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…as Balogun’s stool remains vacant

  • Lawyers warn of constitutional crisis
  • ‘Oba, at 101, too old to install next-in-rank’

AJIBOLA BENSON

There are strong indications that a royal constitutional crisis may soon hit the ancient town of Ibadan as the next in rank to the Olubadan, who should, by tradition, ascend the throne once the incumbent passes on, has yet to be installed.

Our correspondent gathered on Thursday that lawyers, who are indigenes of Ibadan, had drawn the attention of the royal institution to what might, at any time, create a missing gap, once the position of Olubadan becomes vacant.

The indigenous lawyers, it was learnt, referred the community’s leader to the recent constitutional crisis that occurred in Kogi State when the All Progressives Congress’ governorship candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, died in the course of the election.

While wishing the Ibadan monarch long life, a source who attended a recent gathering of some Ibadan-born lawyers, said the legal practitioners warned that it might be impossible to get a successor to the throne of Olubadan, if a Balogun was not installed in the instance.

In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, there is always no basis to contest for the throne of the king as the next occupant of the stool is usually known. He leads a long chain of potential successors.

But the recent death of High Chief Sulaiman Omiyale, the Balogun of Ibadanland, may have created a vacuum, which if not quickly filled, can throw the largest city, south of the Sahara, into crisis and alter the well-arranged traditional structure of ascendancy to the exalted throne.

Omiyale, who is the next in rank to the Olubadan, Oba Samuel Odulana, Odugade 1, died at the age of 95 on Saturday, November 7, at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, and was buried the following day, at Ope Agbe Palace, Omiyale House, Oja’ba, Ibadan, according to Islamic rites.

Following his death, and given the hierarchical nature of the ascendancy of chiefs on the two lines that produced the Olubadan, it is expected that the Otun Balogun, High Chief Saliu Adetunji, will step into the position of the late Omiyale.

WHY SUCCESSION CRISIS LOOMS

However, given the tradition of the ancient city, the Otun Balogun can only move into the vacant position of Balogun when he is officially presented with the ‘Akko’ leaf by the Olubadan. Up till now, however, the ‘awaiting’ Otun has not been decorated, and this may not be unconnected with the fact that Oba Odulana, who is over 101 years, has not been seen in the public for some time.

There is therefore the anxiety that if the Otun Balogun is not given the ceremonial leaf of the vacant position of Balogun, he cannot jump from his present position to become the Olubadan, should the Olubadan join his ancestors.

Palace sources told The Point that the centenarian Olubadan did not just withhold the installation of a new Balogun. “Instead, the royal father is drawn by old age and may not be physically fit to perform the installation at the moment,” a reliable palace source said.

It was also learnt that, according to the Ibadan tradition, the responsibility of installing a new Balogun could not be delegated to anyone, as it must be performed by the Olubadan himself.

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