…as court revokes right to wear beaded crown and coronet After several years of legal tussle, the embattled 21 kings installed by the immediate past governor of Oyo State, Mr Abiola Ajimobi, have been sacked by the court. Consequently, the monarchs are to revert to their high chief status of different grades.
With the judgment, the crisis rocking the Olubadan-in-Council and traditional institution in the ancient cosmopolitan city has come to an end. Parties in the litigation had opted for an out-of-court settlement.
The agreement which formed the judgment delivered by Justice Aderonke Aderemi of an Oyo State High Court on Tuesday is that the kings will all become chiefs of different cadres.
In May 2017, the state administration initiated the process of reviewing the 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration and installed the 21 (then as chiefs) as beaded-crown and coronet-wearing monarchs in the 11 local government areas of Ibadan.
They comprised eight among 11 members of Olubadan-in-Council and 13 village heads (Baales) and they were all installed in one day as kings at Mapo Hall on Sunday August 27, 2017.
High Chief Rashidi Ladoja and former governor of the state, who is a member of Olubadan-in-Council, had rejected his own crown, while two others died before the installation. Ladoja had taken the All Progressives Congress (APC) government and the kings to court.
In January 2018, Justice Olajumoke Aiki had delivered a judgment in the case, declaring that the review of Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration was “illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect.’’
But Ajimobi appealed the judgment of the High Court. At the inception of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) administration of Governor Seyi Makinde, the State Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, had approached the Court of Appeal that it wanted to withdraw the appeal and settle out of court. But the court said it was ready to give judgment in the matter and that the case could not be withdrawn. It directed that the case be retried at the High Court and should be assigned to another judge.
Justice Aderemi, in his judgment, said: “All the gazettes affecting the chieftaincy laws of Ibadanland, particularly Gazette Nos14 vol.42 of 23rd August, 2017;15 Vol, 42 of 24 August 2017 and 3 Vol, 43 of 29th March, 2018 and the subsequent elevation of High Chiefs and Baale in Ibadanland as Obas during the pendency of this suit be and are hereby set aside. “That the rights to wear beaded crown and coronet granted by the state government during the pendency of the suit are hereby revoked. “That the first defendant (Oyo State governor) shall take steps to reconcile all parties involved in the chieftaincy matters to foster unity and harmony in the protection of the tradition of Ibadan land as relates to the chieftaincy laws of Ibadan land.”
Meanwhile, the family heads (Mogajis) in Ibadanland have reacted to the judgment, describing it as victory for Ibadanland and urged the sacked monarchs to join hands with the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, for the development of the city.