The newly promoted 42 obas in Oyo State have accused Governor Seyi Makinde of betraying them in the legal and political battles surrounding their controversial elevation.
A total of 42 obas were created or promoted by the immediate past administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi in 2017 and 2018. But the high chiefs of Ibadan among them last November lost the right to wear beaded crown through a high court judgment which set aside the gazette that backed their elevation.
Rising from a meeting at historic Mapo Hall, Ibadan yesterday, the obas, accuses Makinde of betraying them, explaining that he had promised to be neutral in the legal crisis but went behind to support the other parties leading to the consent judgment that stripped them of the right to wear beaded crown. They accused him of insincerity and unfairness in his dealings with them over the issue.
One of the high chiefs, Sen. Rashidi Ladoja, had approached the court to nullify their elevation on the basis that it was done independent of the Olubadan of Ibadan by the former administration. He was the only high chief that rejected the elevation. The court finally set aside the gazette in a judgment last November.
Addressing reporters after their meeting yesterday, the Otun Olubadan High Chief Lekan Balogun said the obas were not happy that Makinde lent support support to the consent judgement that was obtained. This, they said, against his earlier assurance that he would remain neutral on the matter.
Balogun said: “We love him and supported his administration theoretically and practically and he assured us that he would not interfere in the matter, but by being part of the suit that brought about the consent judgement, we felt betrayed. The fact that he did not deem it fit to dialogue with us before going ahead with the case confirms our conclusion about our unfair treatment.
“To worsen the matter, the governor has been evading and avoiding us which confirms that his choice has been deliberate which is unfortunate.”
Meanwhile, the sacked obas have dragged the governor, two of his commissioners, High Chief Rashidi Ladoja and Hon. Justice Akintunde Boade (rtd) for himself and on behalf of all members of the judicial commission of Inquiry on the Olubadan chieftaincy review to court over the consent judgement.
According to a statement by Mr Kunle Sobaloju, SAN, who is the counsel to the sacked obas, two separate suits had been filed to challenge the consent judgement made by the Oyo State High Court of Justice.
The counsel recalled the newspaper publication made by counsel to Chief Ladoja, Mr Micheal Lana, directing the Obas to desist from wearing their beaded crown and coronet based on the consent judgement by a term of settlement that was filed without involving his clients whose interests are at stake as the basis for the two separate suits.
He explained in the statement that the obas are challenging the consent judgement on the grounds that the judgement was obtained by concealment of salient facts by the parties to it and that it was obtained by fraud for failure to disclose to the court the interests of third parties who are not parties to the suit and that the consent judgement did not represent the terms of settlement entered by the parties.
Sobaloju said: “Our clients were deprived of fair hearing as they were stripped of their rights to wear beaded crown and coronet. The consent judgement deprived our clients of their rights to fair hearing as entrenched in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“Government Gazette conferring beaded crowns and coronet on our clients cannot be set aside with the consent of parties to a case”, the counsel added.
Relying on the suits with No I/22/2020 and I/23/2020 filed respectively, the counsel said: “Having submitted the issues in respect of their rights to wear beaded crown and coronet to the court for determination, unless the issues are determined one way or the other, none of the parties is allowed to do anything that will prejudice the hearing and determination of the issues before the court as it is settled law that once a court is seized of a matter, none of the parties has the right to take the law into his hands or to do anything that will prejudice the hearing of the case”.