Header Ads Widget

Why It Is Difficult For Gov. MAKINDE To Pick New OLUBADAN

The general public is presently in confusion over who will be installed as the next Olubadan of Ibadanland. That has been the major topic across different media platforms since two weeks ago that former occupiers of the throne, Oba Saliu Adetunji, the Aje Ogungunniso 1, joined his ancestors. Oba Adetunji, who ascended the throne on the 4th of March, 2016, passed on in the early hours of Sunday, the 2nd January, 2022, at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, at 93.

While some have insisted that the existing rotational system of Ibadan chieftaincy structure should be strictly followed and the next man in line, Senator Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, be allowed to ascend the throne. This, they say, becomes necessary in order for peace to reign and will further strengthen the smooth process of becoming Olubadan.

There are those who have come seriously against such a position, however, describing it as a move capable of promoting disloyalty and conspiracy against the highly revered throne of Olubadan. This school of thought feel Balogun, alongside other High Chiefs who benefited from late former governor Ajimobi’s chieftaincy reform and were promoted to the position of beaded crown and coronets wearing Obas, should be excused from the Olubadan throne. Their point, among other issues raised, is that it would be a kind of double standard for an already crowned Oba to be installed as Olubadan.

They also pointed out the fact that the affected High Chiefs still have pending cases instituted by them in the court of law. Even after the present administration had opted to settle out of court. They believe since Balogun can’t wear two crowns at the same time, the former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, as the next person to Balogun in Otun line and since the line should produce the next Olubadan, should be installed.

In the middle of all these, however, is the present administration in Oyo State led by Governor ‘Seyi Makinde. In fact, the governor has been inundated with all kinds of opinions and suggestions as to who to and who not to install as Olubadan. Of course, the pressure mounting on the governor, from different corners, is understandable. Whoever is to be installed as Olubadan is subject to the approval of the governor of the state, Engr. ‘Seyi Makinde.

Little wonder then that a former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of Oyo State, Michael Lana Esq, last week, wrote Governor Makinde a letter. He stated that no Oba can ascend the throne of the Olubadan as long as the High Chiefs still cling to the title of Oba, and any installation of any of them during the pendency of the existing suite is illegal, null and void.

Barr. Lana, in his letter, therefore advised the governor to withhold any approval of any High Chief to become the Olubadan so that he will not become a party to the desecration of Ibadan Chieftaincy Customary Law. Saying that the former governor in the state did not take the situation into consideration before embarking on the journey of illegality.

To counter Barr. Lana’s position, however, the Olubadan-in-Council who also doubles as Kingmakers have said that no court case would stop the appointment and installation of the next Olubadan. In their letter to Governor Makinde, through their lawyers, Olubadan-in-Council explicitly discussed why Senator Lekan Balogun should be installed as the next person in line to Olubadan throne.

It would be recalled that ten members of the Olubadan-in-Council, except Ladoja who was absent at the Mapo Hall meeting, had endorsed the nomination of Dr Balogun as the next Olubadan of Ibadanland.

The High Chiefs, in the letter dated January 4 and copied the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, described Lana’s letter and his position as self-serving, unfounded and a gross misconception of the essence of the restructuring of the Ibadan chieftaincy order by the immediate past administration in the state.

“First, the law as regards ascension to the Olubadan stool is the 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration and the subsequent Government decisions thereon and the rights of the High Chiefs in line to the ascension to the vacant stool of the Olubadan of Ibadan is guaranteed therein as it was not and cannot be eroded by a conferment of rights to wear the beaded crown as High Chiefs of Ibadanland as it is on record that none of the High Chiefs was at any point in the time appointed or installed as Olubadan of Ibadanland or vested with the rights to wear the beaded crown as Olubadan of Ibadanland,” the letter reads in parts.

