Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday to personally invite the president to attend the burial programmes for Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade 1, the Olubadan of Ibadan, who recently passed on at the age of 101. The Governor has approved a state burial for the highly-referred traditional ruler. The burial arrangement will begin on February 6 and end on February 12 when the remains of the late royal father will be buried. Shortly after the meeting with President Buhari, Governor Ajimobi briefed State House Correspondents on why he visited the Presidential Villa. Correspondent SAMUEL OGUNDIPE unfolds the exchanges between the State House Press Corps and the governor…
Press Corps: Your Excellency, may we know what brought you to the Villa today?
Governor Ajimobi: My mission here basically is to see Mr. President and intimate him of the recent transition of the Olubadan who passed away a couple of days ago.
We had to wait for the traditional message from the palace before we could convey this to the President. I am glad that I have been able to convey it. You may even ask why conveying such to the President, at least he was just an Olubadan?
If you know, the Olubadan is not an ordinary king. Apart from the fact that he worked for the Federal Government, he was once a Minister of Labour under Alhaji Tafawa Balewa government when he was prime minister. He worked as a parliamentarian and a minister. He was part of the delegation to Britain for the Nigerian Conference, therefore, he was a national figure, hence he was honoured with a CFR. He contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria, so he stood out as a king.
I am glad to say that having seen the President, he has assured me that he would be attending the burial ceremony.
Press Corps: Could you tell us what informed the crisis we’re hearing about Seriki Oyediji and the Olubadan-in-Council?
Governor Ajimobi: The beauty of the Olubadan institution makes it unique in the whole of Nigeria. It is the only institution where we know the next 20 or 50 Obas. We don’t fight for it. Every house can produce an Olubadan, including my house.
So it is not limited like in some areas where you say this is the only family or these are the families. Every son of Ibadanland can become the Olubadan of Ibadanland. Therefore, we feel it is a rancour-less succession programme where everybody is qualified to be there. So we know the next to the next, in fact we know the next 100th Olubadan.
The Seriki House started during the period of Chief Adisa Akinloye and it has been decided even long ago that to be after the Seriki line, you have to join if there are concurrent deaths of both the Ekerin and Asipa, then you can qualify as Seriki to be Ekerin. But now, there is no vacancy for any Ekerin.
The man who lays claim to be the next Olubadan, even if he were to be a Seriki now, which he is not, he would only be promoted to Ekerin, he cannot come from Seriki to be Olubadan. It is not going to happen. We have had one before that was promoted to Ekerin and along the line, he died. So the people laying claim to Olubadan is just exercise in futility.
Press Corps: What is your position on the anti-corruption drive of President Muhammadu Buhari?
Governor Ajimobi: The President is not the only one who will fight corruption; the fight is for all of us.