There are strong indications that legal tussle may affect the appointment and installation of the next Olubadan of Ibadan.
The PUNCH had reported that 41st Olubadan of Ibadan, Saliu Adetunji, died on Sunday at the age of 93 at the University College Hospital, Ibadan and has since been buried according to Islamic rites.
A few hours after the monarch’s death, family members, friends, and well-wishers thronged the Aliiwo and Alarere Compounds of Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Chief Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, who is the next in line to become Olubadan of Ibadanland, according to tradition.
But a former Attorney-General of Oyo State, Michael Lana, in a letter to the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, argued that Lekan Balogun is unfit to be crowned as the next Olubadan of Ibadan.
The lawyer cited some ongoing legal cases that affected the eligibility of Balogun to become the Olubadan.
In the letter dated January 3, Lana explained that installing Balogun as Olubadan would amount to an “aberration and illegality”.
According to the ex-Attorney-General, Balogun, some high chiefs and Baales had been earlier conferred their titles by the late Abiola Ajimobi, when he was the Oyo State Governor.
Part of the letter read, “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 Rashid Ladoja V the governor of Oyo state.
“However, the court of appeal in Appeal No.CA/111/99/ 2018 set aside the said Judgment of Aiki J on technical grounds without touching on the merit of the case and sent the case hack for retrial,” the lawyer continued.
“Upon your excellency’s assumption of office, it was resolved that the matter be settled amicably and the 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: Suit No. I/ 22/ 2020-HRM Oba (senator) Lekan Balogun & ors V governor of Oyo state & ors.”
No Oba can ascend Olubadan throne – Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957
The lawyer further explained that though the judgment amended the Ibadan chieftaincy customary law, “the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957 was not amended and therefore remains extant”.
He added, “Under that declaration and all relevant law, 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.
“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 0lubadan so that you will not also join in the desecration of Ibadan chieftaincy customary law.”
‘What can be done for Balogun to be installed’
Lana explained that until the cases are concluded or withdrawn, Balogun would be unfit to be installed as Olubadan.
He said, “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.
“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.”