An Oyo State High Court presided over by Justice Olajumoke Aiki, on Friday, declared the review of the 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration and other Related Chieftaincies in Ibadanland, which was done by the Justice Akintunde Boade-led Commission, as unconstitutional, illegal, null, void and of no effect.
The Oyo State government had set up the commission on May 19, 2017, to review the declaration, after which a report was submitted to Governor Abiola Ajimobi in August 2017. The report recommended the creation of more monarchs in Ibadanland, leading to the installation of 21 kings by the governor on August 27, 2017, at the Mapo Hall, Ibadan.
The elevated members of the Olubadan-in-Council, who were present to receive their instruments of office at the venue were the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Senator Lekan Balogun; the Ashipa Olubadan of Ibadanland, Eddy Oyewole; the Balogun of Ibadanland, Owolabi Olakuleyin; the Osi Balogun of Ibadanland, Tajudeen Ajibola; the Asipa Balogun of Ibadanland, Latifu Adebimpe; the Ekarun Balogun of Ibadanland, Dr. Kolawole Adegbola; the Ekerin Olubadan of Ibadanland, Abiodun Kola-Daisi; and the Ekarun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Amidu Ajibade.
The elevated baales are the Onijaye of Ijaye, Oba Lasisi Akano; the Oniroko of Iroko, Oba Ismaila Opeola; the Onikereku of Ikereku, Oba Moses Akinyosoye; the Ololodo of Olodo, Oba Mudasiru Adebayo, and the Elegbeda of Egbeda, Oba Victor Okunola.
Others are the Onido of Ido, Oba Gbolagade Babalola; Alakufo of Akufo, Oba Olabamiji Thomas; the Oloke of Okelade-Okin, Oba Wahab Okedina; the Alawotan of Awotan, Oba Dauda Omotoso; Olofa of Offa, Oba Adeboye Salako; the Onilagun of Lagun , Oba Rafiu Alawusa; the Alaba of Aba-Nla, Oba Tiamiyu Ladipo; and the Alakanran of Akanran, Oba James Obisesan.
But before the installation, the Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, Rashidi Ladoja, challenged the constitution of the panel and the expected recommendations in court, joining Ajimobi as a co-defendant.
While delivering her judgment, Justice Aiki held that wearing of beaded crowns was beyond the powers of Sections 10, 12 and 25 of the Oyo State Chiefs Law. According to her, Section 25 of the Chiefs Law could not be treated in isolation to the provisions of parts two and three of the Chiefs Laws.
Aiki added that the provisions of parts two and three of the Chiefs Laws, especially sections 10, 12 and 25, did not give power to the governor to review the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration.
The court said Governor Ajimobi acted beyond his constitutional powers. She stated that a judicial commission of enquiry could not amend or further amend, review or further review the chieftaincy declaration.
Meanwhile, Ladoja has praised the verdict, describing it as a victory for Ibadanland.
In a statement signed by his media aide, Lanre Latinwo, Ladoja said it was not a personal victory for him because what triggered the suit he filed in court to challenge the government decision was the need to preserve the globally cherished custom and tradition of Olubadan succession system, which he described as smooth and rancor-free.
The statement said, “The judgment has vindicated us as purists who abhor any contamination of a rancour-free succession process that has become the envy of many cities all over the world. I do not in any way see it as a personal victory.”
Counsel for Ajimobi, Nurudeen Adegboye, said the team would apply for a copy of the judgment and study it. According to him, only the client could decide on the next step.
Adeboye said, “The judge has invested a lot of efforts, energy and precious time on the judgment. Though we hold a different view from the view of the judge or the court, the court’s view is the one that is binding.
“So, we have applied for the copy of the judgment. We will look at it again and (act) based on the instruction of our client because it is our client that has the right to appeal or not. If he gives us the instruction or if he feels he wants to accept the judgment, it is left to him.”
However, Ajimobi has declared that the state will appeal against the judgment.
The governor said this during the inauguration of a block of classrooms donated to Community Secondary School, Ajara, in Lagelu Local Government Area of the state by a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi, SAN, in Ajara, on Friday.
Ajimobi said, “Today’s judgment on the Olubadan chieftaincy review will be appealed against immediately. Let me reiterate here that the review was an exercise that was well thought out. It is for the development and progress of Ibadanland and the people therein.
“We will not relent in our determination to make Ibadan great and the greatness shall come through various ways; one of which was the Olubadan chieftaincy review that was conducted by a judicial commission of inquiry.
“The truth is that people are normally opposed to change and radical policies that will eventually be beneficial to them, but we shall get there. We will not be deterred or allow retrogressive tendencies to override the progress Oyo State is currently making.”