An Ibadan-based legal practitioner, Michael Lana has petitioned Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State over attempts to install High Chief Mashood Olalekan Balogun as the next Olubadan of Ibadan land.
Lana, in a letter addressed to Makinde on Monday, explained that Balogun and some High Chiefs had already been crowned as Obas during the administration of the immediate past governor of the state, late Abiola Ajimobi.
The legal practitioner said, for this reason, Makinde should desist from going forward to install Balogun as the next Olubadan of Ibadan land.
He said there is no where in the history of Yoruba land that someone who has already been crowned as an Oba would be elevated to become another Oba.
The 41st Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji joined his ancestors in the early hours of Sunday at the age of 93.
Reports also indicate that the next person to ascend the throne is a former Senator from Oyo state, High Chief Mashood Olalekan Balogun.
But Balogun, who is the Otun Olubadan of Ibadan, was among the 21 High Chiefs who were elevated as Obas during the administration of Ajimobi, though the decision was condemned by many followers of Ibadan tradition.
Balogun, who was next to the Olubadan was also among the High chiefs who accused the departed monarch of running a one-man show.
Balogun and other High Chiefs among whom were High Chief Akinloye Owolabi Olakunlehin – Balogun of Ibadanland, High Chief Tajudeen Abimbola Ajibola – Otun Balogun of Ibadanland, High Chief Eddy Oyewole – Asipa Olubadan, High Chief Lateef Gbadamosi Adebimpe – Osi Balogun, High Chief Abiodun Kola-Daisi – Eekerin Olubadan and High Chief Salaudeen Hamidu Ajibade – Eekarun Olubadan collided with Ajimobi and were installed and crowned as Obas.
The only person among the High Chiefs who kicked against the installation was a former Governor of the state, High Chief Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, who is the Osi Olubadan of Ibadan land.
Lana in his letter argued that High Chief Lekan Balogun and other High Chiefs who were elevated as Obas do not qualify to be crowned the Olubadan.
He advised Makinde against any attempts to install Balogun.
According to the ex-Attorney-General, Balogun, some high chiefs and Baales had been 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.”