15.03.2024 Featured EXPLAINED: What Happens When Olubadan Dies?

Published 15th Mar, 2024

By Damilola Ayeni

The common eulogy of Ibadan people, omo a gbo ti ku yo (one who hears of death and rejoices), comes to life again as Oba Lekan Balogun, the 81-year-old Olubadan, goes to rest.

A source familiar with events in Ibadan told FIJ after the passing of Oba Saliu Adetunji in January 2022 that the moment an Olubadan dies, palace drummers move to the house of the next in line, singing, dancing, drinking and eating, hence the eulogy.

Following the demise of Adetunji, whose remains was deposited in the mortuary of the University of Ibadan College Hospital, where it was picked for burial in accordance with Islamic rites, the Ibadan palace and its fanfare eventually moved to the house of Lekan Balogun, the then Otun Olubadan, after heated controversies.

Now, Oba Balogun is gone, and the fanfare is expected to move to the house of the next in line.

Kingship in Ibadan is between the two lines of the Otun Olubadan and the Balogun. Oba Adetunji hailed from the Balogun line, and by the Olubadan succession order, Lekan Balogun, who was then the highest ranking chief from the next royal line, automatically became the king.


Following his primary school education, Lekan proceeded to the CAC Modern School, Anlugbua, where he wrote the Qualifying Examination that enabled him to travel to the UK to study for his O and A Level certificates. Subsequently, he was admitted to Columbus International University for his first degree and then Brunel University, both in the UK, for his master’s degree in public and social administration.

He worked with the Lamberth Local Government Social Services Department for one-and-a-half years and then left to pursue a Ph.D. at Manchester University, UK. On his return to Nigeria, he worked with Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, and then the Shell British Petroleum Company, where he rose to the position of head of recruitment.

In 1999, he was elected a member of the Nigerian Senate, where he served as chairman of the Senate Committee on National Planning. He was also a member of other committees, including appropriations and security.

Balogun was a director at Triumph Newspaper, Kano, and editor at The Nigerian Pathfinder, a monthly magazine. He was one of the 21 Ibadan leaders raised to the rank of king by a former governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, in 2017.

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Published 15th Mar, 2024

By Damilola Ayeni


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