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Olubadan drags Gov Ajimobi to court over 21 new kings

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Oba Saliu Adetunji, Olubadan of Ibadan land, has dragged Governor Abiola Ajimobi and 23 others to court, for partaking in the installation of 21 kings in Ibadan.

Apart from the 21 chiefs that were elevated to the status of kingship status, others joined in the suit are the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftancy Matters, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state.

The former governor of the state, Rashidi Ladoja, Abdul Jelil Karimu and others also filed similar suits.

The Olubadan filed his suit at the High Court on September 19, 2017, numbered I/1077/2017, stating that Govornor Ajimobi violated the Chiefs Law CAP 28 that guilds the conduct of new kings installation.

The suit stated that Governor Ajimobi did not have the authority and power to confer anybody the right to wear a beaded crown and coronet.

The Olubadan is also claiming that the crowning of the kings is illegal and void since the governor did not consult with the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs. The Olubadan is seeking an order setting aside the Gazette number 14 and 15 of Volume 42 of August 23 and 24, 2017 made by the governor and which conferred the right to wear crown and coronet on the elevated high chiefs and Baales.

He said the governor’s action violated the provisions of the CAP 28 of the Chiefs Laws of the state.

The monarch, therefore, prayed the court to set aside the installation of the new kings.

One of the lawyers of the king, Abiodun Abdu-raheem, told our correspondent that his client had triggered sections of the state Chiefs Laws to challenge the defendants and that the governor did not fulfil the process as prescribed by the law before embarking on the review of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1959.

He said, “The governor exercised his power to elevate chiefs to kings acting under the provision of Section 28 (1) Cap 28 of the Chiefs Laws of Oyo State. The Olubadan is contending the fact that before you can exercise any power under the section of the Chiefs Law, you must as a matter of necessity consult with the Oyo State Council of Chiefs and Obas.

“As far as the monarch is concerned, the council has not been holding meeting by virtue of the directive of the governor in 2011. Since the council is not sitting, the governor could not have consulted with it before going on to carry out the action that led to the crowning of the kings.

“There is no provision that says that the governor can waive consultation with the council if it is not sitting. The law is clear on this matter. As it is today, the Olubadan of Ibadan land is the chairman of that council, even though the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, is contending that in court.

“In the entire provisions of the Chiefs Laws, beaded crown is mentioned and not coronet which the government claimed that was given to the Baales who were elevated to kings. The government stated that it gave beaded crowns to the high chiefs and coronet to the Baales but there are no provisions for coronet in the state Chiefs Laws.

“The issue of amending chieftaincy declaration of the Olubadan can only be done after certain requirements are fulfilled. The law says that there must be a chieftaincy committee to be set up by the governor before such thing can be done. But such committee did not exist. The law says such committee must have a recognised chief as the chairman and other chiefs as members. We want the court to determine if the committee set up by the governor had a recognised chief as its chairman and if the members were chiefs.”

Meanwhile, the Olubadan has said that Ajimobi would not contemplate on removing him on account of his opposition to the review.

He stated this while receiving Senator Olufemi Lanlehin in his palace on Wednesday. While addressing the monarch, Lanlehin, who is a lawyer, said that the review of the declaration by the governor was illegal, saying that public outcry against it had shown that Ibadan people were against it.

“What the Olubadan is going through is not for himself or members of his family. It is on behalf of the whole of Ibadan land at home and in the Diaspora.

“Olubadan is the custodian of a system that is the envy of all and sundry. Some of us have travelled all over the world and we know how very well they talk about the system in Ibadan. Not only am I a witness to this system, not only have I read about it, I am also a participant because my late father was the Osi Balogun of Ibadan land. I saw the peaceful, rancour-free and non-violent way the system has been operated for years and it has worked for us.

“So, for anybody to want to change it or thwart or make it retrogressive will not be acceptable. In any event, the law does not support the manner of change either by way of the process or the result. So, procedurally and substantially, it is wrong. The Chiefs Law is very clear. This law is about the declaration of each town. It is a Chieftaincy Committee that deciphers the customs and traditions of a particular people and codifies same and it is registered and thus become a declaration for the chieftaincy of that place,” Lanlehin said.

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