The letter further explained that “all that the reform had done was to confer on the High Chiefs the right to wear beaded crown pursuant to the enabling statute in this regard. The conferment of the right to wear beaded crowns on the High Chiefs did not elevate any of the Chiefs to the status of the Olubadan of Ibadanland as the Olubadan at all times remained the paramount king and ruler of Ibadanland with the position of an emperor and addressed as “His Imperial Majesty” while each of the high chiefs who are lesser to the Olubadan is referred to as “His Royal Majesty” and they remained in their respective lines and ranks on the Olubadan ascendancy chain and have always retained their respective positions as Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, Balogun of Ibadan, etc.

The pending suit. i.e Suit No. 1/22/2020 which has been adjourned for judgment has nothing to do with the right of succession to the stool of Olubadan, the suit was filed by the High Chiefs and Traditional Rulers of Towns and Villages in Ibadanland to set aside the consent judgment which nullified the Gazette vesting on each of them the right to wear beaded crowns and coronets.

“The suit, therefore, dwells mainly on whether it was proper to divest the claimants of vested rights through a consent judgment entered into by their adversaries without any consultation with them or their consent. “We unequivocally state that we are not aware of any suit or any order of a competent court of law as at today which restrains the Oyo State Government from kick-starting the process of filling the vacant stool of the Olubadan of Ibadanland or from approving the appointment of any person next in line of succession to the throne as the Olubadan of Ibadanland,” they stated.

Meanwhile, speaking for the first time on the issue, last week, former governor Rashidi Ladoja, the Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, has said that there is no controversy as the succession plan is clear and unambiguous. That Senator Lekan Balogun is the most senior in the Otun line and he is the next in line to the throne.

“I do not have the powers to make anybody Olubadan. In 2017, we instituted a case to challenge the needless reform that Abiola Ajimobi as the governor wanted to do. Almost all of us as High Chiefs and members of the Olubadan-in-Council agreed to the filing of a suit to challenge him and we gave the task to Michael Lana.

“Lana later called me to say some of the High Chiefs told him to remove their names from the suit, leaving only my Egbon Balogun and myself. Two weeks after we started the case, Egbon Balogun said he was no longer interested in the case. I asked Lana if I could do it alone and he told me ‘yes’ and we continued.

“We won the case at the state High Court and Ajimobi appealed. In a judgment, the Appeal Court, a few days to the exit of Ajimobi from the government, sent the case back to the High Court for retrial. The Judges of the Appellate Court said the case was brought under a writ of summons instead of originating summons.

“By the time, there had been a new government headed by Seyi Makinde who said he did not want the distraction of the suit and called for out-of-court settlement which we agreed to and did.

“After the terms of settlement were agreed to, the court gave a consent judgment based on the terms. But they said they were not happy and instituted two fresh cases which are still in court till today.

“So, I need people to understand that I am not causing any trouble. The cases that are in court today in respect of the Obaship tussle were instituted by Egbon Balogun and his colleagues who are still calling themselves Obas. “It is they that the people should talk to. Let them go and withdraw the cases they instituted. I don’t like the unwarranted tension this matter is generating,” Ladoja stated.

As it is now, it’s obvious that the situation has become a bit delicate and sensitive. It requires a high level of wisdom for the next line of action from Governor ‘Seyi Makinde. And if not quickly addressed too, it may delay the installation of the next Olubadan.

This is because all kinds of intrigues are coming up, as well as political cards, as expected, being introduced to the issue. While some are saying Governor Makinde wouldn’t want to be in the bad book of Senator Ladoja, considering the political alliance between the two, others strongly believe the governor wouldn’t also want to disrupt the existing peaceful succession process to the Olubadan stool. There is also this video making the rounds, suggesting late Oba Adetunji to have ordained Ladoja as his successor. Oba Saliu Adetunji was seen in the video, at a social gathering, praying for Ladoja.

Meanwhile, Senator Lekan Balogun, on the other hand, even though he’s known to be a PDP man but by the virtue of his dalliance with late former governor Ajimobi during the Obaship crisis, has already been tagged opposition by some. interestingly too, Senator Lekan Balogun’s younger brother, Dr Kola Balogun is a PDP serving senator representing Oyo South Senatorial District. All these and several other factors are the reasons many believe the installation of the next Olubadan may be a bit delayed.

-Dare Adeniran

Post a Comment