The Otun Olubadan of Ibadan land, High Chief Lekan Balogun, has described the invalidation of 21 Ibadan kings’ installations as disappointing, stressing that there is nothing to contest in the 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration review because nothing has changed.
In a verdict delivered by Justice Olajumoke Aiki of an Ibadan High Court on Friday, the court ruled that Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who ordered the review and installation of the 21 kings on August 27, 2017, acted beyond his constitutional powers.
Balogun, who was among the Ibadan high chiefs and baales that had their status elevated to kings, told our correspondent that Ajimobi, who initiated the move, was only demonstrating his eagerness to promote Ibadan city and elevate its chieftaincy system without changing the structure.
Balogun stated, “The verdict is for the governor but we are subject of the matter. Naturally, I am disappointed at the ruling because initially, there was nothing to contest. The reform (that was done by Justice Akintunde Boade commission) did not touch anything in the old system.”
“The structure remains the way it has been since 1957. It is the duty of the government to govern, so, I don’t know what they were contesting. The judgment by Justice Aiki is not a credit to the court. Nobody is challenging the 1957 declaration or changing its structure, only the nomenclature changed from high chief and baale to king status.”
Balogun also challenged the rationale behind Justice Aiki’s decision, saying he could not understand why a judge would stop an attempt to modify a system to make it conform to modern era.
“If we have Ibadan State, are we going to have only one king in the state? I don’t know what the judge has against Ibadan interest. I don’t know where she is from.
“The governor is from Ibadan and all he is doing is to promote Ibadan interest. We have 53 kings in Lagos, so what is wrong in having more than one king in Ibadan? Is it a crime to promote Ibadan interest? I remain a high chief of Ibadan land so the structure has not changed. They are only politicising the issue,” he noted.
Asked if he and other kings whose installations were nullified by the court would appeal the verdict, the highest ranking Ibadan high chief said he was pleased that the governor had already appealed immediately after the verdict was read.
“Like I said, we are subject of the matter. The governor gave the directive that his legal team should appeal the judgment; so, I am satisfied with that,” he said.