A former governor of Oyo state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja on Wednesday dragged the state Governor , Engr Seyi Makinde and the Olubadan of Ibadaland , Oba Lekan Balogun to court, challenging the legality of crowning Ibadan High Chiefs as beaded crown wearing obas .
He made the accusation in a suit against the Olubadan, Makinde and 11 others, claiming that Oba Balogun and the governor perpetrated illegality by their actions.
He further alleged that the Olubadan coerced the high chiefs into submission and took a unilateral decision to elevate them to beaded crown-wearing obas.
The Olubadan had, at a ceremony held in Mapo Hall, last Friday, crowned 10 members of his Olubadan-In-Council as obas and gave them the titles of His Royal Majesties.
Oba Balogun, in two separate letters, sought the approval of the state government to elevate the High Chiefs to obas.
Governor Makinde approved the request by the Olubadan, subsequent upon his “Evocation Of The Amended Declaration On Regulating The Selection To The Olubadan of Ibadan Chieftaincy And Related Matters.”
The governor, on 27 June, 2023, revoked the following as they affected the Olubadan of Ibadan Chieftaincy Matters:
The Amended Declaration on regulating the selection to the Olubadan of Ibadan Chieftaincy stool published in the Oyo State Gazette No. 15, Vol. 42 of 24th August, 2017;
The implementation of the White Paper on the review of the existing Olubadan of Ibadan Chieftaincy Declaration and other related Chieftaincies in Ibadan published in the Oyo State Gazette No. 14, Vol 42 of 23rd August, 2017;
The approval of Appointment of Beaded Crowns for the Olubadan in Council published in the Oyo State Gazette No.3, Vol. 43 of 29″ March, 2018 as Oyo State Notice No. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30;
The approval of Appointment of Beaded Crown and Coronet Wearing Obas published in the Oyo State Gazette No.3, Vol. 43 of 29″ March, 2018.
He had based his action on the “exercise of the powers granted to me by the Constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria, 1999 (as amended);
Ladoja however kicked and vehemently declared that the actions of bother the Olubadan and the governor were illegal and an attempt to bastardize the age-long tradition of Ibadanland.
The former Oyo governor stated in a statement by his counsel, M. O. Folorunsho, Esq, that the issue of coronet or oba’s wearing crown has been put on hold by an consent judgment and a Government Gazette.
“It is apposite at this juncture to emphasis, with due respect to His Imperial Majesty the elevation of high chief to the position of oba or wearing of crown of any type is not within the purview of His Imperial Majesty..
“[This is] more so when the earlier Gazette that made such elevation has been repealed by the Governor of Oyo State.”
Folorunsho further explained the alleged illegality in a letter, dated 4 July, 2023 and addressed to the Governor of Oyo State and in which the Attorney General of Oyo State and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs were copied.
“The captioned above is for your attention, the need to copy Your Excellency springs from the fact that any act that is illegal should not be assented to by your good office.
“The illegality here is that His Imperial Majesty, Olubadan of Ibadanland is lacking in power to unilaterally apply for elevation of his chiefs to be appointed as obas. This is against settled tradition of Ibadanland.
“If our client closes his eyes to this act which has the potency of distorting our traditional history, the same history will not forgive us and even remember us when we are no more,” Ladoja’s counsel stated.
Ladoja subsequently filed a suit before the state High Court (6 July, 2023) against the Olubadan and 12 others, seeking to declared the actions of the Olubadan and Governor Makinde (as the consenting authority) as illegal, null and void.
Joined as the first to 13th defendants in the suit are the Olubadan of Ibadanland; Oba Owolabi Olakulehin; Oba Tajudeen Ajibola; Oba Eddy Oyewole; Oba Gbadamosi Adebimpe; Oba Biodun Kola-Daisi;
Oba Kola Adegbola; Oba Hamidu Ajibade; Oba Olubunmi Dada Isioye; Oba Bayo Akande; and Oba Abiodun Azees Agagagugu, while the Governor of Oyo State and the state Attorney General are the 12th and 13th defendants, respectively.
Ladoja made a Statement of Claim in a Writ Of Summons in Suit No:1/472/2023, dated 6 July, 2023 and filed before Court 2 of the state High Court, Ibadan, and averred that:
“The claimant is the Otun Olubadan and former governor of Oyo State, who resides within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court. The claimant as Otun Olubadan is part of Olubadan-in-Council.
