An unusual crisis has hit Ibadanland, over the successor of the Olubadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji was pass away on 1st January, 2022 at the University College Hospital Ibadan(UCH)
According to tradition though, the next-in-line to the throne, the Otun Olubadan, High Chief Lekan Balogun, supposed to be the natural successor.
Contrarily, former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Michael Lana has written to Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde not to approve his appointment, if selected by the Olubadan-In-Council.
According to the nation news, Lana, who is counsel to Osi-Olubadan, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, said since Balogun has been elevated to an Oba and received a crown, he should not be installed as Olubadan.
The Olubadan-In-Council is divided as Ladoja, a former governor of the state, is believed to have opposed Balogun as successor.
However, the kingmakers have declared at a meeting that they would follow the tradition in naming the next Olubadan, regardless of their elevation to obas.
Lana, who is counsel to Ladoja in his suit against elevation of high chiefs to obas in 2017, warned Makinde against the ‘dangers’ of approving Balogun as the next Olubadan.
Ladoja, who ranks next to Balogun on the Olubadan line to the throne, was the only chief who did not receive a beaded crown as oba.
He challenged the elevation in court and won, but Balogun, along with his elevated colleagues, challenged the judgment, which is still pending in court.
Lana, in the January 3, 2022 letter, reminded the governor that except Balogun withdraws his suit challenging the nullification of their elevation, he is not entitled to the throne of Olubadan.
He argued that nowhere in the 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration is it stated that an already beaded crown-wearing oba can be enthroned for the second time as the Olubadan.
He stressed that approving Balogun while still holding on to the title of an oba, may create the ground for legal battles, which are alien to the Olubadan throne.
Should Balogun be disqualified, Ladoja may be the next Olubadan as he is next-in-line on the Olubadan line, which is to produce the next Olubadan.
Lana’s letter entitled: “Re: Installation of A New Olubadan of Ibadanland, reads: “May I firstly, commiserate with you on the demise of His Royal Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogunguniso I. the Olubadan of Ibadanland. May his soul rest in peace
Secondly, may l humbly draw your attention to a traditional aberration and illegality that may occur in an attempt to install another Olubadan of Ibadanland, in view of the existence of Suit No./22/2020 HRM Oba (Senator) Lekan Balogun & ORS versus Governor of Oyo State & ORS
“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 by High Chief Rashidi Ladoja, the former Governor of Oyo State. The High Court Judge, Aiki, nullified the said conferment, which was actually a total contravention of both the Chiefs Law and the Ibadan Chieftaincy Customary Law.
“However, the Court of Appeal, in Appeal No. CA/1B/99/2018, set aside the said judgment of Aiki on technical grounds without touching on the merit of the case and sent the case back for retrial.
“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 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.1/22/2020 – HRM
Oba (Senator) Lekan Balogun & ORS versus Governor of Oyo State & ORS.
Now, may I draw, Your Excellency’s attention to the fact that in committing this aberration, which changed the Ibadan chieftaincy customary law, the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957 was not amended and therefore, remians extant. 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.