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JUST IN: Court nullifies installation of 21 kings crowned by Ajimobi

A cross-section of the new obas with their staffs of office, with Governor Ajimobi and his wife, Florence.Justice Olajumoke Aiki of the Oyo State High Court, on Friday, declared the review of existing 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration and other Related Chieftaincies in Ibadanland by the Oyo State Government in 2017 as unconstitutional, illegal, null, void and of no effect.

The judgement was delivered in the case filed by the Osi Olubadan, High Chief Senator Rashidi Ladoja, against Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, and retired Justice Akintunde Boade, the chairman of the judicial commission of inquiry that reviewed the declaration last year.

Governor Abiola Ajimobi, had, on Friday, May 19, 2017, set up a judicial commission of inquiry to review the existing law.

The panel then submitted its report in August last year, while the white paper on the report was published in the Oyo State Gazette No. 14, Vol. 42 by Authority on August 23, 2017, and the amended declaration on regulating the selection to the Olubadan of Ibadan Chieftaincies and related matters as published in the Oyo State Gazette No. 15, Vol.  42 by Authority in Ibadan on August 24, 2017.

The process led to the installation of 21 new kings in Ibadanland by the government on Sunday, August 27, 2017, at the Mapo Hall Arcade, Ibadan.

The 21 new kings comprised of eight members of the Olubadan-in-Council elevated from ‘High Chiefs’ to beaded-crown-wearing traditional rulers, while the remaining 13 were village heads (baales) promoted to coronet-wearing obas.
Chief Ladoja as the Osi Olubadan, who rejected the beaded crown, filed two cases against the review in the High Court.

He jointly filed the first suit with his immediate senior on the Otun Olubadan chieftaincy line, Oba Lekan Balogun, who is the Otun Olubadan and most senior chief on the Otun line. Balogun later backed out of the case.
However, Ladoja alone filed the second case.

In the first case, the duo sued the state government over the constitution of the commission in May 2017. They listed the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, and members of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry inaugurated by the government on Friday, May 19, 2017, to review the system, as defendants before an Oyo State High Court.

The claimants prayed the court, in the suit number M/317/2017, to restrain the commission from sitting, accepting any memorandum or in any way taking any step in furtherance of its assignment, pending the determination of the motion on notice in respect of the subject.

Senator Ladoja in the second suit prayed the court to set aside the report of the commission and prayed the court to nullify the proceedings of the panel and its reports.

However, the court, in the judgment held that wearing of beaded crowns are beyond the purview of Sections 10,12 and 25 of the Oyo State Chiefs Law, stating 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.

The court also said provisions of Parts Two and Three of the Chiefs Laws,  particularly Sections 10, 12 and 25 did not give power to the governor to review the Olubadan chieftaincy declaration.
The governor, according to the court, exercised his power beyond the constitution and the provisions of the chiefs laws made by the House of Assembly, adding that a judicial commission of inquiry could not amend or further amend, review or further review the chieftaincy declaration.

Counsel to Ajimobi, Mr.  Nurudeen Adegboye, in an interview with journalists after the judgement said: “The judge has invested a lot of effort, 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

Source : Tribune Online

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