By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The Olubadan-in-council has urged Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, to shun any invitation from any quarters to scuttle the age-long, smooth, rancour-free process of filling the vacant stool of the Olubadan of Ibadan land.
The Olubadan-in-Council stated this in a letter, signed by its solicitors, K.K. Eleja, Wahab Egbewole and Adekunle Sobaloju, dated January 4, 2022, and addressed to the governor.
They charged Makinde to approve without hesitation, any candidate selected by the Olubadan-in-Council as next in line of succession to fill the vacant stool of Olubadan of Ibadan land.
Tuesday’s letter from K.K. Eleja and co. follows a letter written by another legal practitioner, Michael Lana Esq., on Monday, where he gave reasons the governor should withhold approval of any High Chief to become Olubadan of Ibadan land, claiming it will constitute an illegality.
Lana had, in his letter, added that Makinde should not approve appointment of any High Chief as Olubadan on the grounds that the Ibadan High Chiefs are Obas and that there is a pending suit with no 1/22/2020 of Oba (Senator) Lekan Balogun and ORS vs Governor of Oyo State and ORS.
But the solicitors to the Olubadan-in-council, on Tuesday, faulted Lana’s observations, describing it as self-serving, a false representation of the law, unfounded and a gross misconception of the restructuring of the Ibadan chieftaincy order by the administration of late Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
They argued that the 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy declaration and subsequent government decisions and rights of the High Chiefs regarding ascension to the Olubadan of Ibadan subsisted and was not eroded by a conferment of rights to wear beaded crowns as High Chiefs of Ibadan land.
The solicitors also faulted Lana’s argument that no Oba can ascend to position of Olubadan, stating that none of the High Chiefs was appointed or installed as Olubadan of Ibadan land or vested with the rights to wear beaded crown as Olubadan of Ibadan land.
“The position, ranking and status of the high chiefs of Ibadanland and their rights of ascendancy to the Olubadan stool was never at any time altered by the Oyo State Government; all that was 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 Ibadan land as the Olubadan at all times remained the paramount king and ruler of Ibadan land with the position of an emperor and addressed as “His Imperial Majesty,” while each of the high chiefs who are lesser to the Olubadan are 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 Ibadan land, Osi Olubadan of Ibadan land, Balogun of Ibadan, etc.
“We know that the positive side of history is more in favour of overseeing a smooth process of the filling of the vacant stool of the Olubadan of Ibadan rather than entertaining frivolous petitions aimed at scuttling the process.
“We, therefore, most humbly appeal to you as a true and legitimate son of Ibadan land to shun any invitation to scuttle the age-long tradition of a smooth and rancour-free process of filling the vacant stool of Olubadan by approving without hesitation any candidate selected by the Olubadan-in-Council to fill the vacant stool,” the letter read.
The solicitors held that they were not aware of any suit or court order which restrains the Oyo State Government from kick-starting the process of filling the vacant stool of the Olubadan of Ibadan land or from approving the appointment of any person next in line of succession to the throne as the Olubadan of Ibadan land.
They argued that the pending suit, with no 1/22/2020, which has been adjourned for judgement has nothing to do with the right of succession to the stool of Olubadan.
“The pending suit, i.e. Suit No. 1/22/2020 which has been adjourned for judgement has nothing to do with the right of succession to the stool of Olubadan, the suit was filed by the high chiefs and traditional eulers of towns and villages in Ibadan land to set aside the consent judgement 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 judgement 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 Ibadan land.
“An unsolicited, jaundiced, misconceived and warped opinion of a counsel who did not disclose his quo warranto cannot metamorphose to an order of court capable of stopping His Excellency from exercising his statutory power of approving the candidate selected by the Olubadan-in-Council to fill the vacant stool of the Olubadan of Ibadan land.
“It is also on record that the high chiefs were conferred with the right to wear beaded crowns on the 27th of August, 2017, and immediately thereafter during the subsistence of suits filed by Chief Rasheed Ladoja and others challenging the action that there was a vacancy in the Balogun line, HRM Oba Gbadamosi Adebimpe was elevated from Ashipa Balogun to Osi Balogun and HRM Dr Kolawole Adegbola was also elevated from Ekarun Balogun to Ashipa Balogun by the late Olubadan and the elevations were approved by Your Excellency inspite of the subsistence of the suits in court and their status as beaded crown-wearing Obas and heaven did not fall.
“We equally reiterate that there is no controversy whatsoever within the Olubadan-in-Council and the entire Ibadan land as to the candidate next in line to fill the vacant stool of the Olubadan of Ibadan land other than the unnecessary dust raised in the letter of M.F Lana Esq, as we do not see how the judgement of the court in suit 1/22/2020, whichever way it goes, can in any way affect the right of the Kingmakers to select the candidate next in line to fill the vacant stool of the Olubadan of Ibadan land,” the letter added.