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It is illegal for Lekan Balogun to become next Olubadan — Oyo ex-AG

Former attorney-general of Oyo state, Michael Lana, has said it is illegal for the current Otun Olubadan, Senator Lekan Balogun to become the next Olubadan of Ibadan land.

Olubadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, was confirmed dead and buried according to Islamic rites at his Popoyemoja palace in Ibadan on Sunday.

The hierarchical arrangement in the Ibadan system has a two-line approach, the Balogun system and the Olubadan (Otun) system.

Olubadans are appointed on a rotational basis to occupy the stool on the death of a monarch. The next to Olubadan and most senior on both lines are the Otun Olubadan and Balogun.

Oba Saliu Adetunji was crowned the 41st Olubadan of Ibadan following his coronation on March 4, 2016.

Prior to his coronation, Oba Adetunji was the Balogun of Ibadan land which indicates that the Otun Olubadan, Senator Lekan Balogun may be next in line according to the rotational system.

Giving his reason for why it would be illegal for Lekan Balogun to become the new Olubadan, the former attorney-general in a letter dated January 3, 2022 and addressed to the state governor, Seyi Makinde said the Senator is presently claiming the title of Oba and it is illegal to elevate a monarch to become another Oba.

The letter reads; “Kindly note, your excellency, that your predecessor in office, without thinking at the legal effects of his actions on the future of Ibadan traditional institution, conferred the title of Obaship on some high chiefs and Baales and gave them the right to wear beaded crowns and coronets in 2017,” he said.

“This action was challenged in suit No. M317/ 2017-high chief Rashid Ladoja V the governor of Oyo state.”

Lana said the conferment was nullified by Aiki J, a high court judge, for being in contravention of both the chiefs law and the Ibadan chieftaincy customary law.

“However, the court of appeal in Appeal No.CA/111/99/ 2018 set aside the said Judgment of Aiki J on technical grounds without touching on the merit of the case and sent the case hack for retrial,” the lawyer continued.

“Upon your excellency’s assumption of office, it was resolved that the matter be settled amicably and the same was settled through the instrumentality of a Terms of Settlement which became the judgment of the court.

“The said Terms of Settlement recognised the illegality of the said actions and therefore set aside the gazettes by which the said chiefs became Obas with a right to wear beaded crowns and coronets.

“These high chiefs and Baales were dissatisfied with this consent judgment and therefore instituted two separate suits to set aside the consent judgment while at the same time clinging to the title of Obas (which actually is in contempt of court).

“One of these cases is Suit No: Suit No.I/ 22/ 2020-HRM Oba (senator) Lekan Balogun & ors V governor of Oyo state & ors.”

Lana said despite the fact that the “aberration” changed the Ibadan chieftaincy customary law, “the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957 was not amended and therefore remains extant”.

He said: “Under that declaration and all relevant law, no Oba can ascend to the throne of Olubadan.

“In other words, as long as the high chiefs still cling to the title of Oba, they cannot ascend to that throne and any installation of any of them during the pendency of that suit is illegal, null and void.

“It is in line with this legal situation that I advice, most humbly, that you should withhold any approval of any high chief to become the 0lubadan so that you will not also join in the desecration of Ibadan chieftaincy customary law.”

The former attorney-general, however, said: “There are only two ways to deal with this situation: one is for the high chiefs to withdraw the aforementioned cases and the other is to wait for the court to pronounce on it before any step is taken to install an Olubadan.

“If the court holds that they have the right to be Obas and entitled to wear beaded crowns, then they are perpetually barred from becoming another Oba. Nowhere in the customary law of any Yoruba town is an Oba elevated to become another Oba.

“On the other hand, the court holds that the Terms of Settlement stands, and their obaship title is illegal, then they are free to be elevated to the post of Olubadan”.

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