The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has rubbished a court order as he approved the promotion of 11 Ibadan High Chiefs to beaded crown Obas.
An Oyo State High Court in Ibadan on February 1, 2023, dismissed a suit filed by the then Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland (now Olubadan), Senator Lekan Balogun, challenging the invalidation of his right to wear a beaded crown.
Balogun and seven other high chiefs of the Olubadan-in-Council had jointly sued the state government for denying them their rights to wear beaded crowns.
The administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi had set up a Commission of Enquiry to amend the 1957 Chieftaincy Declaration of Ibadanland and elevate the High Chiefs to beaded-crown Obas. However, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, the Osi Olubadan and a member of the Olubadan-in-Council, had rejected the elevation and instituted a suit to challenge the constitution of the committee and the government’s action.
In January 19, 2018, the trial judge handling the matter, Justice Olajumoke Aiki, nullified the elevation, describing it as null and void.
The Ajimobi-led administration, however, appealed the judgment at the Court of Appeal in Ibadan and the appellate court set aside the judgment of the lower court and ordered a retrial.
On his assumption of office in 2019, Governor Seyi Makinde, instead of going ahead with the retrial of the case, entered into a consent judgment with Ladoja, which resulted in an agreement to forgo the idea of wearing beaded crowns.
The High Chiefs, dissatisfied with the consent judgment because they were not parties in the case, therefore, rejected the terms of the settlement. They subsequently approached the court to seek the nullification of the consent judgment, saying it violated their rights to wear beaded crowns as vested upon them by the law.
At the hearing of the suit, counsel to the High Chiefs, Kehinde Eleja (SAN), informed the court that they had filed an application for the discontinuance of the suit. He said the respondents had been served with the application and urged the court to grant his prayer in the interest of peace and justice of Ibadanland. He urged the court not to dismiss the suit, but to strike it out.
Counsel to the state government, Mr. Sanya Akinyele, confirmed the receipt of service and did not oppose the application for withdrawal.
In his judgment, the Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola, dismissed the suit and awarded no cost.
However, against the ruling, Seyi Makinde has approved the elevation of high chiefs to Oba.
This followed the approval of the move by the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun.
According to The PUNCH, the High Chiefs approved for promotion to Obas are Balogun of Ibadanland, Owolabi Olakulehin; Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Rasheed Ladoja; Otun Balogun, Tajudeen Ajibola; Osi Olubadan, Eddy Oyewole; Osi Balogun, Lateef Adebimpe; Ashipa Olubadan, Biodun Kola-Daisi; Ashipa Balogun, Kola Adegbola; Ekerin Olubadan, Hamidu Ajibade; Ekerin Balogun, Olubunmi Isioye; Ekarun Olubadan, Bayo Akande; and Ekarun Balogun, Abiodun Azeez.
It was gathered that the High Chiefs will be officially installed as traditional rulers on July 7, 2023.
The source said: “This elevation would have come earlier before now.
“Even before the administration of the late former governor, Abiola Ajimobi. Ajimobi had a good intention on this elevation but the approach was wrong.
“Why would you just wake up one day and do something of such nature in just three days or thereabouts. You will be shocked when you see some Obas from other places who are not even up to High Chief in Ibadanland in a public place with a large entourage.
“But sometimes, our High Chiefs are regarded as mere chiefs. So, it’s a good decision and the governor has given his consent on that.
“They will be officially crowned on Friday, July 7, 2023 as stipulated in a letter sent to the governor by His Imperial Majesty, Oba Balogun.”