Seyi Makinde, the Olubadan in Council and the 10 Elevated Chiefs of Ibadanland by Dare Temitope

In 2017, the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi elevated members of the Olubadan in Council and some Baales to Obas. The elevation was challenged in court by Olubadan, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji and the Osi Olubadan, High Chief Rashidi Ladoja. In explaining why there were in court, the Olubadan said, “My humble opinion is that the procedure for approval of beaded crowns for any chief or Baale in Ibadan was not discussed at the Olubadan-in-Council level. If it was discussed, how would any of the High Chiefs bear two titles at the same time? Oba and High Chief? Abomination”.

However, when the news broke Thursday, June 22, 2023, that Governor Seyi Makinde had approved the elevation of 10 members of the Olubadan-in-Council to Obas, many right-thinking people were confused. Was this not the same thing the late Ajimobi did that landed him in hot water? The Devil is in the details.

First, let us go back to the comments of the Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji. He said, “The procedure for approval of beaded crowns for any chief or Baale in Ibadan was not discussed at the Olubadan-in-Council level.” In the case of Makinde, his role was simply to approve a decision that the Olubadan-in-Council had reached. So, the right procedure was followed.

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On several occasions, Makinde had clearly stated that the traditional council must never be interfered with. He insisted that the monarchs themselves must carry out any reforms to the traditional systems as they were in the best position to determine what would work for them. Certainly, it would prevent an error such as giving “High Chiefs…two titles at the same time,” which is considered an “abomination.”

Secondly, Ajimobi’s action was considered “illegal, null and void” by a court of competent jurisdiction. Although that judgement was appealed, the reason for the initial judgement was clear. Ajimobi had approved Gazettes 14 and 15 at Volume 42 of 23rd and 24th August 2017, which were in conflict with the provisions of the Chiefs Law Cap 28 Laws of Oyo State 2000.

Also, Ajimobi failed first to amend the Chiefs Law, which would give him the power to approve the recommendations of the Olubadan-In-Council and, in this case, approve that High Chiefs and Baales could wear beaded crowns without disrupting established traditional norms and hierarchy.

After Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji passed away in January 2022, Makinde in his wisdom, insisted that all litigants in the beaded crowns imbroglio must withdraw their cases in court while he struck off Gazettes 14 and 15. Essentially, this was a return to the status quo by all parties, which was a fair thing to do. This cleared the path for the installation of the new Olubadan, Oba Mohood Olalekan Ishola Balogun Alli.

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Recall that Oba Balogun was in agreement with the elevation of High Chiefs to Obas under Governor Ajimobi. It is therefore not surprising that with Governor Seyi Makinde’s insistence that the traditional council should push for their own reforms, the Olubadan-in-Council would request that the 10 High Chiefs be elevated to Kings whilst the Olubadan becomes His Imperial Majesty.

However, for this to happen, a legal obstacle had to be overcome to prevent further legal complications and litigations. So, before approving their request, Governor Makinde wrote to the Oyo State House of Assembly to amend the Chiefs Law of Oyo State 2000—this amendment was carried out in May 2023 and signed into law afterwards.

According to the Executive, the amendment of the law was part of “ongoing efforts of the present administration to specify the Chieftaincy holders entitled to wear beaded crowns in Oyo State…as a result of agitation of many High Chiefs on the issue of beaded crowns and the volume of litigations and resentment within communities in the State”.

So, what was amended? Removal of the ambiguity in Subsection 1, which read, “The governor may cause such inquiries to be held at such times and in such places and by such person or persons as it or he may consider necessary or desirable”, That section now reads: “The governor may cause such inquiries to be held at such times and in such places and by such person or persons as he may consider necessary or desirable.”

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As is clearly shown from the above, Governor Seyi Makinde did not arrogate to himself any powers he did not already have, nor was the law amended to give himself “sole authority” to decide who would wear beaded crowns. In fact, the “prescribed/consenting authorities” have in no way been tampered with. Decisions regarding reforms adopted by the traditional councils subsist in the monarchs.

And to ensure that the wearing of beaded crowns does not in any way disrupt the traditional system of Ibadanland, the new sub-section (3) reads, “Any person who pursuant to subsection (1) of this section is elevated to wear beaded crown from Baales to Minor Chiefs who being a customary tenant shall continue to pay obeisance to his prescribed or consenting authority.”

So, it must be clarified, for posterity’s sake, that Governor Ajimobi’s action was rejected because of the spirit and not the letter. The spirit being that the late Governor did not carry the Olubadan in Council in its entirety along as led by Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji. Also, his action was illegal because he issued a Gazette which contradicted the Chiefs Law 2000. It took Governor Seyi Makinde to resolve the confusion and restore the traditional system as it ought to be with all attendant powers.


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Oyo Affairs is an independent news media with the main focus on Oyo state news, politics, current events, trending happenings within and around Oyo state, Nigeria

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