From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland and former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, has broken his silence on the controversy trailing the succession to the stool of Olubadan, following the demise of Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, on Sunday January 2, this year.
He made the disclosure on Thursday when a governorship aspirant for 2023 elections on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Teslim Folarin, representing Oyo Central, led some chieftains of the party on a condolence visit to him on the death of Oba Adetunji at his Ondo Street, Bodija residence in Ibadan.
Ladoja said Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Senator Lekan Balogun, is the next in line to the throne of Olubadan, and that the controversy over who becomes the next Olubadan was needless.
Daily Sun can report authoritatively that two chieftaincy lines, Otun and Balogun, have been producing Olubadan on rotational basis without any rancour, usurpation and litigation. The last Olubadan, Oba Adetunji, was produced by the Balogun line and it now for the Otun line to produce the next Olubadan.
However, on the Otun line, the four most senior traditional rulers in order of hierarchy are the Otun Olubadan, Senator Lekan Balogun; the Osi Olubadan, Senator Rashidi Ladoja; the Ashipa Olubadan, Eddy Oyewole; and Ekerin Olubadan, Abiodun Kola-Daisi.
Ladoja, who referred to Lekan Balogun has his elder brother (egbon), stated: “There is no controversy about it. Egbon Lekan Balogun is the most senior in our line and so he is the next in line to the throne. For those asking, my ‘body and mouth language’ is that Egbon Lekan is my senior and he is next in line to the Olubadan stool.
“I do not have the powers to make anybody Olubadan. In 2017, we instituted a case to challenge the needless reform that Abiola Ajimobi as governor wanted to do. Almost all of us as High Chiefs and members of the Olubadan-in-Council agreed to the filing of a suit to challenge him and we gave the task to Michael Lana (former Commissioner for Justice, who wrote a petition to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State to withhold his approval of Lekan Balogun as the next Olubadan, because he has already been crowned as a king and he could not wear two crowns).
“Lana later called me to say some of the High Chiefs told him to remove their names from the suit, leaving only my Egbon Balogun and myself. Two weeks after we started the case, Egbon Balogun said he was no longer interested in the case. I asked Lana if I could do it alone and he told me ‘yes’ and we continued.
“We won the case at the state High Court and Ajimobi appealed. In a judgment, the Appeal Court, a few days to the exit of Ajimobi from government, sent the case back to the High Court for retrial. The judges of the Appellate Court said the case was brought under writ of summons instead of originating summons.
“By the time, there had been a new government headed by Seyi Makinde who said he did not want the distraction of the suit and called for out-of-court settlement, which we agreed to and did. After the terms of settlement were agreed to, the court gave a consent judgment based on the terms. But they (members of the Olubadan-in-Council, or the Ibadan kingmakers) said they were not happy and instituted two fresh cases, which are still in court till today.
“So, I need people to understand that I am not causing any trouble. The cases that are in court today in respect of the Obaship tussle were instituted by Egbo Balogun and his colleagues who are still calling themselves Obas. It is they that the people should talk to. Let them go and withdraw the cases they instituted. I don’t like the unwarranted tension this matter is generating.”
Ten among 11 Ibadan kingmakers had endorsed the emergence of Senator Lekan Balogun as Olubadan-Elect on Wednesday at Mapo Hall. Ladoja is the only kingmaker that did not show up at the meeting, where ratification was done. But Ladoja also explained to his visitors that he actually prepared to be at Mapo Hall on Wednesday because Senator Balogun invited him to be at a press conference that he would address. He added that he had to change his mind when information got to him that it was actually the meeting of the Olubadan-in-Council, which was different from the press conference he was invited for.
While the visitors were sti with him, Ladoja received a telephone call from Senator Lekan Balogun, who asked why he did not attend the press conference at Mapo Hall on Wednesday. But Ladoja replied by saying, he did not attend because he was invited for a press conference, while it was actually a meeting of the kingmakers.