Nature of Ibadan Traditional Institution Before 1936 CONTD.


    The new Ibadan arose as a base for military operations against the Egba following the defeat of the Owu, whom Egba had supported against the combined forces of the Oyo, the Ijebu and the Ife. Two types of power struggle thus resulted within the settlement in the early period of its history. The first was a struggle among the allies- the Oyo , Ijebu and Ife which resulted in the victory of the Oyo, who have continued to dominate the affairs of the city almost entirely, whilst the Ijebu continued to occupy rather unobtrusively a quarter of the city known as Isale-Ijebu. Only once has a member from this group managed to rise to one of the positions of power in the city.

  The other type of power struggle was that between the military and civil authorities on their relative position in hierarchy of power. In an age of violence, instability and considerable turbulence, it was inevitable that the military authorities would emerge as the more important group. As a result, one fins that in Ibadan the quarters developed not so much on the basis of ties of kinship, but largely on the basis of dependence on particular chiefs appropriated a large   tract of land to him, both within the city and in neighbouring rural districts. Thus, whilst his ‘war boys’ raised their buildings all around him in the town, his slaves stated on the farms and provided the food necessary to sustain this wide circle of dependants.

 The absence of any hereditary right to titles within the settlement led to the evolution of a peculiar system of succession to the title of Olubadan. At first, this title limited to chiefs responsible for civil administration. More recently both the military and civil chiefs are eligible to provide candidate for the office. Because of this situation, no official palace exists in Ibadan, but rather as the office of Olubadan passes from one family to another so shifts the residence and other paraphernalia of office not until now that the project of building a universal place is carried out. An integral aspect of the political system was the intense conflict for power. The leading elite were always engaged in power politics and the balance shifted from one person to another on the basis of wealth, influence and size of followers. 

 The arrangement in Ibadan allowed the chiefs together with the lineage head (Mogaji) to carry out civil administration. The lineage was important for every individual for it was through its membership that a person has access to land and exercised civil rights. Every lineage had a spokesman, the Mogaji who together with the other elders, administers the compound in Ibadan Township and village. In Ibadan, there was no room for dictatorship. All elites, normally conspired to prevent the emergence of anyone who would wield absolute power, Bashorun Oluyole and Are Latosa, who tried to create a dictatorship, akin to Kurunmi’s model did not succeed.

See also
Nature of Ibadan Traditional Institution Before 1936

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