The 21 Obas who were controversially elevated by former Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi may surrender their crowns based on a new court judgment that set aside the gazettes that backed their elevation.
The Obas emerged through the review of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration.
The judgment, which was an out-of-court settlement, may bring an end to a two-year-old disharmony within the Olubadan-In-Council and the Ibadan traditional obaship system.
The accord was achieved in the law suit filed by High Chief Rashidi Ladoja against Oyo State Governor and the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that reviewed the declaration in 2017. The panel was headed by retired Justice Akintunde Boade.
The Nation reports Ladoja, a former governor of Oyo State, challenged the review by former governor Abiola Ajimobi, arguing that the governor lacked the right to review the declaration independent of the Olubadan and his high chiefs.
In an out-of-court settlement court judgment, Ladoja and the defendants agreed to shelve the elevation and return to pre-elevation condition. Consequently, the gazettes which gave teeth to the elevation have been set aside and their rights to wear beaded crown and coronets revoked.
The terms of settlement include the recognition that the elevation of the said chiefs to obas caused rancour within the system. They state, among others: “Whereas the parties are aware of the disharmony created by the publication of Gazette Nos. 14 Vol. 42 of 23rd August, 2017; 15 Vol 42 of August 2017 and 3 Vol 43 of 29th March 2018 and the subsequent elevation of High Chiefs and Baales in Ibadanland as Obas.
“Whereas it is of utmost importance to maintain peace and communal relationships that had existed before the publication of the said report and Gazettes in Ibadanland.
“Whereas the new administration of Oyo State stands upon the doctrine of Rule of Law, and whereas the parties are aware that the Chiefs Law of Oyo State has not been amended by the Oyo State House of Assembly to incorporate or give legal backing to the Gazettes.
“The parties herein have met and agreed as follows:
That all Gazettes affecting the Chieftaincy Laws of Ibadanland, particularly Gazette Nos: 14 Vol 42 of 23rd August 2017; 15 Vol 42 of August 2017 and 3 Vol 43 of 29th March 2018 and the subsequent elevation of high chiefs and baales in Ibadanland as obas during the pendency of this suit be and are hereby set aside.
“That the right to wear beaded crowns and coronets granted by the government during the pendency of this 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 Ibadanland as relates to the chieftaincy laws of Ibadanland.”
It was signed by counsel to Ladoja, Mr. Michael Lana and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo.