Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Family heads in Ibadanland, known as Mogajis, have commended Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, for opting for out-of-court settlement in the litigation trailing the controversial installation of 21 kings in Ibadan on Sunday, August 27, 2017.
The 21 kings, comprising eight out of 11 members of the Olubadan-in-Council (advisory council) known as ‘High Chiefs’ elevated to beaded-crown wearing monarchs, and 13 village heads (Baales) promoted as coronet-wearing kings, were installed by the administration of All Progressives Congress (APC) led by former governor in the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
The Osi Olubadan and a ranking member of Olubadan-in-Council, Rashidi Ladoja, who is a former governor of the state had challenged the constitution of Justice Akintunde Boade-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry that reviewed the 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration that culminated into the installation of the 21 kings on the same day.
Justice Olajumoke Aiki of the Oyo State High Court, in the judgement she delivered on January 19, 2018, declared the judicial commission of inquiry as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void. But the government that lost the case to Ladoja appealed the case and the Court of Appeal, Ibadan, was set for judgement in the case when the new administration being led by Governor Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) approached the court of appellate jurisdiction for out-of-court settlement. The Court of Appeal in its judgement, returned the case to the Oyo State High Court for retrial before another judge.
The spokesperson of the family heads, Chief Wale Oladoja, said in a statement he issued on Sunday that: “Without mincing words, Governor Seyi Makinde has made us proud on withdrawal of the suit seeking appeal of the Olubadan chieftaincy legal battle. The family members send their warm greeting to the governor that they are happy with his move to ensure the case is withdrawn.
“With all indications, Makinde has proved that he has the interest of Ibadanland and the entire Oyo State in mind. We therefore appeal to our ‘High Chiefs’ to accept the move of withdrawing the suit for peace, progress and prosperity of our land.”
Speaking on the importance of understanding the judgement delivered by the Court of Appeal, Oladoja stated: “We know that some enemies of progress are misinterpreting the judgement. But it is noteworthy to emphasise that the judgement was to return the case to the lower court for settlement-out-of-court because the appeal court was set for judgement before the state government approached it for withdrawal of the case. We need to understand that when court set for judgement, it can only return judgment to a lower court.
“We therefore appreciate the effort of Olubadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Osi Olubadan, High Chief Rasidi Ladoja, for their role in ensuring that peace returns to the family of Olubadan-in Council and the personal conviction of Otun Olubadan, High Chief Lekan Balogun to see the course as family affairs and his advocate for peace.”