LAGELU descendants; the Aboke family of Beere in Ibadan, yesterday instituted a suit against the Oyo State Government, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the state over their exclusion from the Ibadan Traditional Chieftaincy line, the Olubadan Chieftaincy stool.
Joined in the filed suit no I/348/2011 are the current Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji and the Olubadan- In Council.
The five defendants contained in the suit are Oyo State Government (first) Commissioner for Justice (2nd), Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Olubadan of Ibadanland (forth) and Olubadan-In-Council (fifth).
Presenting his case before Honourable Justice Esan of Court 3, state High Court 3, Ring Road, Ibadan, counsel to the applicants , Barrister Jeleel Rufai argued strongly that the Aboke family who are the descendants of Lagelu, the founder of Ibadanland should be recognized as a distinct line along with the existing Otun and Balogun lines where Olubadan is appointed.
The litigant, Rufai urged the court to set aside the 1958 Ibadan Chieftaincy declaration which recognizes only the two lines. He stated that after scaling through, there is a need to amend the declaration to be in tandem with the current happenings.
He said , “I am the counsel to the claimants in this case, Lagelu/Aboke descendants family, they sued Oyo State Government, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs along with the current Olubadan of Ibadanland and the Olubadan-In-Council claiming that the way the appointment of Olubadan is being made is contrary to the age-long customary practise.
“They are contending that their family ought to be the main family to be producing the Olubadan or their family ought to be included among the lines which any Olubadan will be appointed or selected.
“In essence, they are challenging the 1958 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration which recognizes only the Otun and Balogun lines as the two lines where Olubadan can be appointed.
Rufai stressed that there is a need for the amendment of the declaration to allow his clients be included as a major line where an Olubadan can be appointed.
“That is the altalnative, they are even saying that they ought to be the sole line, they are ready to concede because of the age-long number of time they have been excluded, okey make us part of it so that as we are having Otun line and the Balogun line, let there be Lagelu line too. We will now have 3 lines.
“Because the system of appointing Olubadan is different, the only decent in the whole of Yorubaland, it is the only novel and unique method of appointment of traditional rulers. Others, if you look at other towns or cities, they have separate families and they have been making glory from it ascribing that to themselves that Ibadan is the different, but if it is going to be different, it should not be to the detriment of the family of the founder, we all know that Lagelu is the founder of Ibadanland, there is no doubt about it.
“If Lagelu is the founder of Ibadan, why are you now putting aside, why are you now dishonouring, why are you disregarding the descendants of Lagelu, don’t you think the history is to their side, even though they want to add some other people to them, they must always be there, that is our complain.
In addition, Barrister Rufai disclosed that the Lagelu/Aboke family are not happy and comfortable with the current system of ascension to the Olubadan stool that compelled families to produce a Mogaji (Head of the family) who rises from there to become Olubadan after passing through 22 or 23 stages from either Otun or Balogun lines.
“They are not comfortable with it, they are not asking to be recognized as Mogaji, what they are saying is that they want to be included and recognized as a distinct line that will also produce Olubadan.
He speaks further, “mind you, their family have a role they play, they are in the custody of the Oke-Ibadan and even the original crown Lagelu brought from Ile-Ife is in their custody. So if we want to go by history, Lagelu/Aboke family ought to be given their due regard.
“So if we win this case, if we scale through, one of the likely consequence of it is that, that 1958 declaration may be amended by the executive. We are only asking for setting aside of that declaration, it is the duty of the executive to now put in place a panel of inquiry to come up with an amended Chieftaincy declaration which only recognizes Otun and Balogun lines.
It was learnt that none of the defendants have appeared nor sent a delegation since the case was filed in 2011, a development which has made the case to be adjourned for about four times.
In her reactions, the counsel to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants, Mrs. Tayo Aderounmu, from the state ministry of Justice asked the court to give her more time to prepare for the case.
Aderounmu then assured the court that all facts at her disposal would be ready before the adjourned date.
The presiding judge, Justice Esan, then adjourned the case till April 6.
According to history, the Aboke family who are the custodians of Oke-Ibadan, a popular festival in Ibadanland and other traditional rites in the ancient city are the genuine descendants of Lagelu, a prince and a warrior from Ile-Ife in the present Osun State who founded Eba-Odan now known as Ibadan some decades ago.
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