Michael Lana, counsel to a former Governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja, has opposed the plan to crown Senator Lekan Balogun as the next Olubadan of Ibadan.
Naija News reports that Senator Balogun is presently the Otun Olubadan and he is next in line to the throne and seen as the natural successor.
However, Lana has written a letter dated January 3 to Governor Seyi Makinde, asking him not to approve Balogun’s appointment as the new Olubadan.
The former Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice in the state advised the governor to reject the former Senator’s name if selected by the Olubadan-In-Council.
Lana noted that installing Balogun as the new Olubadan will amount to the violation of the 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration which is an “aberration and illegality”.
He reminded Makinde that Balogun was one of the high chiefs who received a beaded crown as a king from former governor Abiola Ajimobi.
The former commissioner added that Ladoja challenged their coronation in court and won, but Balogun and the new kings challenged the judgment, which is still pending in court.
Lana stated that except Balogun withdraws his suit challenging the nullification of their elevation, he is not entitled to the throne of Olubadan.
He told the governor that appointing Balogun as the new Olubadan while still holding on to the title of an oba, may create the ground for legal battles.
The letter reads: “May I firstly, commiserate with you on the demise of His Royal Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogunguniso I. the Olubadan of Ibadanland. May his soul rest in peace
“Secondly, may l 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 versus 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 by High Chief Rashidi Ladoja, the former Governor of Oyo State. The High Court Judge, Aiki, nullified the said conferment, which was actually a total contravention of both the Chiefs Law and the Ibadan Chieftaincy Customary Law.
“However, the Court of Appeal, in Appeal No. CA/1B/99/2018, set aside the said judgment of Aiki 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.
“One of these cases is Suit No.1/22/2020 – HRM Oba (Senator) Lekan Balogun & ORS versus 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, remians 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 most humbly advise 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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