leaders commiserated with all sons and daughters of Ibadanland, the Oyo State Government, being led by Governor Seyi Makinde, the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), the state Traditional Council, Olubadan-in-Council and the queen, Olori Rasheedat Adetunji, over the demise of monarch.
Buhari, Kalu, Tinubu, Dare pour tributes, encomiums
Eminent Nigerians have paid glowing tributes on the late Olubadan.
President Muhammadu Buhari described him as a visionary and compassionate leader, who used the spheres of his influence as a respected traditional ruler and a lover of the creative industry to advance the progress of his people, encouraging and motivating them to give their best in their vocation and to the nation.
According to a statement by Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari said the monarch’s demise understandably leaves a huge void to fill and urged the people of Ibadan and Nigerians from different walks of life to honour the eternal memory of the deceased by imbibing the virtues he cherished so much: generosity, peace, tolerance and devotion to unity.
Buhari, in his condolence message to the government and people of Oyo State, the Royal Family, the Olubadan-in-council and the people of Ibadan, assured that the process of selecting his successor would be guided by wisdom, understanding and good judgment that exemplified the life he lived.
In his reaction, former governor of Abia State and Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu described the demise of Olubadan as a huge loss to the nation.
Kalu, while acknowledging the noble roles played by the late monarch in promoting peaceful co-existence among all ethnic groups in Ibadanland, stressed that Oba Adetunji lived a purposeful life dedicated to the service of humanity.
In his condolence message, Kalu, who is Ashipa Seriki Mayegun of Ibadanland conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the people of Ibadanland.
“The demise of Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, is a big loss to the nation.
“The late monarch was a rallying point for the people of Ibadanland. He contributed to nation building in various capacities. The late traditional ruler lived a fulfilled life and left behind good legacies for his loved ones to sustain.”
The Ashipa Seriki Mayegun of Ibadanland prayed to Allah to make Al- Jannah Firdaus the final abode for the late monarch and give the people of Ibadanland the fortitude to bear the loss.
Similarly, the All Progressives Congress National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, described the late Oba Adetunji as humble, humane, mature, calm and decent, always a symbol of unruffled dignity.
In a condolence message released by his Media Office and signed by Mr. Tunde Rahman, Asiwaju Tinubu said:
“The late Olubadan was a sage. He was humble, humane, mature, calm and decent, always a symbol of unruffled dignity.
“Before he mounted the throne, Oba Adetunji had made his name as a successful businessman and music and entertainment promoter who contributed a lot to uplift the careers of many top musicians in the land, thus contributing his quota to the growth of our country’s economy.
“On the throne, the late Olubadan worked assiduously for peace and stability of not only Ibadanland, Oyo State and Yorubaland, but also the entire country. He superintended over the ancient city with even-handedness.”
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare, in his message of condolence, said he had fond recollections of the late Olubadan as a warm, sociable, peaceful and progress loving father who was always interested in the growth and progress of people without minding where they come from.
“I am highly delighted that my path crossed with that of the late Olubadan and I want to say, meeting and having a good relationship him is a thing that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I will miss him sorely, but I take solace in the fact that Baba was a great success as a merchant, an unblemished actor as a socialite and a grand success as the 41st Olubadan of Ibadan land.”