Tuesday, August 22, 2017 9:44 pm
By Gbenro Adesina/Ibadan
Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji Aje Ogungunniso 1, has rejected the recommendation of Justice O. A. Akintunde-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration which has recommended new 32 beaded-crown wearing obas for the city.
Olubadan’s rejection coincided with the position of the former Governor of the state, Senator Rasheed Ladoja who has approached Justice M. I. Sule of the Oyo State High Court to set aside the report.
According to Olubadan in a press statement signed by his Director of Media and Public Affairs, Adeola Oloko, “The recommendation of 32 crowns for Ibadan land by the Boade Commission set up by the Oyo State Government has been described as a joke carried too far”.
The statement reads further, “The opposition of Oba Adetunji to the chieftaincy review embarked upon by the State Government still stands”.
The statement claimed that the state government has created and continuing to create an erroneous impression through all channels that Olubadan “had at one time opposed the chieftaincy review before he later changed his mind to support it”. He added: “For the avoidance of doubt, there was never a time that Olubadan supported the review embarked upon by the Oyo State Government. This was why the first class monarch did not submit any memorandum or make any representation to the panel. When last week the panel submitted its report to the State Governor, the public would vividly remember that Olubadan was not in the picture at all, because he was not invited”.
The statement stated further, “Both the young and old in Ibadan know that the Ibadan chieftaincy system is not a creation of the government. It is a creation of Ibadan people. No king, no governor, no elite, no high chief has the right to tamper with the system without recourse to our people. How many town hall meetings has the state government convened before arriving at the conclusion that Ibadan deserves 32 crowns? To show ignorance of our tradition, the panel lumped our highly respected High Chiefs with Baales who are always nominated by the family Mogajis.
“Secondly, if the traditional institution wants a review, it is not the duty of government to spearhead the review. It is the duty of the Olubadan sitting in council to sit down and look at what they want to review and register same to the state government for approval. In Ile-Ife, this is the tradition. The Osun State Government did not spearhead the review. In Lagos and Ogun States, the case is similar. Besides, there are two cases in court in respect of this same issue, which the Oyo State Government is not unaware of.
“Thirdly, you do not have to be a member of the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs to know that creation of royalties and crowns is a matter for discussion and deliberation. So, the question is how long ago has the council met? Therefore, it is an exercise in futility to embark on creation of new crowns and royalties without first of all resolving these issues. Besides, how many Emirs are in Kano City, if you are talking of size and population? How many Sultans are in Sokoto? And, how many Queens are in England? Kabiyesi will not be able to attend the meeting called by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters to discuss the issue slated for Wednesday 23rd because of a subsisting court order as Olubadan is a law abiding citizen of Nigeria”.
Shortly after Governor Ajimobi constituted the panel, Ladoja and Otun Olubadan, High Chief Lekan Balogun approached the state high court for the determination of the legality of the panel urging the court to restrain the panel from sitting or accepting memoranda from people pending the determination of the suit.
Michael Lana, a lead counsel to Ladoja, asked the state high court to nullify the proceedings of the panel and its recent report which the governor has notified the people of the state that it would be implemented in September.
Lana, a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state during the reign of the state former Governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala also equally sought the court to compel Justice Boade-led panel to appear before it to explain why the members should not be slammed for contempt.
Lana also moved an application before the court to remove from the suit, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, High Chief Lekan Balogun, who was initially joined in the filling of the suit but later withdrew.
However, the current Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Oluwaseun Abimbola, representing the state government said that the government has not been served with the processes.
On the litigation, Justice Sule had adjourned till September 5 so as to allow for proper services of necessary processes.
It would be recalled that last May 20 2017, Governor Abiola Ajimobi inaugurated a judicial commission of inquiry headed by retired Justice Akintunde Boade to review the Olubadan chieftaincy declaration and other related chieftaincies in Ibadanland.
The panel was vehemently rejected by notable Ibadan indigenes led by Olubadan, Oba Adetunji.
Against this rejection, Governor Ajimobi who vowed that nothing would stop him from reviewing the declaration with a view to creating new Oba in the ancient city while Olubadan remains a paramount ruler did everything to convince the aggrieved party but failed substantially.
While he succeeded in getting Otun Olubadan, High Chief Lekan Balogun and other high chiefs to his side, Oba Adetunji said that such a development would not happen during his reign.
Reacting when the panel was freshly inaugurated, the monarch said, “I don’t support the review of the Olubadan declaration at all. It has been in operation for several years. It has been working positively. So many kings before me had been installed based on the declaration. Why is it that it will be reviewed during my own reign? I don’t want history to be twisted during my time. It can be operated another time not during my reign. In addition, it was all indigenes of Ibadan that made me king over them. They did not approve any other beaded crown king. It is only Ibadan people who can say this. So, the bottom line is that I don’t want the review”.