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Oyo Govt. may stop Balogun from becoming next Olubadan

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Hopes of Otun Olubadan and a former lawmaker, Lekan Balogun, succeeding the late Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, may not come to reality after strong indications emerged that the Oyo State government had indicated plans not to recognise him as the rightful person to occupy the stool as laid down in the original procedure.

The offense of the former lawmaker that represented the state at the National Assembly particularly at the red-chamber was his role in a revolt against the existing traditional system over three years ago, that is, demanding that territory of Olubadan be reduced, and number of monarchs ruling the ancient city be increased from one to many.

Also, Balogun, who was the team leader, after the move couldn’t achieve it’s aim, following court cases against them for declaring that they were now monarchs of the region they represented within the Ibadan traditional system, did not mandate his colleagues that engaged in the mutiny to withdraw the case instituted against the government before Oba Adetunji’s demise.

One of the minor claim against him and others involved in the action was that they could not have been installed twice as monarch after their ‘supposed’ coronation and presentation of the staff of office by Oyo former governor, Abiola Ajimobi.

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After news filtered in that Adetunji had joined his ancestors, Balogun’s home became another center of activities as guests began to throng his home including Ibadan indigenes and chiefs as well as market leaders that came to pay homage and declare their loyalty.

On Monday, he conveyed a meeting at his home in Ali Iwo axis of Ibadan to assert his status as the most senior among other chiefs to occupy the throne that became vacant 24 hours before after Oba Adetunji was laid to rest in his palace at Popoyemoja; the meeting was attended by some chiefs.
Those that attended the meeting were Osi Balogun of Ibadanland, Abdulateef Gbadamosi; the Balogun of Ibadanland, Owolabi Olakuleyin; the Asipa Olubadan, Eddy Oyewole; the Ekarun Olubadan, Amidu Ajibade, among others. Missing at the meeting was a former governor of the state and Osi Ibadan, Rashidi Ladoja.

Balogun, who was the most senior chief before he led others to revolt against the system after receiving the backing of Oyo former governor, late Abiola Ajimobi, was the next to ascend the throne after Adetunji’s demise.

But his action against Adetunji led to the deceased monarch suspending him and others that engaged in the mutiny, a development that made him as well as others drag the government before the court, demanding that they be recognised as monarchs.

Although, the case was yet to be struck out and the deceased monarch was yet to lift the suspension imposed on him and 20 other chiefs that engaged in the revolt that was described as an aberration against the city’s tradition.

Sources said that some of the kingmakers have decided to uphold the decision of the late Olubadan that suspended him, a stance that would end his chances, and the next person to the throne, Owolabi Olakulehin, who was from the same ruling house as Adetunji, which disqualifies him.

And the next in line and most eligible candidate to the throne is Ladoja, the political godfather of the sitting governor, Seyi Makinde, who sources close to the statehouse said was not ready to jeopardise his second term ambition as well as betray the man that assisted him to the office.

The case before the court and the suspension imposed on Balogun, sources said have become major issues that have beclouded his ascension to the throne of his forefathers in the city, as well as concerns for the Makinde to recognise him as the right candidate for the seat.

Following the controversies, Makinde has been asked to suspend plans to coronate Balogun as the new traditional ruler for the city pending the resolution of the existing issues.

Cautioning the governor against recognising Balogun, a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Micheal Lana, in a letter dated January 3, said installing the former lawmaker as king would amount to an act which he described as aberration and illegality.

“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,” he added.
In the letter, Lana recalled that the action of the immediate past governor was challenged in suit No. M317/ 2017-high chief Rashid Ladoja V the governor of Oyo state.
He explained that the conferment was nullified by Aiki J, a high court judge, for being in contravention of both the chiefs law and the Ibadan chieftaincy customary law.
“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.”
the former commissioner for justice said despite the fact that the “aberration” changed the Ibadan chieftaincy customary law, “the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957 was not amended and therefore remains extant”.
He said: “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.”
The former attorney-general, however, 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.”

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