By Ola Ajayi – Ibadan
Like a bush fire during harmattan, the Ibadan traditional crisis appears to have defied all solutions. The more solution is sought, the more it festers. All efforts to resolve the squabble did not yield result.
When Governor Seyi Makinde assumed office and said there would be no interference in the affairs of the traditional institution, many people thought the monarch and other members of the Olubadan-in-council would sort things out.
However, the kings have accused the governor of burying his head in the sand. In fact, they have openly said the governor did not keep to his words that he would not meddle in their affairs.
With the latest unfolding events in the traditional institution, it is clear that it is not yet Uhuru.
The comments of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji that the crisis was over, has stoked the fire of the crisis.
Oba Adetunji had through his Director of Media, Mr Adeola Oloko, said that “chiefs are no longer addressed as monarchs as this has become unlawful. We have stopped indiscriminate wearing of beaded crowns and coronets.”
Countering, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin and Oba Ismaila Abioye Opeola, Oniroko of Iroko dismissed the claims of Olubadan saying that a fresh suit has been filed at an Oyo State High Court to challenge the nullification of their crowns and coronets.
Contrary to Olubadan’s statement that the crisis was over and that the high chiefs had dropped their crowns as ordered by the court, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin said what Olubadan said did not reflect the picture of the crisis.
“What Olubadan said is not true. The crisis is still on. He knows we are in court over the issue. Former Governor Rasheed Ladoja invited us to a foundation laying ceremony of a traditional council in South West Local government yesterday (Tuesday) but we boycotted it.”
“Ladoja wanted to use the invitation to score a point that there is no more crisis. There is nothing special in foundation laying. I have built three buildings for the traditional council in Ibadan North West, Onireke, Ibadan North East and another one around Iwo road area.”
Speaking on the role of Governor Makinde in the crisis, Oba Olakulehin said the governor did not stick to his promise that he would not meddle in the royal tussle.
“When he assumed office, we went to congratulate him and he said, “all of you are older than me and are my father. You should sort things out. I will not interfere at all. But, when we saw his body language, we wrote a letter to him. Up till now, he has not replied.
“When the elevation was done, the village head of Ajia where the governor comes from was also promoted to a king. So, the governor does not actually know where he should pitch his tent.
“The king of Ajia always attends our meetings. We have a meeting on Thursday, he will be there.”
Vanguard also discovered that the Alajia of Ajia is one of the claimants in a fresh suit against the Oyo State Government and others.
In his clarification to counter the claims of Olubadan, the Oba Opeola said, “none of us, the Royal Majesties (High Chiefs) or the Royal Highnesses (Baales) has dropped his crowns and coronets.”
Oniroko pointed out that he and other 41 kings including Obas on the outskirts of Ibadan had picked holes in the judgment and had gone to court for redress.
Some of their grievances against the judgment are that “none of the claimants was aware of the terms of settlement filed by the first and third defendants and which formed the basis of the consent judgment and the claimants were taken by surprise with the judgment.”
They also claimed: “The judgment was obtained by fraud for failure to disclose to the court the interests of third parties who are not parties to the suit and that the judgment did not represent the terms of settlement entered by the parties.
“Our clients were deprived of fair hearing as they were not consulted or heard before they were stripped of their rights to wear beaded crowns and coronets.
“The terms of settlement and consequent consent judgment had deprived the claimants their fundamental rights to fair hearing as their rights to wear beaded crowns were revoked without notice and being afforded the opportunity of being heard.”
Counsel to the Ibadan Obas, Kunle Sobaloju Esq, said: “Since the delivery of the consent judgment of 19 November, 2019, the first to third defendants and other department of Oyo State Government and its officials, at the instance of the first to fourth defendants, have stopped according the claimants the rights and privileges due to them as beaded crown-wearing kings and have been harassing the claimants in public and in all official functions.”
All the 42 kings including the members of Olubadan-in-Council have asked the court to grant them a stay of execution of the judgment.
They are praying the court to grant them an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, servants or privies from acting pursuant to the consent judgment delivered on November 19, 2019.
They also want the court to restrain the defendants from relying on the consent judgment to strip them of their rights to wear beaded crowns or to deprive them any right or interest due to them.
The suits which were filed on January 9, 2020, also asked the court to grant an order restraining the respondents from harassing, disturbing, preventing or stopping them from wearing all the paraphernalia of their titles as beaded crown-wearing kings.’’