The controversies trailing the comments of Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, on a live television programme in Ibadan, on Saturday, September 2, 2017 are far from over. Many have been tackling the governor for what they tagged his ‘verbal attacks’ against the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, and one of the monarch’s wives.
They also insist that the governor’s statement that he spent over N100 million on the coronation was exaggerated. But the Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, said the governor actually spent up to that amount, asserting that first class monarchs at the ceremony got as much as N5 million as honorariums.
Ajimobi spoke on the opposition of Oba Adetunji to the recent review and reform of the Olubadan chieftaincy system on the television programme. Under the new dispensation, Ibadanland now has 34 kings in place of one. Although 21 of the 33 new kings have been installed, they are all under the authority of the Olubadan.
Ajimobi, who probably tried to articulate the level of closeness between him and Oba Adetunji to show that his administration did not review Olubadan chieftaincy system to discredit the monarch, said on the programme that he spent over N100 million on the coronation of Oba Adetunji on Friday, March 4, 2016 in Ibadan.
He added that he personally invited the Sultan of Sokoto, Emir of Ilorin, Ooni of Ife, Oba of Lagos, Alaafin of Oyo, serving and former governors as well as other dignitaries to honour Olubadan.
Ajimobi was quoted to have said:
“It was wrong of Olubadan not to come to Mapo for the coronation. Either he likes it or not, he is under the local government because he who pays the piper dictates the tune. It is an offence for Olubadan to ignore government directive. I spent over N100 million on Olubadan’s coronation.” He further said one of the monarch’s wives is his younger niece, adding that in their childhood days, he was sending the then young lady to deliver letters to his girlfriends. But he quickly said the queen had now become the mother of Ibadanland based on her present status.
The Mogaji of Akinsola Compound, Oopo Labiran, Ibadan, Chief Olawale Oladoja, who is the leader of a group of Mogajis, called Authentic Mogajis of Ibadanland, said the governor must be mindful of what he says.
“He said that he spent more than N100 million on the coronation of the Olubadan more than a year ago. Did he spend government money or his personal money? How much of state money did he waste on the coronation of 21 kings two weeks ago and how much more will he spend to give them the so-called royal comfort he has promised them?”
But the Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, chided those criticising the Oyo State governor over the latter’s statement that he spent N100 million to install the Olubadan of Ibadanland,
Oba Olakulehin told Daily Sun that if the governor claimed to have spent over N100 million on the coronation of Oba Adetunji, he was not out of point. He explained that the first-class monarchs he invited to the installation on March 4, 2016 were given honorariums of N5million each.
He stated further that the governor also shouldered the financial burden of hosting people in Ibadan during the ceremony, insisting that the intervention of the governor made the installation very colourful.
Oba Olakulehin said those criticising Ajimobi that he did not take the money from his personal pocket, but from the government’s coffers, lacked common sense.
“Where would the governor get N100million? Even, where would the king get N100million,” he queried.
“If the governor took the money from the government’s coffers, he has access to the account and he took it. What if he did not take it, though he has access to it? The governor also bought good vehicles for Olubadan and he gave him money to spend.”
The Authentic Mogajis of Ibadanland held a meeting on Monday this week and thereafter issued a seven-day ultimatum to Ajimobi to withdraw the statement he made on one of the wives of Olubadan.
Oladoja further stated:
“We wish to respond to the governor’s broadcast over the Olubadan issue and coronation of some chiefs. We are law-abiding people and we have gone to court over the issue. We are sure that they have the Ministry of Justice in the state government who interprets the law for the executives.
“The governor said in the broadcast that he used to send the present Olubadan’s wife to his girlfriend. That is an insult on the Olubadan throne and Ibadan people, even when the event dated back many years. The woman in question is now an Olori (queen). We are giving him a seven-day ultimatum to withdraw the statement.
“He has about 19 months more to spend as governor of the state after which he will become a former governor. He should realise that whatever we do today will become history tomorrow. If during your tenure you destabilise the Ibadan custom despite being our brother, you will come back to meet it that way.
“We expect the state governor to know more on this issue and we also want the people to be aware that what we are fighting for concerns the traditional institution and progress of Ibadanland. We cannot be intimidated by anyone on this issue. “We have nothing against the personality of Ajimobi as an Ibadan son, but we will never fold our hands and allow an individual or government to rubbish the custom of Ibadanland.”
In the same vein, Alhaji Lanre Latinwo, who is a media aide to former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, the current Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, also criticised Ajimobi over the declaration that he spent N100 million on the coronation of the Olubadan.
According to him, Ibadan people did not go to the governor cap-in-hand to beg for money because “they are always capable of picking their bills. Was the money he claimed to have spent budgeted for? Was it his personal money? Did Ibadan people go to him cap-in-hand to beg him to pick the bill?
“Oyo State money should be spent judiciously for the use of all the people of the state and not a section of it. How much did the governor spend on the coronation in other towns and cities?” But the Special Adviser on Communications and Strategy to the governor, Mr. Yomi Layinka, told Daily Sun that the governor would not like to be drawn into those controversies “because they are distractions from critical challenges of governance. What the governor said was his opinion.”
On the N100million issue, he stated further noted: “The governor was trying to explain his long-standing relationship with the current Olubadan, and not just as Olubadan, but also as Oba Adetunji. But the governor would not like to be drawn into the controversies.”
Speaking on the ultimatum given to Ajimobi to withdraw the statement he made about the Olubadan’s wife, Layinka simply said: “Let’s wait and see what happens after the expiration of the ultimatum.”