The kingmakers in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, known as the Olubadan-in-Council, have insisted that the next paramount ruler of the ancient city will be a former senator, Lekan Balogun.
They faulted an attempt to cause controversies over the choice of new king for the sprawling city following the death of the 41st Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji on Sunday.
According to the kingmakers, the tradition would be followed in the selection of the 42nd Olubadan who will be publicised at the end of the traditional mourning period for Oba Adetunji.
The Ibadan high chiefs made this known at the end of a two-hour closed-door meeting held at the residence of Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, High Chief Lekan Balogun who according to tradition should ascend the throne as the 42nd Olubadan of Ibadanland as the head of the hierarchy of chiefs in the ancient city.
But Mr. Micheal Lana, a former Attorney General of Oyo State had in a letter on Monday appealed to Governor Seyi Makinde not to endorse the installation of Lekan Balogun or any of the current High Chiefs and Baales as the new Olubadan because there were unsettled legal matters relating to the stool.
The lawyer had in his letter argued that former governor Abiola Ajimobi violated the Chieftaincy Law, when he, “Without thinking 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.”
Balogun was one of the chiefs conferred with beaded crowns then and Lana in his letter to Makinde, pointed out that the Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957, which has not been set aside, forbade the elevation of an Oba to the position of Olubadan.
The lawyer therefore advised that the governor should withhold his approval of any of the High Chiefs or Baales as Olubadan to avoid involvement in the desecration of Ibadan Customary Chieftaincy Law.
He also said that the suits instituted by the coronet chiefs and Oba was still pending at the Court of Appeal.
But members of Olubadan-in-Council dismissed the claim of the lawyer while acknowledging that their elevation to the Royal Majesties status by the late Governor became contentious and litigious.
They however argued that the elevation granted the members, who also serve as kingmakers, had not in any way altered the age-long and enviable traditional succession plan to the Olubadan throne in Ibadanland.
They stated this in a statement released at the end of a two-hour closed-door meeting held at the residence of Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, High Chief Lekan Balogun.
The statement read, “Following the demise of the 41st Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1, on Sunday, members of the Olubadan-in-Council on Monday condoled with the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Oluseyi Makinde, the people of Ibadan land and family members of the late monarch.
“Rising from a two-hour closed-door meeting held at the Alarere residence of Otun Olubadan and the would-be successor to the throne, Sen. Dr. Lekan Balogun, the Olubadan-in-Council described the deceased leader of the Council as an indefatigable ruler, whose reign would be difficult to forget.
“While praying for the repose of the soul of the departed king, the council urged the bereaved family of the deceased to remain joyous and happy for the legacies of good reign left behind by their patriarch.
“The council reiterated that the historical and traditional succession plan to the throne of Olubadan remains sacrosanct, the elevation conferred on all the members of the Olubadan-in-Council as Royal Majesties notwithstanding.
“Members of the council were elevated to the Royal Majesties status by the previous administration in the state led by the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi and it became contentious and litigious.
“Olubadan-in-Council said the elevation granted the members, who also serve as kingmakers, had not in any way altered the age-long and enviable traditional succession plan to the Olubadan throne in Ibadan land.
“There should be no controversy as to who becomes the next Olubadan amongst us as the previous elevation that made us Royal Majesties did not in any way affect our respective offices in the Olubadan-in-Council and would not preclude any of us to mount the Olubadan throne whenever it is the person’s turn.
“We are the kingmakers and we will do the needful at the appropriate time. For now, we are still all in the mourning mood of our departed father and revered leader in the Council and we just want to assure the generality of our people both home and in the diaspora that there’s no cause for alarm.”
SaharaReporters, New York