By Ola Ajayi
Ibadan—AS the case filed by the Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji and former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, against Governor Abiola Ajimobi and others over review of Olubadan chieftaincy declaration continues, the governor has said the monarch did not have the locus standi to challenge his action.
The governor and others who spoke through their counsel also said the review of the declaration and installation of new kings did not have any negative consequence on the monarch.
The case which came up in an Oyo State High Court before Justice Olajumoke Aiki, yesterday, attracted many people who thronged the court for the hearing.
Security men had a hectic time at the entrance to the courtroom checking all the people who anted to go inside inside.
Except for vehicles belonging to judges, lawyers, court staff and newsmen, other vehicles had to park outside the court premises.
The monarch had instituted action against the governor, the Attorney General of the state, Mr. Seun Abimbola, and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Bimbo Kolade and the 21 new kings saying the review was tantamount to desecration of the orderly arrangement of the traditional institution which had been hitch-free for decades.
At yesterday’s sitting, Oba Adetunji’s counsel, Alhaji Niyi Ajewole, said though the case was slated for mention, he received a notice of preliminary objection from counsel to the 13 village heads recently elevated to coronet wearing kings.
Speaking after the court session, counsel to the 12th to the 24th defendants, Kunle Sobaloju said; “When we talk of the issues of locus standi, we are talking about vested right and how has that right been affected by the decision being challenged. The Olubadan remains the consenting authority for all recognised chiefs within Ibadanland; that power of consenting authority has not been removed by that decision, the Olubadan remains the paramount ruler of Ibadanland, that power has not been removed by the government.
“It is also clear that the Olubadan is the prescribed authority for all minor chiefs within Ibadanland, that power too has not been abrogated by the governor. So, what prejudice, what injury, what damage has he suffered?
“When you raise this issue of locus standi, it touches the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the claim. He has brought a case seeking certain reliefs, if he has no locus standi, that means the court will have no jurisdiction to grant the claims. So, we are saying before you can approach the court on any matter, you must be able to establish that your interest has been adversely affected; this they’ve not been able to do.
“So, we are saying the Olubadan of Ibadanland is just complaining against an action that does not affect him. Even the Mogajis that filed an action challenging the elevation of the 12th to 24th defendants as Obas, those Obas, they don’t have family compounds within Ibadanland with Mogaji, that you can say their elevation to the status of an Oba will affect the status of the Mogajis. So, we are saying all these complaints are without justification or basis,” he said.
Reacting to the comments by the defence counsel, the lead counsel to Olubadan, Niyi Ajewole, said; ‘’You are saying that the Olubadan of Ibadanland has no interest in this matter, then we will have to go and invite someone from heaven to come and help in this matter, or are they saying that the government can do and undo? So, any act of the government cannot be challenged? But we will leave that for the court to decide. I’m a lawyer, not a judge.”
Earlier in court, Counsel to the 1st to 3rd defendants, Mr. N.N. Adegboye, hinted the court that it was during the proceeding that the notice of preliminary objection by his client was filed.
He added that his clients were yet to be served with the motion for interlocutory injunction. But the plaintiff’s counsel Ajewole said they were served the motion with originating processes.
Before adjourning the case, Justice Aiki ordered that necessary processes be served on the first to the third and 12th-24th defendants by the bailiffs and the proof of service must be in the court file.
As for Ladoja’s case against Governor Ajimobi and the Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, Justice Akintunde Boade, which came up before the same judge, Justice Aiki, three applications were filed by counsel to Ajimobi, Kunle Eleja (SAN) and counsel to Boade, Olubunmi Ogunniran which plaintiffs counsel, Michael Lana, said it was meant to delay the court.