6 things you should know about Obaship system in Ibadan 

6 things you should know about Obaship system in Ibadan 

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Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State in the Southwestern part of Nigeria is an ancient Yorùbá city founded by warriors. But unlike other Yorùbá towns and villages, Ibadan has an age-long unique obaship system.

Maybe not totally strange, but Ibadan has further validated the state as a ‘pace setter’ in recent times, in terms of little changes to ascension to the first-class stool of Olubadan.

In this article, we’ll explore 6 things you should know about the Obaship system in Ibadan.

1.Olubadan Ascension Ladders

There are two lines of ascension to the throne of Olubadan. These are the Olubadan (Civil) Line and Balogun (Military) Line. After clinching the title of Mogaji from one’s compound. Depending on the line, such a person has 22 stages to climb in the Civil Line while that of the Military Line is 23 towards the throne of Olubadan.  Both lines start from Jagun. 

Chieftaincy Stages in the Civil Line (Olubadan or Egbe Agba)

  1. Otun Olubadan
  2. Osi Olubadan
  3. Asipa Olubadan
  4. Ekerin olubadan
  5. Ekaarun Olubadan
  6. Abese
  7. Maye
  8. Ẹkẹfa
  9. Agba- Akin
  10. Aare – Alasa
  11. Ikọlaba
  12. Asaju
  13. Ayingun
  14. Aare – Agọ
  15. Laguna
  16. Oota
  17. Aare – Egbe – Omo
  18. Gbonnka
  19. Aare – Onibon
  20. Bada
  21. Ajia
  22. Jagun

Chieftaincy Stages in the Military Line (Egbe Balogun)

  1. Balogun
  2. Otun Balogun 
  3. Osi Balogun 
  4. Asipa Balogun 
  5. Ekerin Balogun 
  6. Ekarun Balogun 
  7. Abese
  8. Maye
  9. Ẹkẹfa
  10. Agba- Akin
  11. Aare – Alasa
  12. Ikọlaba
  13. Asaju
  14. Ayingun
  15. Aare – Agọ
  16. Laguna
  17. Oota
  18. Aare – Egbe – Omo
  19. Gbonnka
  20. Aare – Onibon
  21. Bada
  22. Ajia
  23. Jagun

2. Civil and Military Lines Rotation 

The two lines of the chieftaincy structure produce Olubadan on a rotational basis. Though there is also one Seriki line, it is meant to be a youth group fused into the Balogun line just Iyaloja is, in the Civil line. That’s just by the way. 

Back to the issue. The stool of Olubadan is alternated between the Olubadan line and Balogun line. For instance, Oba Dr. Moshood Lekan Balogun Alli Okunmade II that recently joined his ancestors was from the Olubadan (Civil) line. He succeeded Oba Saliu Adetunji Aje Ogugunso 1 from the military line, who joined his ancestors on 2nd of January, 2022. 

Therefore, the next Olubadan is expected to come from the Military line. 

3. No Specific Royal Houses

In most of the Yorùbá Obaship structure, there’s usually two or three ruling houses (or even more) who constitute the royal families. For those places, the ascension to the stool is rotated between only the royal families. 

ALSO READ: Olubadan of Ibadanland: Oba Olakulehin to succeed late Lekan Balogun

But the Obaship system in Ibadan is different. Anyone can become Olubadan, inasmuch as you’re a true son of Ibadan — and must climb either of the two ladders to the top. 

4. Promotion of Lesser Oba

Though this practice is new into the system. It started when the former Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, in an attempt to modernise the system, promoted some High Chiefs and Baales to Oba. 

After a fierce battle for the soul of the age-long Ibadan Obaship system, Ajimobi’s successor, Governor Seyi Makinde, withdrew their crowns as part of the condition to settle out of court. 

However, the Governor subsequently sought approval of the state House of Assembly to allow traditional heads to wear beaded crowns by amending section 28 of the Oyo State Chieftaincy Law 2023. 

Therefore, the governor re-elevated the 10 high chiefs in Olubadan-in-Council to the Obaship status of in July, 2023. But the Obaship system remains unchanged.

With this, Ibadan is arguably the first Yorùbá town/city where a lesser Oba is being promoted to become another Oba. 

5. Aged Monarch 

For most places in Yorùbá land, the attention has shifted to youths in selection of king for their respective town. However, one of the amazing characteristics of the Ibadan Obaship system is how it produces an aged monarch. 

This is obviously due to the number of stages one has to pass through before becoming Olubadan. The promotion in either of the two lines occurs when a successor is picked from the line. 

For instance, with an 84-year-old Oba Owólabí Olakulehin succeeding late Ọba Moshood Lekan Balogun, Alli Okunmade II, there will be promotion in the Balogun (military) line of the Obaship system. 

However, the Civil line, headed by the current Otun Olubadan and former Governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, remains unchanged until the next in line is picked as successor of Oba Owólabí Olakulehin, as new Olubadan.

Note: Death can also influence promotion on the ladder.

6. Longest-serving Olubadan 

Due to the Ibadan Obaship system, most of the past Olubadans ascended the throne at old age. Let’s take a look at the most recent.

Oba Saliu  Adetunji, Aje Ogugunso 1, became the 41st Olubadan on April 4, 2016 at the age of 87 years and passed away in 2022 at the age of 93 years.

His successor, Ọba Moshood Lekan Balogun, Alli Okunmade II, was crowned 42nd Olubadan on March 11, 2022 at the age of 79 years and died on Thursday, 14th March 2024 at the age of 81 years. 

However, while many of these Obas had short-lived reigns as Olubadan, Olubadan Okunola Abaasi Alesinloye Isale Ijebu reigned for 16 years. He ruled between 1930 and 1946.

 


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