Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has said he could depose the Oba of Ibadan, Olubadan of Ibadan land, as he is empowered by state constitution to exercise such power, only that he chooses not to.
Nevertheless the governor said he would not allow the present dispute with the Olubadan to degenerate to bitterness with the king.
Governor Ajimobi said this during a meeting with the traditional council in the eleven council areas of Ibadan at the state secretariat on Wednesday. He said he would continue to extend hand of fellowship to the king.
At the meeting were the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun, Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Olakeleyin Owolabi, the Ashipa Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Eddy Oyewole and Ashipa Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Lateef Adebimpe.
Others were, the Ekerin Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Abiodun Kola-Daisi, and the Ekarun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Amidu Ajibade.
Ajimobi said that the current event at the Olubadan palace meant that it had been hijacked by the Osi Olubadan of Ibadan land, Rashidi Ladoja, and others who were bent on taking the state back.
He said, “Like I said, all the relevant sections of the 1959 chieftaincy declarations are very clear on the powers of the governor viz-a-viz the traditional rulers and the administrations and particularly sections 26 and 27 empowers the governor to sanction any erring oba.
“But as I have said before, you must use power with caution, particularly when it comes to traditional institutions. I am a respecter of that institution. I sincerely believe that considering the relationship that I have with Kabiesi, the Olubadan of Ibadan land as a son, as a brother to my late father, as the Aare of Ibadan land of which the Olubadan honoured me with that title, I will never do anything to denigrate that position of obaship or go to the extent of sanctioning him by removal or suspension or something else. After all, he is an old man and he is my father.
“We will continue to talk to him. The only unfortunate thing there is that, some failed politicians, particularly Ladoja and his likes have taken over the palace and they are doing things that Baba himself is not even aware of nor approve of. So we understand the dynamics. The Press Secretary of Baba Olubadan used to be the Press Secretary of Ladoja and he is still there. Some of the assistants and aides of Baba are known members of Ladoja’s party.
“The Baba that is on the throne is my father and I will not do anything that will disgrace him and denigrate his stool. I am happy the obas know the enormity of the powers of a governor. The law has it that, if the governor sees that what a monarch is doing can cause chaos, the governor has the power to depose such king. And if anyone is going around the town waving and parading himself around the streets and market at a time like this, that means he wants to scatter the town and cause chaos.
“If the governor invites a monarch to a meeting and the monarch fails to turn up and such king is saying he was told to sleep or rest somewhere, he could be removed, at least it is the government that is paying him.
“Who bestowed the crown and staff of office on the monarch? Is it not the government? But you see, when a person is in a position as such, he shouldn’t wield his powers every time, particularly against someone who one claims to be his father, and someone who is old and more so, when you know that some people are really behind it. And we know it is Ladoja.
“I have found enough reasons to depose him, but I will never do it. If he likes, let him go to the radio or television to abuse me, I don’t care and I will never use that against him. He is enjoying the fact that he is my father; he is enjoying the fact that he is the Olubadan. But Olubadan is not the state governor. In this Oyo State, the governor is still the head and leader. My gentility is not cowardice but I am just being careful. I am giving you the assurance that I will not remove him. Sooner or later, he will understand better.”
Ajimobi added that no king or anyone was above the law and that government must be allowed to operate in the state according to the law.
“What happened in Oba’s palace reminded us of what had been done before, they went to the late Baba Adedibu’s house over the bridge to be shooting at Baba Adedibu, his benefactor, the person who puts him there. Later on, they came to (Adebayo Alao) Akala’s office to shoot him, it is the same style. At another time they went to Akure to be shooting and they killed Akala’s assistance. We know.
“And all that happened on Monday also, we know who he is behind it, he may say we should prove it but we know he is behind it.
“Because how do you go to a place and four people will come, policemen were in the palace and so many security in there and nobody apprehended them and nothing happened and people inside the palace still sat inside and later they came. We are not fools.
“We know that has been stage-managed. We have information and we thank God that Ibadan people are behind us. The whole Ibadan is behind us except few politicians,” he added.