Ladoja faults Otun Balogun, Makinde says no crisis

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THE Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland and former governor of Oyo State, High Chief Rashidi Ladoja, on Wednesday, challenged the competence of the Otun Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Tajudeen Ajibola, to speak on the medical fitness of the Olubadan-designate, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin.

Ladoja also said the meeting of the Olubadan-in-Council, earlier fixed for tomorrow, had been shifted to Friday because of the public holiday, adding that if Oba Ajibola, who is to nominate Oba Olakulehin as Olubadan, did not attend the meeting, another high chief in the Balogun line would do so.

The According reports that Oba Ajibola, on Tuesday, declared that the Olubadan-designate, Oba Olakulehin, was ill and not physically fit to rule at the moment.

His position on the medical status of Oba Olakulehin was in contrast with that of the Osi Balogun, Oba Lateef Adebimpe, who, alongside three other Obas, after paying homage last Friday to Oba Olakulehin at his Alalubosa Government Reserved Area in Ibadan, declared that “Oba Olakulehin is hale, hearty and fit for the throne.”

Amid the controversy, the Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday, declared that there was no cause for alarm over the selection of the next Olubadan, warning individuals peddling divisive tendencies over the matter to desist.

The governor, in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media), Sulaimon Olanrewaju, maintained that the due process on the matter included the nomination of the next Olubadan by the Olubadan-in-Council and the forwarding of the same to his office, which had yet to be done.

Ladoja, who spoke with newsmen at his residence in Ondo Street, Ibadan, said Oba Ajibola had the right to his opinion and was not a medical doctor to determine the fitness of the Olubadan-designate.

He said Olakulehin, being an elderly person, was not expected to act like a youth.

Ladoja said, “Olakulehin is not a 20-year-old man. He is not a 30-year-old or 40-year-old man. He is over 80 years old. So, we can’t expect him to act like a youth.”

Also, Ladoja, on Wednesday, maintained Oba Ajibola’s opinion would not stop Olakulehin’s nomination process.

Ladoja said if Oba Ajibola failed to show up for Friday’s meeting of the Olubadan-in-Council where he (Oba Ajibola) is expected to nominate Olakulehin, another member of the council would do it.

Ladoja said, “If Ajibola fails to attend the Friday meeting, he can be substituted with another high chief next to him.

“Ajibola can be substituted to nominate Olubadan if he doesn’t come to the meeting, I’ve already slated a meeting for Friday because tomorrow is a public holiday, if he doesn’t come, he can be substituted.”

Ladoja explained that the 1957 Declaration makes provision for substitution, adding that “he can be substituted if he is sick, because anybody can be sick or if he doesn’t come for the meeting to which he had been invited. There is even a provision for multiple nominations in the Declaration.”

Going by the Ibadan Chieftaincy arrangement, for Olakulehin to become Olubadan, he must be nominated by the next person to him in his line at a meeting convened by the most senior chief in the other line.

It will be recalled that the Olubadan stool became vacant after the demise of Oba Lekan Balogun, who reigned for two years and died at the age of 81.

Ladoja continued:  “There was a video that has gone viral where the Osi Balogun, Oba Adebimpe, addressed journalists in Baba house and confirmed that he is hale and hearty after seeing him. If one says that he is not well and the other one says that he is well. You can see that everybody is entitled to his opinion.

“However, none of them is a doctor. The man we are talking about is not 50 years and not 60 years. He is over 80 years old. The Otun Balogun is not in the best position to determine his medical fitness. He is not a medical doctor. It is an opinion. You can add your own as well.

“The matter will be resolved at Friday’s meeting, which is expected to have in attendance all the kingmakers, including Oba Ajibola.”

Meanwhile, Ladoja has attributed his decision to institute a case against members of the Olubadan-in-Council to a threat to his kingship ambition.

“What brought about the case is their threat to my ambition. They said Ladoja has not taken the crown, so when it comes to his turn to be nominated as Olubadan, we will look the other way. If they drop their threat, I will drop my own. It is not a question of saying Ladoja is in court. What for?

“I did not go to court because they took the crown. It is because they threatened me. I did not take the Baales to court because I know their territory. If you say you are Onijaiye, we know where Ijaiye is. I am Otun Olubadan. The whole of Ibadan is my territory. The crown is a way of enhancing the prestige of the person that wears it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Makinde has said there is no crisis in the Olubadan Chieftaincy System, adding that once the chieftaincy system runs its full course, the government will take necessary decisions in the best interest of Ibadanland and Oyo State.

Speaking on Wednesday when the Deputy Governor, Bayo Lawal, led Muslim government’s representatives and other Muslim functionaries on a courtesy visit to his Ikolaba residence, shortly after praying at the Eid Praying Ground at Agodi, Ibadan, Governor Makinde said, “Some people have kept talking about the Ibadan Chieftaincy System, saying it has got issues and all of that.

“But I said the Obas-in-Council are yet to make their nomination. When they make it, it will come to me and I will either say yes or no. But that has not happened. So, why are people focusing on things that are capable of dividing us?

“Those whose stock in trade is to keep looking for what to divide us should look for something else to do. They should rather focus on things that will unite us.”

Governor Makinde congratulated the Muslim Ummah on the successful completion of the 30-day Ramadan fast and appreciated them for their support and the peace and harmony being enjoyed in the state.

Noting that the new Oyo State has been renowned for peace, unity and harmony, the governor admonished individuals bent on dividing the state with religion to take their trade elsewhere.

He equally charged the people of the state to imbibe discipline as one of the lessons learnt in the month of Ramadan.

He said: “I want to use this opportunity to greet our Muslim brothers and sisters and to wish all of us a happy Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

“One of the lessons of Ramadan is discipline because, for these last 30 days, we discipline our bodies. Though the body was seeking for nutrients and food, we said no for the duration of the fasting. So, it is a lesson we have to imbibe in our daily life.

“We should also use this experience to settle our differences with people around us. We are all together and united now, as it is a new Oyo State where everybody is coming on board.

“Those whose stock in trade is to keep looking for what to divide us should look for something else to do. They should rather focus on things that will unite us.”

Speaking on the forthcoming local government election in the state, slated for April 27,  Governor Makinde charged the electorate to go out en masse and vote for their leaders at the grassroots.

Governor Makinde maintained that the April 27 election would make it the second time his government would be conducting the local government election in less than five years, whereas the previous administration in the state did not conduct local government election for seven years out of its eight-year tenure.

He said: “For the forthcoming local government election, our people should come out and vote. It is less than three weeks away.

“And for those trying to look for negative narratives, they did not conduct local government elections for seven years out of the eight years their party spent in office. But we have done one and we are doing another one.

“We are not allowing any gap. It was planned and we funded it because we want to show that that tier of governance is as serious as other tiers.”

Earlier, in his message, the Deputy Governor, who spoke on behalf of the Muslim delegation, appreciated Governor Makinde for his uncommon leadership.

He equally thanked the governor for engendering religious harmony in the state.

A special prayer was offered by the Chairman of the Oyo State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Muslim Wing, Sheik Hashim Atere, for the governor and the entire people of the state.

Muslim functionaries in attendance included a former Deputy Governor of the state and National Deputy Chairman (South) of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja; former Deputy Governor, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarunmi; Deputy Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Honourable Muhammed Fadeyi; Local Government Chairmen from Ibadanland, State PDP leaders and other government functionaries, among others.

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