The High chiefs in Ibadan have said there was no controversy over the emergence of a new Olubadan of Ibadanland, noting that tradition would be followed in the choice of the next king.
Recall that an Ibadan-based lawyer and former Attorney-General of the state and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Michael Lana, had earlier advised Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde against approving the appointment of any of the current High Chiefs and Baales as the new Olubadan because there were unsettled legal matters relating to the stool.
A statement released at the end of a two-hour closed-door meeting held at the residence of Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, High Chief Lekan Balogun, said members of the council would meet and announce the next Olubadan in line with tradition after the mourning period for Oba Saliu Adetunji.
The Osi Olubadan, High Chief Rasheed Ladoja, and two other members of the council were absent at the meeting.
The statement read; “Following the demise of the 41st Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1, on Sunday, members of the Olubadan-in-Council on Monday condoled with the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Oluseyi Makinde, the people of Ibadan land and family members of the late monarch.
“Rising from a two-hour closed-door meeting held at the Alarere residence of Otun Olubadan and the would-be successor to the throne, Sen. Dr. Lekan Balogun, the Olubadan-in-Council described the deceased leader of the Council as an indefatigable ruler, whose reign would be difficult to forget.
“While praying for the repose of the soul of the departed king, the council urged the bereaved family of the deceased to remain joyous and happy for the legacies of good reign left behind by their patriarch.
“The council reiterated that the historical and traditional succession plan to the throne of Olubadan remains sacrosanct, the elevation conferred on all the members of the Olubadan-in-Council as Royal Majesties notwithstanding.
“Members of the council were elevated to the Royal Majesties status by the previous administration in the state led by the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi and it became contentious and litigatious.
“Olubadan-in-Council said the elevation granted the members, who also serve as kingmakers, had not in anyway altered the age-long and enviable traditional succession plan to the Olubadan throne in Ibadan land.
“There should be no controversy as to who becomes the next Olubadan amongst us as the previous elevation that made us Royal Majesties did not in anyway affect our respective offices in the Olubadan-in-Council and would not preclude any of us to mount the Olubadan throne whenever it is the person’s turn.
“We are the kingmakers and we will do the needful at the appropriate time. For now, we are still all in the mourning mood of our departed father and revered leader in the Council and we just want to assure the generality of our people both home and in the diaspora that there’s no cause for alarm.”
But Lana, in a letter to Makinde and which was copied to the Oyo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, claimed that approving the appointment of any of the High Chiefs and Baales would amount to an illegality, and would, therefore, be null and void.
In the letter dated January 3, Lana claimed that the Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957, which has not been set aside, forbade the elevation of an Oba to the position of Olubadan.
The seat of Olubadan became vacant on Saturday, January 1, 2022, following the death of His Royal Majesty, Oba llu Adetunji, Aje Ogunguniso 1, the Olubadan of Ibadanland.
Lana, in his letter to the governor, advised that the governor should withhold his approval of any of the High Chiefs or Baales as Olubadan to avoid involvement in the desecration of Ibadan Customary Chieftaincy Law.
According to the lawyer, Makinde’s predecessor had violated the Chieftaincy Law, when he, “Without thinking 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 noted that the action of the former governor was challenged up to the Court of Appeal before the matter was resolved out of court.
Lana stated in the letter to Makinde, “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 judgement 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 Judgement and, therefore, instituted two separate suits to set aside the Consent Judgement while at the same time clinging to the title of Obas (which actually is in contempt of court).”
Lana further pointed out that in committing this alleged aberration, which changed the Ibadan Chieftaincy customary law, the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957 was not amended and, therefore, remained extant.
He said, “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.”
He said in the entire history of Ibadanland, appointment of the Olubadan had never been an issue; hence, the governor should not do anything to make it so.
According to Lana, “It is in line with this legal situation that I advise, most humbly, 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.”