High Chiefs Lekan Balogun and Rashidi Ladoja, the Otun and Osi Olubadan respectively, have dragged Governor Abiola Ajimobi to court over his plan to reform the 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy Law.
Governor Ajimobi had on May 19, inaugurated a seven-man Judicial Commission of Inquiry to, among other things, review the existing requirement and qualification for ascendancy to the throne of the Olubadan and submit its report in four weeks.
But Ladoja and Balogun are asking the State High Court to restrain the seven-man Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the governor from sitting or taking any step towards the reform plans, pending the determination of motion on notice in respect of the subject.
The commission headed by retired Justice Akintunde Boade was also joined in the suit filed on Friday by Michael Lana, counsel to the two chiefs.
In the suit, the Otun and Osi Olubadan are contending that the judicial panel which was said to have been constituted under sections 10, 12 and 25 of the Chiefs Law 2000 was invalid, arguing that the governor lacks the power to change or amend the customary law relating to the selection of Olubadan.
They insist that the primary aim of the Chiefs Law was that traditional institutions must be guided and operated not in accordance with modern dictates as argued by the governor but by the customary rules of each community.
According to Ladoja and Balogun, only the Chieftaincy Committee which made the 1957 Olubadan Declaration and which must be peopled by recognised chiefs and not any judicial commission could amend the law.
They added that the certain situations, including insufficient description of Olubadan selection process, must exist to warrant such amendment.
Part of the affidavit reads: “Before setting up the commission, the governor never said that any of the situations happened to the 1957 Olubadan Declaration that has been used seamlessly without conflict, dispute or rancor to enthrone successive Olubadans.
“The provision relating to the declaration is mainly to put the customary law into written instrument in the custody of the government and not that it gives the government the right to change the customary law relating to a chieftaincy to suit its own purpose.
The claimants also said only two members of the panel are Ibadan indigenes, stressing that it was improper for non-Ibadans to determine the fate of Ibadan indigenes on issues relating to the emergence of the Olubadan.
“That Ibadan has issues with Oyo over the Council of Obas and one of the members of the commission, Prince Wasiu Gbadegesin, is in line to the throne of Alaafin of Oyo and will therefore be biased against the peaceful and rancor-free method of selecting the Olubadan of Ibadanland”, they stated.