Oba Saliu Adetunji, the Olubadan of Ibadan, has said he has no reason to be selling chieftaincy titles in Ibadan land to the highest bidder considering his accomplishments in life and age.
Oba Adetunji stated this in a statement issued on his behalf by Adeola Oloko, his Director of Media and Publicity, in response to claims made by some embattled high chiefs of Ibadanland.
In a four-page letter issued on Sunday, some members of the Olubadan-in-council, who were promoted to the position of kings by the immediate past former governor, Abiola Ajimobi, alleged that the Olubadan has monetized traditional titles, selling it for up to N30 million.
The chiefs had also accused the king of high handedness and failure to accept their promotions as Ibadan monarchs.
But in his response, Oba Adetunji claimed that the embattled chiefs decided to level unsubstantiated allegations against him to gain sympathy.
He accused High Chief Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan, of making the accusations against him despite being told previously that the monetisation of the traditional titles never occurred.
He challenged Balogun and other chiefs who made the accusations to back their claim with evidence.
The statement partly read: “The embattled high chief (Lekan Balogun) should have substantiated his claim by mentioning the name of the chief or chiefs who paid the said sum. Was the money paid in cash, cheque or through transfer?
“Despite Balogun’s claim to education and age, he could not differentiate between free comment and libel.” It stressed further that what the high chiefs did not tell the public was that in September 2019, when they (the high chiefs) came to plead with Olubadan that the vacant positions from Otun Balogun down to Jagun on both sides be filled, what the Olubadan requested from them was the usual N100,000 per step.
It read, “The money in question, when collected, is always paid into the coffers of the Olubadan-in-Council. It is then disbursed at the end of every successful chieftaincy exercise and divided into three equal parts. While one part usually goes to Olubadan, the two other parts are always shared between Otun Olubadan and Balogun lines.
“When on December 15, 2016, the former governor Abiola Ajimobi was honoured along with his wife, Florence, with the honorary chieftaincy titles of Aare and Yeye Aare of Ibadanland, that was how some of our high chiefs falsely accused Olubadan of having collected a sum of N50m. They bluntly refused to be consoled until Ajimobi told them point-blank that Kabiyesi did not charge anything. We challenge High Chief Balogun to produce demonstrable evidence of his claim.”
It was gathered that the embattled high chiefs would be meeting in Ibadan on Thursday.