From Stella Obi, Ibadan
FOLLOWING the directive given by the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Soliu Adetunji, Aje Ogunguniso 1 on this year’s Egungun festival in the ancient city of Ibadan, that the annual Egungun dance in the residences of the foremost High Chiefs, who are now Obas would not hold this year, the High Chiefs (Obas) have dared the Ibadan foremost monarch, insisting that they would host the masquerades as they had done in the past.
Oba Adetunji had on Sunday, through a statement by his Personal Assistant/Director of Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Adeola Oloko given the directive, citing security reason.
But, the High Chiefs (Obas), who met at the evening time on the same day at the Alarere, Ibadan residence of the Otun Olubadan, Oba Sen. Lekan Balogun described the directive by the Olubadan as arbitrary use of power and authority.
In a statement personally signed by Oba Balogun and made available to journalists in Ibadan on Monday, the Obas described the statement credited to Oba Adetunji as uncalled for and an attempt to fight tradition, insisting that they would resist it.
The statement reads: “our attention has been drawn to the directive by our reverred father, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Soliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1 that the usual annual masquerade dance in our residences would not hold this year due to a phantom security threat, a directive we reject in its entirety.
“As far as we are concerned, the directive was arbitrary use of power and authority, we won’t take it. Our father (Olubadan) wants to distort and destroy the tradition and wants to use us to fight tradition, but, we won’t succumb to his antics. The same Olubadan solicited for the hosting of the Egungun authority from the late Oba Odugade Odulana when he was about five steps away from his present position and his request was granted.
“We therefore tend to ask him of what benefits would his outrageous order be to him? Except for extraneous reason as we just pointed out, how can one explain that security would be threatened only when the masquerades come to dance in our residences and not when they went to his palace?
“It is on record that whenever the security and peace of the ancient city is threatened as we had some years ago, the annual Egungun festival was not allowed to hold at all in the entire Ibadanland and not that a section of the city was segregated as being canvassed by our reverred monarch. Even at that, the cancellation was at the instance of the state government, the custodian of every apparatus of security.
“As the members of Olubadan-in-Council, we were not part of the decision and we won’t take it and the Egungun authority will not likely take it.This was our decision at the meeting held in my place on Sunday on the issue. It was our resolve that the Olubadan is trying to use everything to fight the government, because the government has among its responsibilities the protection of the people’s tradition, but, we will not allow ourselves to be used to either fight the government or the tradition.
“Hosting the Egungun is our right and confers on us responsibility by virtue of our positions as High Chiefs and Obas, it costs us money, which we happily do on annual basis, so why the sole imposition on himself as the only one to host the annual Egungun festival.
“We resolved at the meeting as well that those of us that are statutorily bound, tradition-wise to host the masquerades will do so with my family hosting them on Wednesday, while Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin will have his turn this Saturday.
“It is pertinent at this juncture to alert the security agents in the state to be alert to their responsibilities and ensure that the pervading peace and tranquility being enjoyed in Ibadan city and the state at large is not ruptured and peradventure, if there’s a threat to peace and security during the current Egungun festival in Ibadan, they should know the quarters to beam their searchlight”, the statement added.