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.
The PUNCH reports 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.
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.