One Lateef Popoola has told the Oyo State High Court in Ibadan that the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Lekan Balogun, is plotting to deny a former governor of Oyo State, Chief Rashidi Ladoja, his (Ladoja’s) status as Otun Olubadan.
In an affidavit he deposed to before the court, Popoola, who lives in Bodija, Ibadan, claimed that the alleged plot by the Olubadan to strip Ladoja of his title started after Ladoja rejected Governor Seyi Makinde’s offer to elevate Ibadan High Chiefs to crown-wearing Obas.
It was reported that Ladoja, an Ibadan High Chief, was supposed to be elevated to the status of a crown-wearing Oba, alongside 10 other Ibadan High Chiefs by the governor on July 7, but Ladoja shunned the coronation ceremony.
The ex-governor had earlier stated publicly that he was not interested in the elevation of Ibadan High Chiefs by Makinde, saying his ambition had always been to become the Olubadan of Ibadan.
Following the elevation of the High Chiefs, Ladoja headed for court, seeking a declaration that the elevation of Ibadan High Chiefs to Oba was an illegality and an attempt to balkanise the Olubadan in Council.
In the suit filed before the Oyo State High Court in Ibadan, Ladoja joined the Olubadan as the first defendant. The 10 newly-elevated High Chiefs were joined as 2nd to 11th defendants. Oyo State Governor, Makinde, was listed as the 12th defendant, while the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice was listed as the 13th defendant.
Popoola is one of the witnesses to testify in support of Ladoja’s suit.
In his affidavit filed before the court, Popoola stated, “Traditionally, Ibadan is known to have only a king, which is the Olubadan of Ibadan land (the first defendant), and all the other chiefs are cabinet members of the Olubadan of Ibadan land. It is only the Olubadan of Ibadan land that is to wear a crown, while the chiefs are identified with their beads.
“It is not within the purview of the first defendant (Olubadan) to elevate any of the High Chiefs or member of the Olubadan in Council to the status of His Royal Majesty, as traditionally, the only king known to Ibadan land is the Olubadan of Ibadan land.
“At no point in time did the claimant (Ladoja) signify interest to become His Royal Majesty or to put on a crown.
“To the dismay of the claimant, he started hearing in the media that he would be crowned on the 7th day of July, 2023, when he had never consented to the non-traditional act masterminded by the first defendant (Olubadan).
“Since he had made it known to the first defendant that the act of elevating any of the Olubadan in Council members or High Chiefs to the status of His Royal Majesty is non-traditional, the first defendant had started plotting that if the claimant refused to be crowned, he would be denied of his status as Otun Olubadan of Ibadan land and that he would not be permitted to ascend the throne of Olubadan of Ibadan land when it is his turn.”
The witness maintained that the elevation of Ibadan High Chiefs to the status of Oba was aimed at causing segregation and disharmony in Ibadan land.
Hearing in the lawsuit has yet to begin.
But the Olubadan Advisory Council has described Ladoja’s accusation as unfounded and erroneous.
According to a statement made available to journalists in Ibadan last week by the Personal Assistant (Media) to Olubadan, Oladele Ogunsola, the Olubadan Advisory Council met on Thursday and deliberated on Ladoja’s matter.
At the emergency meeting of the Olubadan Advisory Council presided over by the Olubadan and eight of the newly-crowned Ibadan Obas, they chided Ladoja over his claims, saying nobody becomes Olubadan without the nomination by the Ibadan kingmakers consisting of members of the Advisory Council from Ekerin upward.
“Assuming God decrees him to become Olubadan, as he hopes and desires, where will the present Olubadan, being alleged to be plotting against, him be? Rather than looking for a scapegoat, he should check himself as there’s no way just one person can stand against 10 others. We shall meet in court as he has already initiated,” the council said.
The new Obas expressed gratitude to the Olubadan for the feat described as historical just as they congratulated him for bringing another first to the Olubadan throne.