Proposed amendment of chiefs law draconian – Soun-in-Council

BREAKING: Proposed amendment of chiefs law draconian – Soun-in-Council


The Soun-in-Council has declared the proposed amendment to the Oyo state chiefs law by Oyo state government is draconian noting it will grant excessive powers to the governor on chieftaincies which will be abused.

ogbomoso recalls that the Oyo State House of Assembly has initiated moves to amend Section 28 (1) of the Chiefs Law, CAP 28, Laws of Oyo State 2000.

Accordingly the executive arm has sent the proposed amendment of Section 28 (1) of the Chiefs Law, CAP 28 Laws of the State 2000, to the State House of Assembly.

The controversial bill if passed into law will empower the state governor to dispense rights to wear beaded crown to Baales and minor chiefs without consultations with the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs.

The House of Assembly through its Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters recently held a public hearing on the matter in Ibadan.

Expressing discontent for not being invited to the public hearing the Soun-in-Council in a letter to Governor Seyi Makinde Monday (May 23) titled, “Memorandum on Proposed Amendment to the Oyo State Chiefs Law, Section 28 Cap 1, 2000,” signed by the Areago of Ogbomosoland High Chief Samuel Sobalaje Otolorin JP, and made available to, submitted the law would engender disaster in the future.

The council underlined the governor already has immense power in the matter of appointment of new Obas, asserting if the input of the traditional council is now removed, the governor would assume untamable power that would be perverted. It therefore urged government to tread softly.

“Thus, an outright obliteration of the input of the traditional council in the process as the amendment seeks to achieve is a recipe for disaster and will confer untamable powers on the Governor that will definitely be abused if not by the present administration but without doubt by successive ones.”

Soun-in-Council insisted proposing the amendment on ground of many pending requests from Baales to be elevated crown-wearing Obas is spurious noting granting this power to the governor would trivialize the process, and expressed fear ambitious individuals will begin to distort histories to earn the right.

“The state’s Executive Arm according to the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo, took the decision to review the Chiefs Law in view of the inertia state of the Oyo State Traditional Council to which Soun is a Co-Chairman on the need according to it to address the avalanche of requests by Baales and Minor Chiefs to be elevated to the status of beaded crown wearing Obas.

“However, treading softly and guardedly on the matter is imperative because of its sensitivity and volatility. The extant law already accords the Governor immense power on upgrade of Minor Chiefs, the need for consultations with the Traditional Council notwithstanding, which is inserted as a precautionary measure and check against arbitrariness on the part of the state’s Chief Executive.

“In the future therefore, Minor Chiefs and even powerful individuals who have no connections with and not entitled to chieftaincies, will, relying on connections with the governor or unscrupulous government officials, concocting lies and distorting age-long histories, wangle their way to acquire the revered, sacred beaded crowns.”

It further observed the traditional council serves as regulator as members are able to examine the requests based on merit, scrutinize the histories presented by those aspiring for the status of Obas and advise the governor accordingly and so averred if the traditional council is suppressed it would spell doom as undue rivalries, land conflicts and so on would be engendered.

Clarifying its position should not be misconstrued as antagonistic of government, it stressed based on the above reasons it stands in opposition to the amendment.

“Such situation is currently forestalled by the involvement of the traditional council in the process because they unabashedly consider such requests looking critically at their merits or otherwise based on historical antecedents. Thus, the traditional council serves as checks and critical regulators of what have the potentials of making mockery of the traditional institution.

“The advisory role being currently played by the traditional council, which helps to sanitize and maintain the integrity and dignity of the traditional system is what the review aims to jettison, it can only end in regrettable circumstances in the nearest future.

“While we do not wish to appear as being antagonistic of the government we feel there is need to make explicit the dangers inherent in the proposed law. We seek to avert a scenario where every traditional title holder will become an Oba but have no Baales and customary chiefs under them, which negates the principle of monarchy in Yorubaland. It will further erode the importance and relevance of the institution.

“Superiority rivalries, animosities, conflicts over lands, unhealthy competitions and such adverse nuances are some other things the proposed law will breed; it is tantamount to instigating an atmosphere inimical to development in the future.”

Further maintaining the proposal would undermine the traditional institution, and grant autocratic power to the governor, the council dismissed the proposal as draconian.

It posited traditional institution should rather be jealously guarded by all true Yoruba sons and daughters urging Governor Makinde to somewhat remove the cog hampering the convening of the traditional council by leveraging on his acclaimed wisdom and competence so the requests could be attended to by the council.

It wondered why a law would be sought to repeal the involvement of superior Obas in an issue involving elevation of minor chiefs to status of Oba, stressing it is preposterous and so advised it should be discarded.

It consequently warned government to be wary of the verdict of history.

“Pushing ahead with the proposal can only be seen as a desire to absolutely annihilate the cherished tradition among the Yoruba – monarchial institution – which a true born Yoruba person would seek to jealously guarded, protect and advance. Incontrovertibly the proposed law is a reflection and manifestation of draconian propensity.

“We thus appeal to the Governor to discard the proposed amendment and rather draw from his well known intelligence and astuteness to bring around the Oyo State Traditional Council of Obas and Chiefs. Validating the proposed law on the basis of the Council’s moribund state in the face of inordinate aspiration of Minor Chiefs for elevation is both farcical and fatuous and denotes an imperious exploitation of an inopportune situation to usurp traditional council’s authorities and assume autocratic power in the matter. Removing the hand of Obas from a matter involving elevating lesser title holders to Oba’s status is not a laughing matter, it is a recipe for disaster we repeat for the umpteenth time, and it is a whirlwind that will blow no good in the long term.

“Having stated our position which is outright objection, borne out of the best interest of the good people of the state, we urge the Governor and the Legislators to be guided by reason, not act on the spur of the moment, discard the process and above all be wary of the dictates of posterity.”

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