•  Oyo government heads to Appeal Court    
  • Verdict victory for Ibadanland, says Ladoja

By Ademola Babalola in Ibadan

The Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, yesterday heaved a sigh of relieve for the first time in 5 months as an Oyo State High Court presided over by Justice Olajumoke Aiki, declared the review of the 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration and other Related Chieftaincies in Ibadan land carried out by the state government in August last year as “unconstitutional, illegal, null, void and of no effect.”

Subsequently, all the new 21 Kings who derived their promotion and installation from the panel’s report would now be ceased to be kings except the judgment is upturned by another court in future.

In a swiftly reaction, Governor Abiola Ajimobi declared that the state would appeal against the judgment. 

The Osi Olubadan of Ibadan land, who was a former governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja, has  praised Justice Olajumoke Aiki’s verdict declaring the installation of 21 kings in Ibadan land by Governor Abiola Ajimobi of the state, describing it as a victory for Ibadan land.

The judge had on Friday nullified the elevation of high chiefs and some baales in Ibadan by the state Governor Ajimobi to the status of kings. Ladoja had gone to court challenging the constitution of the Justice A tkintunde Boade chieftaincy review commission, seeking also from the court to set aside the recommendations of the commission.

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 decsiion was the need to preserve the globally cherished custom and tradition of Olubadan succession system, which he described as smooth and rancor-free  system.

The statement said that the 21 Obas should desist from wearing their beaded coronets or crowns in obedience to the judgment, saying that there were provisions that forbade anyone wearing a crown or coronet without being a king. HE also said that the 21 kings should stop parading themselves as monarchs.

The statement said, “The judgment has vindicated us as purists who abhor any contamination of a rancor-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. The Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration was made in 1957 and registered with the then Western Region government. It was made by a chieftaincy committee headed by the then Olubadan, Oba I.B Akinyele.

The only High Chief who turned down the crown, Senator Rashidi Ladoja were vindicated as the court granted the prayer of Ladoja over the constitution of Judicial Panel headed by a retired judge, Justice Akintunde Boade

Like Ladoja, Olubadan had equally instituted another court case against the review.

It will be recalled that following what the State Government described as the growing concern by Ibadan elites on why a cosmopolitan city as Ibadan would be under sole kingship and need for changes in tradition and agelong cultural belief in traditional system, set up the commission on May 19, 2017 to review the declaration of Ibadan Chieftaincy law.

Shortly afterwards, the report was submitted to Governor Abiola Ajimobi in August 2017. It recommended creation of more monarchs in Ibadan land, leading to the installation of 21 kings by the governor on August 27, 2017 at Mapo Hall, Ibadan.

Save for Ladoja, other High Chiefs in Olubadan-in-council agreed to be elevated as Crown wearing Obas. 

Meanwhile, the State Government has kicked against the court’s nullification of the exercise.

The governor bared his mind during the inauguration of a block of classrooms donated to the 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, yesterday.

Ajimobi used the opportunity to restate his earlier position that the review, which culminated in the August 27, 2017 installation of 21 new obas, among whom were some erstwhile high chiefs and baales, was an altruistic gesture that was for the overall good of Ibadanland.

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.”

The governor commended Olujinmi for giving back to his place of birth and called on others of means to emulate the gesture, which, he said, would go a long way to complement the efforts of the government in developing the education sector.

He also advised parents to play their parts in giving qualitative education to their children in order to safeguard their future.

According to him, the event was another testament to the success of the School Governing Board (SGB) policy of his administration, adding that many schools had been transformed following the intervention of the SGB members.

He said: “Today, we are celebrating another milestone in the success of the SGB policy with the commissioning of this project. Our foremost lawyer and son of the soil, Chief Akinlolu Olujimi, has bought into our policy direction aimed at restructuring our education system.

“I enjoin you all to let us continue to work hand-in-hand to further change the face of education in our state. I’m elated that we have been getting positive results from our various policies on education. I, therefore, call on other people of means to lend a hand.”

In his address, the donor said that he was happy to have contributed to the growth of education, especially in his own community, stating that he had decided to build another block of four classrooms in the same school.

He advised the students to concentrate on their studies so as to become great in the future and for them to also be in a good position to pay back to their communities.

Olujinmi said: “The SGB policy of the Governor Ajimobi administration is laudable. It has paved the way for somebody like me to contribute to the development of education in my locality and by extension in Oyo State.

“It is left for you students to reciprocate this gesture by forging ahead to attain excellence in your academic pursuits. The government has done its bit. It is your responsibility as beneficiaries of this progressive policy to aim for greatness”.