From Lere Bamidele, Ibadan
Olubadan-elect, Senator Lakan Balogun
Amid controversy fuelled by a letter from former Oyo State Attorney-General, Mr. Michael Lana, to Governor Seyi Makinde urging him not to approve the installation of Lekan Balogun or any of the current High Chiefs and Baales as the new Olubadan because there were unsettled legal matters relating to the stool, members of the Olubadan-in-council, on Wednesday, chose the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Senator Lekan Balogun, as the next Olubadan.
With the conspicuous absence of Senator Ladoja, the Osi Olubadan, 10 members of the council affirmed their choice of Senator Balogun becoming the next Olubadan at a press conference they addressed at Mapo Hall, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Former Governor of of the state, Senator Rasidi Adewolu Ladoja has sued the government and lost at the Appeal Court over the 21 coronated Obas in Ibadan by his the late Governor Ajimobi. Ladoja describing the coronation as a “theatre”.
He described that “Obas are being appointed by the government and not the Ibadan traditional institution”.
The Otun Balogun of Ibadanland, High Chief Tajudeen Ajibola, who spoke on behalf of the kingmakers on Wednesday stated that their decision to choose Balogun was based on the 1957 Ibadan Chieftaincy declaration, adding that there was no law stating that barred anyone with beaded crown from becoming the Olubadan of Ibadan.
He said that the subsisting case in court had nothing to do with the right of the Olubadan-in-council as kingmakers to choose the next Olubadan.
Those present at the press conference were Senator Balogun; Asipa Balogun of Ibadan, High Chief Kola Adegbola; Osi Balogun of Ibadan, High Chief Lateef Adebimpe; Balogun of Ibadan, High Chief Owolabi Olakunlehin; Asipa Olubadan of Ibadan, High Chief Eddy Oyewole.
Also present were the Ekerin Olubadan, High Chief Abiodun Kola-Daisi; Ekarun Olubadan, High Chief Amidu Ajibade and the Abese Olubadan, Chief Adebayo Akande.
Senator Balogun enjoined all and sundry to discard “unfounded rumours and insinuations capable of disturbing the peace of Ibadanland.”
The announcement came hours after the kingmakers faulted an attempt to engineer controversies over the choice of new king for the sprawling city following the death of the 41st Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji on Sunday.
The kingmakers made the assertion at the end of a two-hour closed-door meeting held at the residence of Lekan Balogun, who by tradition should step in as the 42nd Olubadan of Ibadanland as the head of the hierarchy of chiefs in the ancient city.
Mr Lana had in his letter argued that former governor Abiola Ajumobi violated the Chieftaincy Law, when he, “Without thinking the legal effects of his actions on the future of Ibadan traditional institution, conferred the title of Obaship on some High Chiefs and Baales and gave them the right to wear beaded Crowns and coronets, in 2017.”
Olubadan-elect, Balogun was one of the chiefs conferred with beaded crowns then and Lana in his letter to Makinde, stated that the Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957, which has not been set aside, forbade the elevation of an Oba to the position of Olubadan.
The lawyer therefore advised that the governor should withhold his approval of any of the High Chiefs or Baales as Olubadan to avoid involvement in the desecration of Ibadan Customary Chieftaincy Law.
He also that the suits instituted by the coronet chiefs and Oba is still pending at the Court of Appeal.
But members of Olubadan-in-Council dismissed the claim of the lawyer and admitted that acknowledging their elevation to the obaship status by the late Governor Ajimobi was disputed in court.
In his response, Balogun who by his selection becomes the 42nd Olubadan of Ibadan, said the Olubadan-in-council has complied with traditional practice of Ibadan and would work with the state government to ensure things were properly done towards the emergence of the next Olubadan of Ibadanland.
Who is Senator Balogun?
Lekan Balogun is a Senator and a well-known Nigerian lawmaker. in his career, he served as Researcher at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and was also Director of Triumph Newspaper, Kano.
Balogun was formerly the Editor of the Monthly Magazine – the “Nigerian Pathfinder” and was also the Management Adviser to International Organizations such as Leyland, Exit Battery, and Nigerian Breweries. Lekan Balogun is a well-known technocrat, writer, and philanthropist.
Lekan Balogun earned a Doctorate in Economics from Columbus International University, a Masters degree from Brunel University and a Bachelor’s degree from Manchester University in the United Kingdom, where he studied Public Administration and Social Administration. Balogun was born in 1942, and he is 79 years old in 2022. He is married and has children