“The 1st defendant is the present Olubadan of Ibadanland, the head of [the] traditional institution in Ibadan and like 2nd-11th defendants, the 1st defendant is part of Olubadan-in-Council and he is the chairman of the Council.
“The 2nd-11th defendants are High Chiefs in Ibadanland and next to one another in the assumption of the status of Olubadan of Ibadanland.
“Traditionally, Ibadan is known to have only a King, which is Olubadan of Ibadanland (the 1st defendant) and all other[s] are the cabinet members of Olubadan of Ibadanland.
“Traditionally, it is only the Olubadan of Ibadanland that is to wear crown, while other chiefs are identified with their beads.
“It is not within the purview of the 1st defendant to elevate any of the high chiefs or any member of Olubadan-in-Council to the status of His Royal Majesty, as, traditionally, the only king known to Ibadanland is Olubadan of Ibadanland.
“When the 1st defendant started the idea of elevating the status of high chiefs or any member of Olubadan-in-Council to that of the Royal Majesty, he [Ladoja] told him that he lacks the power to so elevate anybody to that status;
“That the procedure of becoming a king in Ibadanland is to start from Mogaji and to raise up to the status of either Balogun of Ibadanland or Otun Olubadan;
“If there is vacancy to be occupied by either Balogun or Olubadan Line then upon nomination by Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland or Balogun of Ibadanland and the concurrence of other high chiefs, the name of the either Balogun or Olubadan Line selected will be sent to the Governor for approval;
“Then if assent to by the Governor, the said Balogun or Olubadan Line becomes the next Olubadan of Ibadanland.”
The former governor also averred that: “instead of the 1st defendant to follow the known tradition of Ibadanland, he unilaterally called for indication of interest of any of the high chiefs or members of Olubadan-in-Council willing to wear beaded crown to signify interest.
“At no point in time did he [Ladoja] signify interest to become His Royal Majesty or to be putting on a crown.
“To [his] dismay, he started hearing on media that he would be crowned on the 7th day of July, 2023, when he has never consented to the untraditional act masterminded by the 1st defendant.
“Since he has made it known to the 1st defendant that the act of elevating any of the Olubadan-in-Council or high chiefs to this status of His Royal Majesty is untraditional, the 1st defendant has started plotting that if the claimant refused to be crowned, he would be denied of his status as Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland and that he would not be permitted to ascend the throne of Olubadan of Ibadanland when it is his turn.”
Ladoja further averred that: “From Ekarun Olubadan of Ibadanland, after due consideration, the 1st defendant is the approving authority to become a King in Ibadan, which is Olubadan of Ibadan and no other king.
“The 12th defendant has not in any form consent to the illegal act that the 1st defendant is out to perpetuate.
“The entire Ibadanland is the domain of Olubadan of Ibadanland and the elevation that the 1st defendant intends doing is to segregate Ibadanland and cause disharmony.
“The Imperial Majesty (sic) that the 1st defendant is appointing would be a royal father without domain.
“The act of the 1st defendant to elevate the 2nd) – 11th defendants is contrary to Oyo State of Nigerian Gazette No. 03 Vol. 47, dated 11th February, 2022, a copy of same shall be founded upon at trial.
“The act of the 1st defendant trying to elevate the 2nd-12th (sic) defendants to His Royal Majesty is against the tenor of judgment in M/317/2017 between HIGH CHIEF (SENATOR) RASHIDI LADOJA VS THE GOVERNOR OF OYO STATE & ANOR, delivered on the 19th day of November, 2019. A copy of the said judgment shall be founded upon at trial.
“In order to stop this illegal act, through his counsel, he [Ladoja] wrote a letter, dated 4th July, 2023, to the 1st defendant. A copy of the said letter shall be relied upon at trial.
“It is only this Honourable Court that can protect the long-aged tradition of Ibadanland from being bastardized.”
Upon the averment, Senator Ladoja, in the suit, is seeking three declarations namely, “that traditionally, it is the only Olubadan of Ibadanland that can wear crown in Ibadanland;
“The 1st defendant is lacking in power to unilaterally elevate the 2nd-12th defendants to the status of His Royal Majesty in Ibadanland without the approval of the 12th defendant (sic); and
“That the 2nd-12th defendants who is (sic) now being elevated to status of His Royal Majesty cannot vying (sic) for the throne of Olubadan, as they are no longer chiefs of Olubadan.
Ladoja is also seeking an order of the court restraining the defendants from preventing him from ascending the throne of Olubadan when it is his turn.
The former governor and former federal lawmaker is also seeking to be awarded a cost for the litigation.