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Ibadan Oba: Court declares Ajimobi’s action ‘null and void’

We‘ll appeal against judgement — Ajimobi

AN Oyo State High Court has declared the review of the 1959 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration and other Related Chieftaincies Laws in Ibadanland which was done last year by the Oyo State Government as illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

A cross-section of Ibadan High Chiefs promoted to Obas at their coronation and presentation of staff of office by Gov. Abiola Ajimobi in Ibadan on Sunday (27/8/17).
File Photo

But the Governor of the State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi declared that the state will appeal against the judgement.

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.

The court which was presided over by Justice Olajumoke Aiki delivered the judgment yesterday in a case filed by a former governor of the state who is also the Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, Senator Rashidi Ladoja.

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 court ruled that provisions of Parts Two and Three of the Chiefs Laws,  particularly Sections 10, 12 and 25 did not empower the governor to review the Olubadan chieftaincy declaration.

The court said without any ambiguity that the governor had exercised his power beyond the constitution and the provisions of the chiefs laws made by the House of Assembly.

According to the court,  a judicial commission of enquiry cannot amend or further amend, review or further review the chieftaincy declaration.

Ladoja instituted the suit against Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state and Justice Akintunde Boade, the chairman of the judicial commission of enquiry that reviewed the declaration.

After the setting up the committee on May 19,  2017 by Governor Ajimobi, it submitted its report  and a White Paper on the report was published in the Oyo State Gazette No. 14, Vol. 42 by Authority on August 23, 2017.

After the report had been submitted, Governor Ajimobi then installed 21 new kings in Ibadanland by the government on August 27, 2017 at the Mapo Hall Arcade, Ibadan.

Since then, it had been a ding-dong affair between the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji and the Oyo State Government on one hand, and Senator Ladoja and Governor Ajimobi on the other hand.

Ladoja, and the Otun Olubadan, Oba Lekan Balogun challenged the action in court. But, Oba Balogun withdrew from the case after he said the governor had cleared the grey areas.

Ladoja asked the court to set aside the report of the commission and prayed the court to nullify the proceedings of the panel and its reports.

At the court yesterday, it was held that wearing of beaded crowns are beyond the purview of Sections 10,12 and 25 of the Oyo State Chiefs Law, and that Section 25 of the chiefs law could not be treated in isolation to the provisions of Parts Two and Three of the Chiefs Laws.

Speaking after the judgment, Counsel to Ajimobi, Mr.  Nurudeen Adegboye, said, “The judge has invested a lot of efforts, energy and precious judicial 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 biding.

“So, we have applied for the copy of the judgment. We will look at it again and 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.”

As for the claimant’s counsel, Mr. Babatunde Akinola, he said “the judgment was okay.”

The judgment was delivered just after two weeks a peace move initiated by Ibadan elders was put in place.

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