An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan Friday declared as illegal the installation of 21 new monarchs in the ancient by the state Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
The court also declared the review of the 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration and other Related Chieftaincies in Ibadanland by the Oyo State Government as unconstitutional, illegal, null, void and of no effect.
Delivering judgment in a suit filed by Osi Olubadan and former governor of the state, Chief Rashidi Ladoja, Justice Olajumoke Aiki 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, restraining the government from accepting and implementing the reports of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry.
Ajimobi had on Friday May 19, last year, set up a judicial commission of enquiry headed by Justice Akintunde Boade. The panel submitted its report in August last year.
The white paper on the report was published in the Oyo State Gazette No. 14, Vol. 42 by Authority on August 23, last year 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 White Paper empowers Ajimobi to install 21 new kings in Ibadanland on Sunday August 27, last year at the Mapo Hall, Ibadan.
Ladoja, who refused to accept the beaded crown, went to court to challenge the composition of the panel, which he said was outside the purview of the state government.
Ladoja had 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 motion on notice in respect of the subject.
He also asked the court to set aside the report of the Commission and prayed the court to nullify the proceedings of the panel and its reports.
The governor, according 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 enquiry could not amend or further amend, review or further review the chieftaincy declaration.
Counsel to Ajimobi, Nurudeen Adegboye, in an interview with journalists after the judgment said: “We have applied for the copy of the judgment. We will look at it again and await further instructions from our client, because it is our client that has the right to appeal or not. If he gives us the instruction or if he feels he wants to accept the judgment, it is left to him.”
Meanwhile, Ajimobi has declared that the State would appeal against the judgment.
The governor bared his mind during the inauguration of a block of classrooms donated to the Community Secondary School, Ajara, in Lagelu Council by a former attorney general of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi (SAN), yesterday.
Ajimobi used the opportunity to restate his earlier position that the review, which culminated in the August 27, 2017 installation of 21 new Obas, among whom were some erstwhile high chiefs and Baales, was an altruistic gesture that was for the overall good of Ibadanland.
He said: “Today’s judgment on the Olubadan Chieftaincy review will be appealed against immediately. Let me reiterate here that the review was an exercise that was well thought- out. It is for the development and progress of Ibadanland and the people therein.
“We will not relent in our determination to make Ibadan great and the greatness shall come through various ways; one of which was the Olubadan Chieftaincy Review that was conducted by a Judicial Commission of Enquiry.
“The truth is that people are normally opposed to change and radical policies that will eventually be beneficial to them, but we shall get there. We will not be deterred or allow retrogressive tendencies to override the progress Oyo State is currently making.”