The Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, has denied accusation by embattled high chiefs that he is monetising chieftancy titles.
The high chiefs, he said, are resorting to blackmailing him to gain sympathy.
The monarch, in a statement by his Personal Assistant/Director of Media & Publicity, Mr Adeola Oloko, accused the Otun Olubadan High Chief Lekan Balogun of deliberately levelling unsubstantiated allegations against him to assassinate his character.
Puncturing the claim that he was selling chieftaincy titles for as much as N30 million, Oba Adetunji said he has no reason to commercialise award of chieftaincy titles given his age and accomplishments in life.
He said the letter making the allegation was signed by only High Chief Balogun.
The statement reads in part: “The embattled high chief should have substantiated his claim by mentioning the name of the chief or chiefs who paid the sum.
“He should have disclosed where and when the money was paid. Was the money paid in cash, cheque or through transfer?
“Was it paid in local or foreign currency? What kind of traditional chieftaincy title was the so-called person asking from Olubadan, as alleged by High Chief Lekan Balogun?
“How much gain would the person possibly make from the alleged N30 Million investment on the chieftaincy title, which he could have possibly invested on more profitable venture?”
The monarch regretted that despite Chief Balogun’s claim to sophisticated education and age, he could not differentiate between free comment and libel.
According to him, what the high chiefs did not tell the public was that in September, 2019, when the high chiefs came to plead with Olubadan that the vacant positions from Otun Balogun down to Jagun on both sides be filled, what His Majesty requested from them was the usual N100,000 per step.
‘Thinking that His Majesty would ask for more but he asked for less, the high chiefs prostrated for Kabiesi in appreciation.
“The implication of this is that if you have two steps to climb, you are liable to pay only N200, 000. 00.
“If you have three steps, you pay N300, 000, Even when some of the high chiefs could not afford to pay, it was Chief Yemi Soladoye led Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, CCII that bailed them out.
“So, how can the respected monarch ask for N30 or any million naira from someone who cannot afford N100, 000 only?”
For the avoidance of doubt, the statement said: “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.”
The statement added:“ When on 15th December, 2016 the former Governor, Senator 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 N50 Million.
“They bluntly refused to be consoled until Ajimobi told them point blank that Kabiyesi did not charge anything, so he won’t give a dime to any chief.
“Former Governor Ajimobi is alive to confirm the story. We challenged High Chief Balogun to produce demonstrable evidence of his claim.
“If you are Olubadan of Ibadanland at 91 like Oba Saliu Adetunji, what materialistic ambition could anyone be possibly pursuing with the enormous goodwill attached to the exalted throne?
“Suffering from what psychologists call projection, High Chief Lekan Balogun is a hawk who always labours under false pretence that all other creatures feed on chicks.
“We challenge Dr. Lekan Balogun to explain to the public who collected a sum of N6.5million from Dr. Sunday Oladiti (now late) sometime in 2017 under the false pretence that he would help him secure promotion to Jagun from Oba Saliu Adetunji.
“When the man died without realising his ambition, did High Chief Balogun refund his money to his family as his wife and children have come to the palace to seek Kabiesi’s intervention on the matter?”