By Wale Olayanju
Mí Mí Dò Dò Mí Mí Re Mí Mí Re Dò
Radio listeners of the good old days will remember the above tune with nostalgic feeling. It used to be played on Radio Nigeria especially during the news hours. It was so popular because it usually heralded the news.
According to information, the tune was made by Oba Adetoyese Laoye. Laoye was not only one of the greatest talking drum players of all times, he also reigned as Timi, the traditional ruler of Ede in the present Osun State.
Although, the tune was made in the 1950s when the radio station was still known as the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS), it continued to be used after NBS was merged with the Broadcasting Corporation of Northern Nigeria (BCNN) to become the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).
Whereas what Oba Laoye was saying with his talking drum was “This is Nigerian Broadcasting Service”, it was given different interpretations by Nigerians of Yoruba extraction. 
These interpretations include:
– O j’ogede dudu, inu n tabon. (He eats unripe plantain and suffers stomach upset)
– Bello Gbadamosi, olori ole (Bello Gbadamosi, a notorius armed robber)
– Ko s’onigbese nibi, lo sile keji (There is no debtor here, check the next building)
– Eko je’Badan lowo, tatin Poun/Naira (Lagos is owing Ibadan thirteen Pounds/Naira)
However, there was this one that has remained the most popular till date. It goes like B’Olubadan ba ku, tani o joye? This loosely translates to: When Olubadan dies, who ascends the throne?
It must be stated here that this last interpretation was just for fun as there has never been any confusion as to who becomes the next Olubadan when one dies.  
At least, not until now.
So, when the death of the 41st Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogunguniso I,  was announced on January 2nd, 2021, many believed hat Chief Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan would step in as the head of the hierarchy of chiefs in the ancient city. This is according to the laid down hierarchy of ascension to the Ibadan throne.
At least, that has been the norm until 2015 when Late Abiola Ajimobi, the then governor of Oyo State told Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade (the 40th Olubadan of Ibadanland) of his intention to review the pattern of ascencion to the Olubadan throne. According to him, this is to “pave the way for the youths who are more energetic”.
In 2016, following the death of some members of the Olubadan-in-Council, Oba Adetunji (successor of Odugade) wrote the governor to inform him of his intention to elevate some chiefs to the vacant positions. The governor, claiming to invoke Section 14(2) of the Oyo State Chiefs Law, ordered all the chiefs meant for elevations to submit medical reports certifying them fit for the various positions, without which he would not allow their elevations.
Adetunji ignored the directive and elevated all the chiefs “in line with the tradition of the land”. Ajimobi declared the action as null and void, insisting on full compliance with his initial directives.
That started a war between Olubadan and Ajimobi, whch eventually led to a crack among the members of the Olubadan-in-council. While some supported the Olubadan’s action, others went with the governor. 
One of those who pitched tent with the governor was Chief Lekan Balogun. Incidentally, Balogun was one of the beneficaries of the elevation. He became more or less an agent provocateur.
In August 2017, Ajimobi promoted some chiefs to the status of obas in Ibadanland. This consisted of eight members of Olubadan-in-Councl and some baales. The Olubadan-in-council would be addressed as the royal majesties, he said. This, according to him, was not to rewrite the history but to elevate and consolidate traditional institution in the land.
The conferment of the title of Obaship on some high chiefs and Baales gave them the right to wear beaded crowns and coronets. The Otun Olubadan was one of the beneficiaries and that was how he became to be known as His Royal Majesty, Oba (Sen) Lekan Balogun.
This action was challenged by the Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, Chief Rashidi Ladoja and the conferment was nullified by the High Court.
The judgement was later appealed and it was set aside by the Appeal Court on technical grounds.
Following the assumption of Office of Engineer Seyi Makinde as the governor of Oyo State, it was resolved that the matter be settled amicably. The terms of settlement recognized the illegality of the actions of Ajimobi government and set aside the gazettes by which the said chiefs became Obas with a right to wear beaded crowns and coronets.
This did not go down well with the beneficiaries of the gazettes and they instituted two separate suits to set aside the consent judgment while at the same time clinging to the title of Obas. The court has yet to rule on the matters before the demise of Oba Adetunji.
Yesterday, a former Attorney-General of Oyo State, Michael Lana wrote to the governor to withhold any approval of any high chief to become the Olubadan. According to him, Balogun is not qualified to be crowned as the next Olubadan of Ibadan as no Oba can ascend to the throne of Olubadan under all relevant laws. So, as long as the high chiefs still cling to the title of Oba, they cannot ascend to the throne and any installation of any of them during the pendency of that suit is illegal, null and void, he wrote.
He however offered two ways to deal with the situation. One is for the high chiefs to withdraw the cases and the other is to wait for the court to pronounce on it before any step is taken to install an Olubadan. If the court holds that they have the right to be Obas and entitled to wear beaded crowns, then they are perpetually barred from becoming another Oba. Nowhere in the customary law of any Yoruba town is an Oba elevated to become another Oba, he concluded.
Also yesterday, some Ibadan chiefs held a meeting at the residence of Chief Balogun where they declared that tradition would be followed in the selection of the 42nd Olubadan 
It is left to be seen whether Balogun will eat the humble pie and apologise for joining forces with the late governor to cause confusion in an otherwise peaceful traditional process. 
Whichever route he chooses to take, this is a lesson for all that iyan ogun odun ma njo ni lowo. You can not run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. You can not have your cake and eat it too.
Traditional institution is sacred. It must be preserved, promoted and strengthened. It ought not to be desecrated or thrown to the dustbins of modern politics.
Traditional rulers and chiefs hold important positions. They still remain essential and central to developments in Nigeria. They are our cultural ambassadors. They should not allow themselves to be used as pawns in the game of power politics.  As long as they continue to dance to the tunes of politicians, they will continued to be relegated to the background.
Olubadan ti ku o, ta ni o joye?

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