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‘Why former lawmaker, Lekan Balogun can’t become next Olubadan,’ Oyo ex-commissioner tells Makinde



Lekan Balogun

A former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Oyo State, Michael Lana, has explained why a former federal lawmaker, Chief Lekan Balogun, should not succeed the late Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji.

Oba Adetunji died at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, in the early hours of Sunday.

Balogun, who is the Otun Olubadan, is the most senior chief in the ancient city and next in line to the throne.

In a letter titled: “INSTALLATION OF A NEW OLUBADAN OF IBADANLAND,” dated January 3, 2020, and addressed to Governor Seyi Makinde, the ex-commissioner stressed that Balogun was unfit to be crowned as the next head of the ancient city.

He reminded the governor that his predecessor the late Abiola Ajimobi, had in 2017 conferred on the ex-lawmaker and some high chiefs and Baales the title of Obaship and gave them the right to wear beaded crowns and coronets.

Lana urged Governor Makinde to tread softly on the matter, saying the installation of Balogun as Olubadan of Ibadan would amount to an illegality.

The development is expected to trigger a prolonged legal tussle in the efforts to appoint a successor for the departed monarch.

The letter read: “May I humbly draw your attention to a traditional aberration and illegality that may occur in an attempt to install another Olubadan of Ibadanland, in view of the existence of Suit No.!/22/2020-HRM OBA (SENATOR) LEKAN BALOGUN & ORS V GOVERNOR OF OYO STATE & ORS.

“Kindly note, Your Excellency, that your predecessor in office, without thinking of the legal effects of his actions on the future of Ibadan traditional institution, conferred the title of Obaship on some High Chiefs and Baales and gave them the right to wear beaded Crowns and coronets, in 2017.”

“This action was challenged in Suit No. M317/2017-HIGH CHIEF RASHIDI LADOJA V THE GOVERNOR OF OYO STATE. The High Court per Aiki 1, nullified the said conferment, which was actually a total contravention of both the Chiefs Law and the Ibadan chieftaincy customary law.

READ ALSO: Olubadan of Ibadan dies at 93

“However, the Court of Appeal, in Appeal No.CA/IB/99/2018 set aside the said judgment of Aiki J on technical grounds without touching on the merit of the case and sent the case back for retrial.

“Upon your Excellency’s assumption of office, it was resolved that the matter be settled amicably and same was settled through the instrumentality of a Terms of Settlement which became the judgment of the Court. The said Terms of Settlement recognised the illegality of the said actions and therefore set aside the Gazettes by which the said Chiefs became Obas with a right to wear beaded Crowns and coronets.

“These High Chiefs and Baales, were dissatisfied with this Consent Judgment and therefore instituted two separate suits to set aside the Consent Judgment while at the same time clinging to the title of Obas(which actually is in contempt of court). On of these cases is Suit No: Suit No.1/22/2020-HRM OBA (SENATOR) LEKAN BALOGUN & ORS V GOVERNOR OF OYO STATE & ORS.

“Now, may I draw your Excellency’s attention to the fact that in committing this aberration which changed the Ibadan Chieftaincy customary law, the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957 was not amended and therefore remains extant. Under that Declaration and all relevant laws, no Oba can ascend to the throne of Olubadan. In other words, as long as the High Chiefs still cling to the title of Oba, they cannot ascend to that throne and any installation of any of them during the pendency of that suit, is illegal, null, and void.

“In the entire history of Ibadanland, we have never had such a situation where the legality or otherwise of the installation of the 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 any rancour to the envy of all other towns.

“It is in line with this legal situation that I advice, most humbly, that you should withhold any approval of any High Chief to become the Olubadan so that you will not also join in the desecration of Ibadan Chieftaincy Customary law.

“There are only two ways to deal with this situation: one is for the High Chiefs to withdraw the aforementioned cases and the other is to wait for the Court to pronounce on it before any step is taken to install an Olubadan. If the court holds that they have the right to be Obas and entitled to wear beaded crowns, then they are perpetually barred from becoming another Oba. Nowhere in the customary law of any Yoruba town is an Oba elevated to become another Oba.

“If, on the other hand, the Court holds that the Terms of Settlement stands, and their obaship title is illegal, then they are free to be elevated to the post of Olubadan. The ball, your Excellency, is in their court.

“I wish you well as you consider, as an Ibadan man and as Governor, your place in history.”

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