The next Olubadan of Ibadan, Oyo State may face some legal tangles before he can sit on the prestigious royal stool. Already, the Otun Olubadan, Senator Lekan Balogun is expected to become the new Olubadan after the demise of the late Oba Saliu Adetunji who joined his ancestors on January 1, 2022.
However, a lawyer, and former Attorney General of Oyo State, Mr Michael Lana, has cautioned Oyo State governor, Mr Seyi Makinde to look at the legal hurdles created by the former governor, the late Mr Abiola Ajimobi, who attempted to create new Obas in the metropolis when he was governor.
Mr Lana drew the attention of the governor to a suit between Senator Lekan Balogun and others against Governor Oyo State and others in Suit No 1/22/2020 pending before an Ibadan High Court, where the next in rank to the Olubadan stool challenged the out of court settlement which reversed Ajimobi’ s creation of new Obas in the land.
Lana stated: “Your predecessor in office, without thinking of the legal effects of his actions on the future of Ibadan traditional institution the title of Obaship on some High Chiefs and Baales and gave them and gave them the right to wear bearded crowns and coronets in 2017”.
The lawyer further stated that Ajimobi’s action was challenged in suit no M317/2017, High Chief Rasheed Ladoja and others versus Governor of Oyo State before an Ibadan High Court presided over by Justice Aiki. The court ruled against the action of the governor, nullified it as it is against the Chiefs law, and Ibadan Chieftaincy Customary Law.
Not satisfied, the Ajimobi administration appealed the lower court’s decision and on technical grounds, the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division in suit no CA/IB/99/2018 set aside the lower court’s decision.
When the current governor Makinde assumed office, the matter was solved amicably. A Terms of Settlement was reached by parties, which recognized the illegality of Ajimobi’s actions, and set aside the official gazette by which the chief became Obas. The Terms of Settlement was registered as a judgment of Ibadan High Court.
Not satisfied, Chief Lekan Balogun and other chiefs in suit no: 1/22/2020-HRM (Senator) Lekan Balogun and others Versus Governor of Oyo State challenged the consent judgment and continued to operate as Obas and wear bearded crowns.
Lana then stated: “May I draw your Excellency’s attention to the fact that in committing this aberration which changed Ibadan Chieftaincy Customary Laws, the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957 was not amended and therefore remains extant. Under the declaration and relevant laws, no Oba can ascend the throne as Olubadan. In other words, as long as the High Chiefs cling to the title of Oba, they cannot ascend to that throne, and any installation of any of them during the pendency of the suit is illegal, null and void”.
He advised Makinde to avoid the mistake made by Ajimobi and refrain from installing an Olubadan until the thorn issue is resolved. “In the entire history of Ibadanland, we’ve never had a situation where the legality or otherwise of the installation of an Olubadan would be an issue and this was what your predecessor did not take into consideration before venturing into an illegal journey. Ibadan chieftaincy elevation had always been smooth and without rancour to the envy of other towns. It is in line with this legal situation that I advise, most humbly, that you should withhold the approval of any High Chief to become the Olubadan so that you will not also join in the desecration of the Ibadan Chieftaincy Customary Law”.
Lana advised that the High Chiefs that have a suit pending in court should withdraw the suit, or wait for the final judgment before a new Olubadan could be enthroned.