Fresh facts emerge on health status of Olubadan-designate

Fresh facts have emerged on the health status of the Olubadan-designate, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, who is the current Balogun of Ibadanland, as the 21 days window allowed by law for a new Olubadan to be nominated will elapse on Friday April 5.


The new information followed anxiety over the health status of the 89-year-old monarch based on the fact that he has not been seen in public since the late Olubadan, Oba Lekan Balogun, joined his ancestors two weeks ago.

Sunday Sun exclusively gathered yesterday that Oba Olakulehin, some days ago, made a call to the Otun Olubadan, High Chief Rashidi Ladoja, who is a former governor of Oyo State, which probably indicated that the Olubadan-designate is still able to communicate and has a sound mind.

Though it is still unclear whether he can walk unaided, sources maintained that he is in overall good health. The kingmakers are expected to meet this week, nominate and ratify Olakulehin as the next Olubadan.

According to a source, “I don’t know much about Oba Olakulehin’s health status. But I can tell you that he made a phone call to Senator Ladoja some days ago.

“During the call, he thanked Ladoja for leading other members of the Olubadan Advisory Council to the residence of the late Olubadan and his residence at Alalubosa GRA. He also commended Ladoja for the role he played during the burial rites of the late Olubadan.

“This means, he can still talk and also has sound mind. On whether he can walk unaided, I cannot say because our paths have not crossed in recent time.”

It was also speculated that if the Olubadan-designate could not see and walk, the kingmakers would not nominate him on the grounds that he could not fulfill his obligations.

The insinuation revealed further that the kingmakers might nominate the Otun Balogun, Oba Tajudeen Ajibola, to become the next paramount ruler of Ibadanland.

But the Olubadan-designate’s son, Sumbo Owolabi, had told journalists that his father was hale and hearty.

His words: “Daddy has aged already. So, before the late Oba Balogun’s demise, Baba had gone for a medical trip. And when the incident happened, he was still there. So, he just stayed back to relax a bit.

“As a new king, different people will be paying him homage and he will need to attend to them all. And with his age, he may not have the strength to receive different people across Nigeria hence, the reason his doctor advised him to relax a bit.

“I want to debunk the rumour that he is incapacitated. The installation of the next Olubadan will soon be done. People should stop fake rumour. I also want to debunk another rumour that the crowned Obas have not seen him. They have now seen each other…

“But I want to confirm to you that Baba, Olubadan-designate, Oba Olakulehin is the next Olubadan of Ibadanland. It was intentional not to attend the meeting fixed a few days ago, and not because of his health. He is the only person that can give you details on that.

“But I want to authoritatively confirm that the crowned Obas and Baba have been in touch physically. They have seen one another and he will join them at the next meeting whenever they convene it.”

The Ekerin Olubadan, Oba Hamidu Ajibade,  had last week raised concerns about the absence of the Olubadan-designate at a meeting held last week Monday at Oja’ba.

He also raised concerns over the health status of the Olubadan-designate, billed to become the 43rd Olubadan.

The meeting was expected to be attended by the Secretary of Ibadan Southeast Local Government. At the end of the meeting, the nomination and ratification would be sent to the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, who will take the document to Govemor Seyi Makinde for approval.

Ajibade said: “If someone is not well or capable of staying on that throne, do you just want us to put that person there like a vegetable? Is it possible? What we want is whoever wants to become our Oba must be able to walk and speak, so that you will be able to communicate with him.”

The two lines that have been producing Olubadan on rotational basis are the Otun Line, which is the civil line, and the Balogun Line, which is also known as military line. The late Olubadan was produced by the Otun Line, and the next occupier of the throne must be produced by the Balogun Line.

Section 10(2) of the Oyo State Chiefs Law 1957, now Section 14(2) of the Chiefs Law (2000), states the criteria for an Olubadan-designate to scale the hurdle and be pronounced the Olubadan-elect:

“No person shall be qualified to be a candidate for a recognised chieftaincy title who suffers from serious physical infirmity, or has under any law in force in Nigeria been found or declared to be a lunatic or adjudged to be of unsound mind, or has, in any part of the Commonwealth been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty and sentenced to imprisonment, therefore, and has not been granted a free pardon.”

The Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration also empowers the kingmakers to choose the next Olubadan among the first four most senior chiefs in the line, whose turn it is to produce the monarch for the city, in case the Olubadan-designate is incapacitated.

But last week witnessed crucial events in the process of nominating the new Olubadan. Members of Olubadan Advisory Council,  who are beaded-crown wearing kings,  who are the Ibadan Council of Obas, met on Monday March 25 at Oja’ba to nominate Oba Olakulehin. But the nomination was not done because the Olubadan-designate was absent at the meeting.

It was resolved at the meeting that the nomination would not be done until the Olubadan-designate showed up at the meeting to confirm that he was not incapacitated in physical fitness and sound mind.

The following day, which was Tuesday, Ladoja, who is the head of Otun Line, convened a meeting to officially nominate and ratify the emergence of Oba Balogun as Olubadan-designate. But he was the only one at the meeting because other members of the council did not show up at Oja’ba.

Ladoja told journalists thereafter that “the meeting was called for today and I am supposed to be the convener of the meeting. That is why I am here.

“He (Olubadan-designate) is also supposed to be here. But they want to make sure that he is ready, and when he is ready, he will be able to talk to them. I will call the meeting again anytime they are ready.”

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