Insideoyo.com’s Sikiru Akinola takes a look at the ‘silence’ of the recommendations of the Olubadan review commission on the role of the most senior woman in Ibadanland- Iyalode of Ibadan.
Last Friday, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State implemented the recommendations of the Olubadan review, one of which is the elevation of high and senior Ibadan chiefs to the position of ‘Their Royal Majesties’ and ‘Their Royal Highnesses’.
And two days after, the governor presented them with staff of offices at a colourful event organised by the state government.
Barely 3 months ago, the government had set up a commission of enquiry to review the Ibadan Declaration of 1959. And last Tuesday, 23rd August, 2017, the government published the report of a review it called ” Government White Paper on the Judicial Commission of Enquiry on the Review of the Existing Olubadan of Ibadan Declaration and Other Related Chieftaincies in Ibadanland.” it was gazetted with No. 14, Vol. 42.
The one the state called “Amended Declaration on Regulating the Selection to the Olubadan of Ibadan Chieftaincy and Related matters was published in the Oyo State Gazette No. 15, Vol. 42 by Authority in Ibadan on 24th August, 2017.
The action, insideoyo.com can reliably confirmed, has generated reactions and counter reactions. There are many legal tussle to be pursued. This will be put to play in the next few days.
Traditionally, the Olubadan of Ibadanland works with an advisory council known as the Olubadan-in-council. They are the most senior chiefs in the land. And they are also in line to the exalted throne, except the Iyalode who has reached her peak as the ‘Oba Obinrin’.
The high chiefs are the Balogun of Ibadanland, Otun Olubadan, Osi Olubadan, Otun Balogun, Osi Balogun, Ashipa Olubadan, Ashipa Balogun, Ekerin Olubadan, Ekerin Balogun, Iyalode of Ibadan, Ekarun Olubadan and the Ekarun Balogun. Until now, they don’t wear beaded crown.
All these except one person were elevated, with bearded crown. While other members become Obas, the recommendations appear silent on the role of Iyalode. When will the Iyalode be crowned?
Though insideoyo.com has not seen the recommendations in full, the one released by government did not specify any new role for the Iyalode of Ibadanland.
…IYALODE: QUEEN OF WOMEN
The title, though a chieftaincy one, is commonly bestowed on women in Yorubaland. Traditionally, the Iyalode signifies the “queens of ladies” and is given to the most prominent and distinguished lady in or from the town.
Alhaja Aminat Abiodun currently occupies the position. She is powerful and commands respects within and outside West Africa’s most populous city.
Like many other notable chieftancy titles given by the Oba, the Iyalode has assisting lieutenants such as the Otun Iyalode, Osi, and Ekerin. In many traditional Yoruba cities and towns some Iyalodes used to command the respect of a group of warriors and she is also the major representative of women in the traditional council where the voice of women are heard.
In ancient Oyo, the Iyalode was the most senior female in the hierarchy of chiefs. During the eighteenth century, women in the palace came to play a more powerful role in their polity.
FROM IYALODE SUBUOLA TO AMINAT ABIODUN
According to Ibadan history, in early times, a few enterprising and exceptional women have always had a role to play and an interest in Ibadan affairs. One of the Lagelu’s daughters, Oluyade was a warrior who joined forces with other Ibadan warriors in avenging an attack on Ibadan. Another woman, Iyalaje Onyonwu played an influential role in the Ibadan market system and produced two future Iyalodes. The first of Ibadan Iyalodes was Subuola and the second is the more famous Efunsetan Aniwura.
In the post colonial period, the Iyalode in Ibadan’s chieftancy system is still an important feature. Various accomplished traders and politicians have held the title including Adebisi Abeo, Wuraola Esan, Hunmoani Alaga and Wuraola Akintola.
SUCCESSION TO THE THRONE OF IYALODE
Just like the two lines -Otun and Balogun to the position of Olubadan, the Iyalode also has a succession line. It starts from the Jagun line upward.
CURRENT IYALODE AND HER ‘LIEUTENANTS’
High Chief Aminat Abiodun: Iyalode of Ibadanland
Chief (Mrs.) G.A. Vaughan: Otun Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) T.L. Oyekanmi: Balogun Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Amudalat Adekunle: Osi Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) D.A. Amoo: Iyalaje Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Taye Soyege Ashipa Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Yewande Durosaro: Ekerin Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Onikepo Akande: Ekarun Iyalode
Chief (Alhaja) Naimota A. Ajagbe: Abese Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Serifatu Olabiwonninu Kola Daisi: Maye Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Ayo Adunni Adegbite: Ekefa Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) P.O. Kuye: Agbaakin Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Alhaja Kudirat Iyabo Adeleke: Are Alasa Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Alhaja Wosilat Ajoke Ekeolu: Ikolaba Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Mojisola Oyebola: Asaju Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Alhaja Mutiat Olayinka Ladoja: Ayingun Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Mojisola Ladipo: Are-Ago Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Rashidat Olanrewaju Otiti: Lagunna Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Rashidat Ololade Asake: Oota Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Titilola Oke Ogbogodo: Are-Egbe Omo Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Folake Olunloyo: Gbonnka Iyalode
Chief (Mrs.) Jadesola Adisa Osho: Aare Onibon Iyalode
The position of Bada Iyalode, Ajia Iyalode of Ibadanland
Jagun Iyalode of Ibadanland are still vacant.
The committee, in its reports, recommended 11 steps on Olubadan line and 12 steps on Balogun line to begin from Ikolaba title on both lines. It did not say anything about the Iyalode line.
It also recommended that the 11 high chiefs be approved as Beaded Crown/Coronet wearing Obas, with a proviso that “these eleven (11) Beaded Crown Obas in addition to Iyalode shall be the kingmakers of Olubadanland.
However, while her colleagues in the council have changed titles, with the appelation of their royal Highnesses, that of Alhaja Abiodun remains unchanged. The reports did not specify whether Iyalode deserves any respect from the Baale-turned Obas or not.
At the coronation, neither Iyalode nor any of her “lieutenants’ was in attendance.
Efforts to get her speak on the matter proved abortive as she was ‘not in the mood’ to comment. A close confidant said she is not in support of the review from the beginning. “She believes that despite her closeness with the governor, she shouldn’t have been left in the dark. Don’t let me tell you what they don’t ask me to say,” the source disclosed.