By Ola Ajayi & Adeola badru
Ibadan—TWO-pronged legal actions instituted by the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji and former Governor Rashidi Ladoja, against Governor Abiola Ajimobi and others began yesterday in an Oyo State High Court.
While Justice Olajumoke Aiki granted an order of substituted service of court processes to be served on 21 new kings in favour of the monarch, the same court also heard the case brought by Ladoja against Governor Ajimobi and Justice Akintunde Blade, Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry challenging the review of the 1959 Olubadan Chieftaincy declaration.
As for Olubadan, the court granted an order that the court processes should be pasted on the notice board of the state High Court.
The application was granted after the lead counsel to Olubadan, Alhaji Niyi Ajewole, told the court that since the case was filed on September 18, 2017, the bailiffs had found it difficult to serve the writ of summon, the statement of claim and documents filed in court on the 21 new Obas.
The monarch had dragged the state Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; the Attorney General of the state, Mr. Seun Abimbola and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Bimbo Kolade to court over the installation of the 21 new kings in Ibadanland.
At the sitting of the court yesterday, the first to the third defendants were duly represented in court, but counsel for the 4th-11th defendants, Kehinde Eleja (SAN) said his clients had not been served the court processes. The case was adjourned to October 11, 2017 for mention.
Olubadan’s counsel speaks
While speaking with newsmen after the court had risen, the lead counsel to Olubadan, said; “Since the time we filed the suit, the bailiffs had been going to their houses, but they refused service. They were dodging service of those processes.
“So, we had no choice than to bring an application to court that if we could not serve them in court personally, the court should grant an order that we should serve them by substituted means.
“The court granted us that order that we should go and paste it at the Oyo state High court Notice Board at Ring Road and it will be a good service. So, that is a major breakthrough. If we were unable to serve them, the case would not be able to proceed.”
Oyo Attorney-General reacts
Attorney General for the state, Abimbola, said; “Only three of the parties have been served and we have 21 parties that were yet to be served.
“The case has been published all over the news. I guess a few of the defendants, who have been served were represented in court.
Court grants Ajimobi’s prayer on new counsel
In the case involving Ladoja, Ajimobi and Justice Boade, the court granted the application by the Attorney General of the state for a change of counsel for Ajimobi.
Now, the law firm of Mallam Yusuff Ali (SAN) will defend Ajimobi against Ladoja. The governor was formerly represented by the Attorney General for the state, Seun Abimbola.
Counsel to Ladoja, Michael Lana, said after the court, “The Attorney General, who has been representing the governor and Justice Boade, informed the court that they are splitting and the firm of Mallam Yusuff Ali (SAN) will now be representing the governor, while he- the Attorney General, will represent Justice Boade.
“I first objected because they ought to file and serve on me the application for a change of counsel. They filed it but it was not served on me. So, I have to wave it so that we can move on; not waving it means we are going to continue to delay. As far as I am concerned, all these are delay tactics which I didn’t want to encourage. So, I agreed that the new counsel should come in.
In the substantive case before the court, Ladoja is basically contesting the powers of the governor under the Chiefs Laws. So, we’ll let the court decide that.”
I’ll not depose Olubadan no matter what- Ajimobi
Meantime, Governor Abiola Ajimobi has restated his resolve to always respect the position of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, just as he has said that the utterances of the monarch in recent times would not call for his deposition by him.
The governor, however, accused a former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja as the mastermind of major crisis in Ibadan in connection with the recent review of the Ibadan Cheiftaincy declaration.
Ajimobi, who made this known, during a meeting he held with the newly crowned Obas of the Olubadan-in-Council, held at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan yesterday, stated that the powers of he governor is very much, pointing to the 1959 Cheiftaincy declaration, particularly in sections 26 and 27, empowered the governor to sanction any erring traditional ruler.
He disclosed that he was being cautious of the way he uses his powers as the governor when it comes to traditional institution, noting that he respects tradition.
Ajimobi hinted that he sincerely believed that, considering his relationship with the Olubadan as a son and a brother to his father, he was duty bound to respect him.
According to him, “I will never do anything to denigrate that position of Obaship or go to the extent of sanctioning him by removal or suspension, stating that the monarch honoured him with the title of Aare of Ibadanland.
The governor noted that it was unfortunate that the monarch was being misled by failed politicians, particularly Ladoja and his likes.
“The palace of Olubadan has been taken over by Ladoja and his followers and he could not achieve through ballot box, through democracy, through election he wants to achieve through the palace and he will fail like he had failed in other attempts.”
“What he is doing now is the desperation of a drowning man just looking for ways to cause unrest, but we will not allow him,” Ajimobi empahasised.
The governor then vowed to increase the membership of the traditional council, as he said that nobody could dictate to him the process to go through in doing it.
Earlier in his remarks, one of the newly crowned monarchs, Oba (Senator) Lekan Balogun described the coronation as a great epoch making event in the annals of events in Ibadanland.
Disclosing further, the beaded crown monarch said their respective positions in the Olubadan-in-Council still remained the same it was before the coronation, adding that only status changed in line with the chieftaincy declaration review.
He, however, noted that the elevation has added glamour to the ascension to the throne of Olubadan.
Other Obas that spoke at the meeting lauded the governor for what they described as a long over due elevation, which previous governments in the state were unable to implement.
Gunmen were sent to kill me – Ladoja
In another development, while responding to allegations by the All Progressives Congress that he was responsible for the shooting spree that happened at the palace of Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji, former Governor Rashidi Ladoja has said the gunmen that invaded the Olubadan palace were sent to kill him.
Ladoja, in a statement said he thanked God that they missed their target.
The former governor through his media aide, Alhaji Lanre Latinwo said; “They sent the killer squad after Senator Ladoja. But unfortunately for them, the bullet hit another vehicle that belongs to Barrister Sharafadeen Alli, a senior chief of Olubadan, thinking it was High Chief Ladoja’s vehicle.
“The government’s allegation is laughable. One wonders how a responsible person will organise that AK47 rifles and pump action guns should be shot at his or her direction. Are these rifles toys that can be played with?, he asked.’’