Ola Ajayi – Ibadan
Following an Oyo State High Court judgment that revoked the beaded crowns of 21 new kings promoted by the former governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the high chiefs met at Mapo Hall Thursday vowed to use both “legal and legitimate” means to retrieve their crowns.
The high chiefs who are members of Olubadan-in-Council said without equivocation that those who were behind the judgment merely wanted to destabilize Ibadan but they would not allow them.
While kicking against the court judgment which they described as shaving the head of a person in his absence, they dissociated themselves from the out of court settlement option which the court advised saying it was done without their inputs and there’s no way they could accept such.
Justice Aderonke Aderemi of the State High Court, MKO Abiola Way (former Ring Road), Ibadan had in his judgment asked the Obas to drop their crowns in view of the setting aside of all the gazettes relating to their promotion consequent upon the out of court settlement said to have been agreed upon by the parties in the suit.
In the suit filed by the Osi-Olubadan of Ibadanland and former governor of the state, Sen. Rashidi Ladoja, it was disclosed that the state government which had appealed the initial judgment of the lower court which earlier nullified the elevation of the Obas had opted out and preferred the matter to be resolved out of court.
But, at the meeting of the Obas at Mapo Hall presided over by Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Sen. Lekan Balogun, they noted that government had no business setting aside the gazettes as such action did not show commitment to governance.
“Those behind the judgment did not consult the interest of Ibadanland. We, as Obas and representatives of the people, reject the judgment and we are going to fight it all the through legal and legitimate means. They want to destabilize Ibadanland and we will not allow them”.
The Obas further disclosed that the issue at hand was beyond Ibadanland and the conspiracy against the promoted Ibadan Obas should not be allowed against the entire state, which the gazette of 2018 and the latest one captured.
They, however, clarified that their stance against the judgment would not erode the respect they have for the Olubadan of Ibadanland.
They said they had briefed their lawyer, who would give the next directive according to law.
They also said they would be waiting for the Olubadan to convey the Olubadan-in-Council meeting, saying, “we are not quarrelling with our father, Oba Adetunji, he should let our meetings go on regularly”.
Recall that when the promotion was effected, High Chief Ladoja had filed a suit against Oyo State Governor and the Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by retired Justice Akintunde Boade that reviewed the declaration in 2017, positing that the review by former governor Abiola Ajimobi was not proper as he (Ajimobi) lacked the right to review the declaration independent of the Olubadan and his High Chiefs.
The lower court then gave a verdict in support of Ladoja, but the judgment was appealed by Ajimobi, a case that was recently decided and thrown back to the lower court for retrial under a new Judge outside Justice Aiki who heard it initially.
However, rather than return to court with the previous case, a new case was entirely filed by Sen. Ladoja through which he got the out-of-court settlement court judgment in which Ladoja and the defendants (state government) agreed to shelve the elevation and return to pre-elevation condition.
Consequently, the gazettes which gave teeth to the elevation were set aside and their rights to wear beaded crown and coronets revoked.