Olubadan: 6 Things to Know About Obaship System in Ibadan

Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State in southwestern Nigeria, is an old Yorùbá city founded by warriors. However, unlike other Yorùbá cities and villages, Ibadan has a long-standing obaship structure.

In recent decades, Ibadan has established itself as a ‘pace setter’ by ascending to the first-class status of Olubadan, which may not seem unusual.

In this essay, we’ll look at six things you should know about the Obaship system in Ibadan.

1.Olubadan Ascension Ladders

Olubadan’s throne is inherited through two lines. These are the Olubadan (Civil) and Balogun (Military) Lines. After obtaining the title of Mogaji from one’s compound. Depending on the line, such a person has 22 stages to climb in the Civil Line and 23 in the Military Line to the throne of Olubadan. Both lines start with 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 hierarchy produce Olubadan in a rotating fashion. Though there is one Seriki line, it is intended to be a youth group integrated into the Balogun line in the same way that Iyaloja is integrated into the Civil line. That is just by the way.

Returning to the main point here. The stool of Olubadan alternates between the Olubadan and Balogun lines. For example, Oba Dr. Moshood Lekan Balogun Alli Okunmade II, who just joined his forebears, descended from the Olubadan (Civil) line. He succeeded Oba Saliu Adetunji Aje Ogugunso 1 of the military line, who joined his predecessors on January 2nd, 2022.

As a result, the next Olubadan is projected to emerge from the military ranks.

3. No Specific Royal House(s)

Most Yorùbá Obaship structures have two or three governing houses (or even more) that make up the royal families. In some places, only royal families can ascend to the throne.

However, the Obaship system in Ibadan is different. Anyone can become Olubadan as long as they are a true son of Ibadan and ascend one of the two staircases to the summit.

4. Promotion of Lesser Oba

However, this practice is new to the system. Former Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi attempted to modernize the institution by promoting several High Chiefs and Baales to Oba.

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

The Governor amended section 28 of the Oyo State Chieftaincy Law 2023 to allow traditional high chiefs to wear beaded crowns, which received approval from the state House of Assembly.

The governor re-elevated the ten high chiefs in Olubadan-in-Council to Obaship status in July 2023. However, the ascension line of the Obaship system remains untouched.

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

5. Aged Monarch

In most parts of Yorùbá territory, the focus has shifted to adolescents in selecting a monarch for their individual town. However, one of the most remarkable aspects of the Ibadan Obaship system is how it generates an old king.

This is clear due to the number of phases one must go through before being rated next in line and eventually becoming Olubadan. Promotion in either of the two lines occurs when a successor is chosen from the line.

Oba Owólabí Olakulehin, 84, will succeed late Ọba Moshood Lekan Balogun, Alli Okunmade II, resulting in a promotion in the Balogun (military) line of the Obaship.

The Civil line, led by the present Otun Olubadan and former Governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, remains intact until the next in line is chosen as successor to Oba Owólabí Olakulehin, as new Olubadan.

It is worth noting that death can have an impact on career advancement.

6. Longest-serving Olubadan

Because of the Ibadan Obaship system, the majority of prior Olubadans ascended to the throne in their old age. Let’s look at the most recent.

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

His successor, Ọba Moshood Lekan Balogun, Alli Okunmade II, was anointed 42nd Olubadan on March 11, 2022 at the age of 79. He passed away on Thursday, March 14, 2024 at the age of 81.

While many of these Obas had brief reigns as Olubadans, Oba Okunola Abaasi Alesinloye Isale Ijebu ruled for 16 years. He reigned from 1930 to 1946.

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