In what may seem in defiance of the directive by the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, that only him and Governor Seyi Makinde should play host to the masqueraders this year, the masqueraders in large number converged on the Aliiwo family house of the Otun Olubadan, Oba Lekan Balogun to entertain him and his guests.
Ahead of the commencement of the annual festival on Monday, Oba Adetunji had through his Personal Assistant/Director of Media and Publicity; Mr. Adeola Oloko said “only the Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde and the Olubadan of Ibadanland would be entertained by the masqueraders”.
But, the masqueraders turned out in large numbers, coming into the large compound one after the other to entertain Oba Balogun, who was accompanied by his colleague-Obas, including Balogun of Ibadanland, Owolabi Olakulehin, Eddy Oyewole, Lateef Adebimpe, Hamidu Ajibade among others to shower gifts on the masqueraders as they danced happily and prayed for peace, stability, growth and development of Ibadanland.
The climax of the festival which was interspersed with acrobatic display by the local gymnasts was the traditional killing of a dog, a ritual statutorily reserved for one of the foremost masquerades in Ibadanland, ‘Atipako’.
Speaking with journalists after the ritual which was followed by a heavy downpour, Oba Balogun described the programme as ‘incredibly fantastic’ just as he wondered why the Olubadan should insist that he alone among the members of Olubadan-in-Council should receive the masqueraders in his palace.
Recalling that Oba Adetunji, ever before he qualified to host the masqueraders by virtue of his position then as ‘Ekerin Balogun’ had to plead for it from the late Oba Odugade Odulana and the late monarch graciously approved it with inputs from some of the then High Chiefs, stating that, “it is now inexplicable why Oba Adetunji should wish to deny those of us who genuinely qualify to host the masqueraders.
“Olubadan tried it last year and failed just as he has equally failed to stop the outing this year. What he stands to benefit from robbing our tradition which should be promoted by him remains unknown to us. But, thankfully, the custodians of the masquerades had taken it upon themselves to protect the tradition in defiance of his order which lacks logic.
“For the umpteenth time, we are saying we have no problem with him as the Ibadan foremost monarch and the reform being attacked by him has not in any way diminished his status. As Otun Olubadan, I’m behind him just like other High Chiefs promoted as Obas and we still retain our titles,” he added.
When Oba Balogun was reminded that ordinarily, the pronouncement of a monarch should automatically be binding on all his subjects and their defiance amounts to insubordination, he said, “the popular saying in Yoruba that ‘toba lase’ presupposes that Oba would always weigh his directive before making pronouncement.
“In this instance, Kabiyesi has not been fair, not only to us, but, to our tradition and our people in general. You can imagine the implication of not allowing the prayers to be offered, the economic gain the stakeholders would make as well as the interaction between us and our masquerades. Oba’s directive becomes binding when unnecessary sentiments are not put into consideration,” Oba Balogun stated further.