Tuesday, January 5, 2016 12:25 am
Crisis looms in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State as its governor, Abiola Ajimobi, is on a collision course with the 101 -year old Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade1, over his recent elevation of nine high chiefs without they undergoing medical screening to determine whether they are fit or not for the positions as directed by the governor.
The chiefs include former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja who is at the Supreme Court challenging the victory of the governor at the last governorship election in the state as well as the chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Lekan Balogun, and Chief Saliu Adetunji. Others are: Chief Akinloye Owolabi Olakulehin, Chief Dr. Olufemi Olaifa, Chief Sir Eddy Oduoye Oyewole, Chief Tajudeen Abimbola Ajibola, Chief Biodun Kola Daisi, and Chief Solomon O. Adabale.
Crisis started when Olubadan wrote to inform the governor of his intention to elevate nine chiefs after the demise of High Chief Sulaimon Adegboyega Omiyale, Balogun Olubadan of Ibadanland, who was next in rank to the Olubadan and High Chief Omowale Kuye creating vacancies. As a result, the governor, claiming to invoke Section 14(2) of the Oyo State Chiefs Law, ordered all the chiefs meant for elevations to submit medical reports certifying them fit for the various positions without which he would not allow their elevations. This position was conveyed in a letter dated Thursday December 31, 2015 by the Director of Chieftaincy Matters in the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Z. O Jayeola, which was addressed to the Head of the Ibadan South East Local Government administration.
In a swift reaction Monday evening, the governor, who was installed with his wife, Florence,as Aare Atunluse and Yeye Aare Atunluse of Ibadanland by the monarch in 2013, made a new directive through his communication team led by Yomi Layinka, former Chief Operating Officer of Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State, BCOS, insisting on full compliance with the initial directives within 48 hours as well as declaring the action of Olubadan to elevate the notable Ibadan indigenes as null and void. The directive titled, “The Illegal Elevation of Nine Chiefs in Ibadan: The Position of The Government” further instructed the affected chiefs to return to their former positions.
The four paragraph directive which was copied to Oyo State permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health, and Director, Chieftaincy Matters, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and even the Nigeria police, and state security service reads in part:
“Government has observed with dismay and utter disappointment the recent ‘elevation’ of nine (9) Ibadan High Chiefs by the Olubadan-in-Council without the mandatory approval of the Government of Oyo State. Government, as required under the Law, stated its position on the procedures for the elevation in its Public Service Announcement of 31st December 2015 and its letter to the Olubadan-in-Council. The letter was duly acknowledged by the Olubadan’s Private secretary.
“It is to be noted for the avoidance of doubt that since the inception of the present administration, Government has resisted, as a matter of policy, any attempt to be lured into religious, chieftaincy and labour union leadership and other contentious issues. This is in order to maintain its neutrality, ensure fairness, justice and respect for the rule of law. Government will always uphold the sanctity of the rule of law and would neither encourage nor condone any tradition or peculiar culture of illegality, impunity, disregard and/or disrespect to constituted authority. Instead, it has concentrated on its avowed mission on the peace, safety of lives and property, security, welfare and empowerment of the people, infrastructural development, employment generation and urban renewal, among others, to make life more abundant for the teeming populace of the State.
“ It is in view of the foregoing that Government notes and states as follows: government’s suspicion and ardent belief are that the recent purported elevation could not have received the blessing of our highly revered father and traditional ruler, the Olubadan of Ibadanland. He is reputed to be a forthright and foremost traditional ruler with an enviable track record of achievements and a firm believer in due process as well as a respecter of the rule of law.
“ It is for this same reason that the Olubadan of Ibadanland expectedly wrote an earlier letter requesting the Governor’s due approval for the elevation of the nine High Chiefs in accordance with the provisions of Section 14(2) of the Oyo State Chiefs Law.
“As a firm believer in the sacredness of tradition, His Royal Majesty had earlier cautioned and warned against politicising the Olubadan chieftaincy institution.
“Otherwise, what could have been the reason behind the hasty elevation without observing due process, which Government is duly complying with?
“While the Government does not have any objection to the proposed elevation nor its beneficiaries, it is however insisting on due process and lawful procedure which had not been followed in the past.
“The appointment and or elevation of deserving persons into the Stool of Part II Chieftaincies can only be made on the approval of His Excellency, the Governor as prescribed by the provision of Chiefs Laws, Cap 28 Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000, whilst the Olubadan is the consenting authority.
“On the receipt of the application for the elevation of the Chiefs, His Excellency, the Governor, applying Section 14(2) of the Chiefs Law, referred their names for the mandatory security checks by the Department of Security Services and mandated the candidates to, on their own, provide their certificates of medical status from a Government secondary health institution.
“The status of the due process being carried out by Government was conveyed to the Olubadan via the Ibadan South East Local Government which was duly acknowledged by the Olubadan’s Private Secretary, in addition to the Government’s Public Service Announcement of Thursday, 31/12/15 relaying same.
“To further reiterate the legal provision on the issue, Sections 21 and 26 of the Chiefs Laws stipulate relevant sanctions against whoever contravenes the provisions of the Law.
“Apparently, the actions taken on the elevation of the Chiefs as widely publicised is illegal. Moreso, when the Olubadan as the consenting authority had already commenced the due process by seeking the approval of the Governor for the appointment/elevation as prescribed by Law.
“Consequently, Government directs that the organisers and the beneficiaries to reverse the purported elevation within 48 hours of this publication, failing which appropriate sanctions will be invoked under sections 21 and 26 of the Chiefs Laws, Cap 28, Laws of Oyo State, 2000. The case of Ashekoya vs. Olawumi (1962) 1 All NLR 125 is instructive.”
Last year, at a public function, Governor Ajimobi had pointed out the need to review the pattern of ascension to the Olubadan throne to pave way for the youths who are more energetic.