Olubadan: Coast Clear For Balogun, Court Dismisses High Chiefs’ Suit

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An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan has dismissed a suit filed by the Otun Olubadan, Senator Lekan Balogun, and seven other Ibadan High Chiefs, contesting the consent judgment which nullified their upgrade to obaship positions.

The suit was dismissed by Justice Munta Abimbola, who is the state Chief Judge, following an application for withdrawal of the case moved by the counsel for the chiefs, Kehinde Eleja (SAN), before the court on Tuesday.

The application was not opposed by counsel for other parties in the case.

The judge, following the dismissal of the case, said there were no longer any legal encumbrances preventing the selection of the new Olubadan of Ibadan.

Justice Abimbola declared that the  Olubadan Chieftaincy  Declaration of 1957 remain unchanged with the dismissal of the suit and parties are free to go ahead with the selection of the new monarch.

The judge said, “The Appellate Court held that the judgment of the lower court delivered on January 19, 2018 is set aside, and the case is submitted back to the Chief Judge of Oyo state for retrial before another judge. Parties are to file pleadings; the case was referred to another judge but instead of filing pleadings, consent judgement was entered into and this case arose from that.

“However, the claimants brought this application to discontinue the suit and predicated it on the interest of peace and there was no objection to their application. In my own view, since the Court of Appeal has set aside the judgment appealed against and in this case, there was a specific order of re-hearing; the judgment of the Court of Appeal stands and remains in perpetuity until reversed by a superior court.

Now, the suit had been applied to be withdrawn, I will not hesitate to grant the withdrawal application and leave is hereby granted for the case to be withdrawn.

“But since judgment of the trial court had been set aside, the status quo before the commencement of all proceedings stands. Therefore, it means there was no change in the provisions of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957, since there is a ruling that composition of the Commission of Inquiry was not determined appropriately and therefore it is vide and irregular.

“The case is hereby dismissed but there is no order to cost.”

The Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, died on January 2 at the age of 93, thereby creating a vacuum on the throne.

However, the administration of late Abiola Ajimobi had promoted the High Chiefs among who the Olubadan would have been picked. The Osi Olubadan, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, who is a former governor of the state opposed the elevation and the case was taken to court.

Following the death of Oba Adetunji, the elevation of the High Chiefs and the suit already filed in court became the impediment stopping the selection of the new monarch.

Some lawyers argued that it would be an  aberration to crown the Otun Olubadan, as the new Olubadan, having been crowned once but some others said the elevated chiefs still retained their original roles despite their elevation and that should not stop the next in line from being crowned as the new Olubadan.

Governor Seyi Makinde invited the Olubadan-in-Council to a meeting and asked them to withdraw the suit in court to pave the way for the selection of the new Olubadan.

With the dismissal of the suit by the court, the coast is now clear for the selection of the Otun Olubadan to succeed Oba Adetunji.

THE PUNCH……

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