The 21 new obas in Ibadan land have rejected the court judgment which set aside the gazettes that backed their crowning and revoked their right to wear crown and coronets.
An out-of-court settlement, which serves as a judgment, had on November 14 set aside the gazettes that backed the 2017 review of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration which elevated some high chiefs and baales to obas. The settlement also revoked the rights of the obas to wear crown or coronets.
The suit was filed by Sen. Rashidi Ladoja against the governor of Oyo State and the judicial commission of Inquiry that reviewed the declaration. In the November 14 settlement, the parties agreed that the gazettes be set aside, additionally because the chiefs law of the state has not been amended by the House of Assembly. Ladoja, who is the Osi Olubadan, had rejected the elevation, saying the governor lacked the right to review the declaration independent of the Olubadan institution.
The court had upheld Ladoja’s claims but the state government, under former governor Abiola Ajimobi, appealed the judgment. The appellate court ordered a retrial of the case by another high court judge.
Rather than return to court with the previous case, Ladoja filed another suit which ended in an out-of-court settlement that stripped the obas of their right to wear crown and coronets. The current governor is not interested in pursuing the case further, arguing that the review actually caused disharmony within the Olubadan traditional obaship system. Hence, he consented to the settlement through the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo.
But the affected obas held a meeting at the historic Mapo Hall yesterday where they rejected the settlement which stripped them of their crowns. They insisted that as direct beneficiaries of the review, they were not carried along by Ladoja, the governor and retired justice Akintunde Boade who headed the judicial commission in their settlement efforts. They pointed out that it was impossible for them to accept the outcome of a decision made without their input.
Headed by the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Sen. Lekan Balogun, the obas maintained that the government had no business setting aside the gazettes, stressing that such action did not show commitment to governance.
They said: “Those behind the judgement did not consult the interest of Ibadanland. We, as obas and representatives of the people reject the judgement and we are going to fight it all the way through legal and legitimate means. They want to destabilize Ibadanland and we will not allow them.”
The obas further disclosed that the issue at hand was beyond Ibadanland, adding that the conspiracy against the promoted Ibadan obas should not be allowed to stand. They said their elevation was properly gazetted in 2017 and 2018.
The obas said they were waiting for their lawyers to brief them on the next line of action.
According to them, their rejection of the verdict would not in anyway affect their relationship with the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, who is the paramount ruler of Ibadan land. They said the monarch commands their respect, loyalty and support.
The obas added: “We are not quarrelling with our father, Oba Adetunji. He should let our meetings go on regularly.”