As the controversy over the recent installation of 21 Traditional rulers in Ibadanland by the Oyo state Governor rages, a former Governor of the state, who is also the Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, High Chief Rashidi Ladoja, in this interview with Journalists at his Ondo street, Bodija, Ibadan, residence says the state Government acted fraudulently. Federationews2day was there. Excerpts :
The bone of contention today in Ibadanland , is the interference of Government in the Traditional institution ? What is your position on this ?
Where do We start from ? It is not the responsibility of Government to tamper with the 1959 declaration, because they tried to mislead the people, they are now saying it is not the 1959 declaration, it is the 1957 declaration. The 1957 law was the chief’s law, it was under the chief’s law that the 1959 declaration was gotten. It stated clearly that it was not the responsibility of anybody to do embark on amendment. We are not having the Olubadan of Oyo state, we are having the Olubadan of Ibadanland, so why do you have to bring somebody from Ibarapa, somebody from Oyo, and some people from Oke-Ogun to amend our own declaration. It is not the responsibility of the Oyo state Government to tamper with the Olubadan Chieftaincy declaration, the case is still in court. And from what we are seeing the Government seems not to respect the courts again. Why did they start after work on Friday and ended on Sunday ? What is the cause ? Are those people going to, die ? They distributed the letters under floodlights, I see what happened in Mapo as a theatre. If you want to amend the law, you know the procedure. The procedure is that when you amend the law you take it to the House, anyway we expect that he is going to bribe the legislators in the House. I only want to warn them, the legislators, that they should go back to their constituencies to know what their constituencies want. They should not think that because it is an Ibadan issue, the other zones in the state don’t have interest in it, because the Governor has said that when he finishes with Ibadan, the next place is Ogbomosho, all those Baales will become Obas and after Ogbomosho, he will end it up in Oyo. The implication is that since the Ibadan High chiefs, kingmakers are now Obas, the Oyomesis, kingmakers in Oyo, and all associated villages heads Obas can also become Obas. If he does not do that then our point that he does not have the right to tamper with the declaration is right. He just wants to destroy the institution of traditional rulers. The question now is that what time does he have to reflect on issues pertaining to governance ?
The state Government alleges that during your tenure, you attempted same ?
It is not true. I have said it several times that I did not set up any Adio commission. Oyo state is in the number 29 position in the country, with all the private schools in the state. If you take away the private schools, it means maybe we would have come last, after Lagos the next place where there are private schools is Oyo state. This was not the case during my time. So the institution of Ibadan Obaship is so complex, that it is better to leave them and face the job of Oyo state. After you might have put Oyo state where it is supposed to be, then you can now go back and look at it. We are not like other places, Saki has not got an Oba now, even Fiditi hasn’t got an Oba now, So what I am saying is that I did not set up the Adio commission, it is either the Governor is been mischievous or the Governor decided to be a lair himself, either of the two, because if they are say that they cannot find the report then is Adio alive ? then if he is alive they should call him.
You said that Government is no longer respecting the law, now what is the way forward ?
You don’t get the point, the Local Government elections have not been held because their case is in court, the Council of Chief was suspended in 2011 because the case is in court, this time around there is no case in court ? Abi ? So that is what we are saying, it is not a question of selectively taking advantage of the court, if you want to take advantage of the court, then you take the disadvantage of the court as well. Democracy is Governing by the rule of law, if the rule of law breaks down, then everybody will resort to self help, God save all of us, that is what we are saying. So it is not the question of what is the way forward. The way forward is that at the end of it the court will prevail, the court will prevail, they may delay it, they may do everything, even if you influence the local court, are you going to influence the Appeal Court, are you going to influence the Supreme court ? We are not dead, we are not dying yet, so why should I bother about how long the case lasts, because I know that some Obas, having spent 15 years on the throne were removed. So, that is the situation. The Governor has no right or the Government has no right to interfere in the Ibadan declaration.
The impression, is that the High Chiefs, including yourself instituted the law suit, what made the others back out ?
Well, I don’t know because I am not one of them. The two of them came to see me, they came on the 22nd, because they went to Government on the 21st, they asked ”What is the quarrel between you and your brother, I asked who ? They said Isiaka Ajimobi , I said no I am not quarreling with Isiaka Ajimobi, I am quarreling with the Governor and if you go to the executive’s office you will see the Governors who have been there. Starting from Sir John Ranking up to Akala, and on the 29th of May, 2019his own photograph will join us. So, it is the Governor I am having problems with, so many people do know know how to distinguish between the Governor and the holder. Maybe they think it is a solidarity with an Ibadan boy, but I told them the danger there, the danger there is that when my brother Alao Akala said he wanted to create only six Obaship, the whole Ibadan rose in unity and said that he cannot do it and he did not do it. But now that an Ibadan boy wants to create 50 Obas, nobody is talking. I said that so, if you keep quiet in the face of tyranny, ………And I said, you people you say you want to become Obas, have you looked into the report ? Nobody has seen the report, even though he is giving you the sweet part of the report, and maybe the bitter parts are still hidden. Has anybody seen the white paper ? And the only thing they published, they say recommendations, this is recommendation four, where is recommendation one to three ? recommendation four, recommendation five, recommendation eight, where is six and seven ? Recommendation nine, the High Chiefs will retain the titles of Otun Olubadan, Osi Olubadan, Balogun, Osi Balogun etc, and will not use the titles of Obas, this is what Government has published, as a prefix to their names, in order to avoid any confusion that would be caused by using the title ‘Oba ‘ in conjunction with their titles as Otun Olubadan, Osi Olubadan, Balogun and Osi Balogun etc. The Government now says, the Government rejects this recommendation. You can see that the Government had a plan before they started this, they just want to use the commission to bring out what they have in them. There is recommendation 10, there is no recommendation 11, there is recommendation 12, so, where is where is recommendation 13 to 98 and after 99, there is 100, there 101, I don’t know whether that is the end. But where is recommendation 13 to 98 ? So, this is Government print out, not so ? So you can see that the Government is very fraudulent. There is no report, the commission’s report is not there, they didn’t tell us what it is. Secondly, the white paper is not there. They are now talking of 1959 declaration, but when they started it, it was 1957 declaration, but now it is 1959 declaration, so, you can see that they are very inconsistent, so, as I said the Governor is most of the times too busy to look into details, he just allow these people to do whatever they want to do.