By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti.
The High Court sitting in Ikole-Ekiti Division, in Ekiti state has removed the Owa of Odo Ayedun Ekiti, Oba Ilesanmi Ajibade over gross abuse of tradition in his selection process.
The Court upheld the position canvassed by the Claimant, Prince Adekunle Adeniyi that he remains the most appropriate person for the coveted seat, having participated in the selection process conducted by six kingmakers in the town.
Adeniyi in the suit number HCL/12/09 filed at the Registry of the Court on July 10,2013, sought a declaration nullifying the selection of Oba Ajibade(15th respondent) and an order directing the Governor of the State (10th respondent ) to approve the nomination of the claimant.
Other reliefs sought include: a declaration that the appointments of the warrant chiefs (11th to 14th defendants) was illegal and an order setting aside the nomination of the 15th respondent (Oba Ajibade).
Joined in the suit as respondents were: Pastor Isaac Aluko (1st), Chief Aribisala (2nd), Chief Olu Areola (3rd), Chief Kayode Osho (4th), Chief Amos Jegede (5th) and Miss Oyenike Ojo (6th).
Others include: The Secretary, Ikole Local Government (7th), Special Adviser, Chieftaincy Matters (8th), Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice (9th), Governor of Ekiti State (10th) Mr. Joseph Oluyi (11th), Mr. Aderemi Akinola (12th), Mr. Adeniyi Oluyi (13th), Mr. Mike Farunmona (14th) and Oba Ilesanmi Ajibade (15th respondent).
The claimant called two witnesses during the trial and tendered three exhibits, which include a programme of coronation and official resentation of staff of office, a letter from Odo Ayedun kingmakers to the claimant for him to fill the vacant stool, a letter from the claimant to the office of Director of Civil Litigation, Ministry of Justice and another letter from the claimant to the late Elekole of Ikole-Ekiti, Oba Adeleye Adetunla, who is the supreme head in the area.
The claimant also claimed that setting aside his nomination for the coveted seat by the kingmakers and set up another selection process where the 15th respondent was ‘wrongful nominated’ was illegal, null and void.
Delivering the judgement on June 28, 2016, a copy of which was made available to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday, Justice Abiodun Adesodun agreed with the position canvassed by the claimant that the selection of the 15th respondent was illegally done.
“It is my humble opinion that conducting the selection process on the 29/1/10 during the pendency of this case by the defendants was in contempt of this court. They cannot now approach the court for redress without purging themselves of the contempt.
“The whole exercise, that is the appointment of warrant chiefs, the
second nomination exercise of 29th January, 2010 and the
appointment of the 15th defendant, from the circumstances of this case and the evidence on record is nothing short of an exercise in
“Come to think of it, the 15th defendant was purportedly appointed or elected Owa elect on 29th January, 2010 and his appointment was approved 3rd February, 2010 five days after the election contrary to section 13 (2) of the Chief Law which stipulated mandatory 21 days. Why the hurry in this case?”, the judge queried.
Justice Adesodun added that the claimant has been able to establish his case based on the pleadings and the totality of evidence before the court as to entitle him reliefs sought.
“It is hereby declared that the selection of the claimant to fill the
vacant stool of Owa of Odo Ayedun is valid and legal. It is equally
declared that the notice of intention to set aside the nomination of
the claimant to the vacant stool of Owa of Odo Ayedun is illegal,
null and void.
“I also grant an order directing the 10th defendant to approve the nomination of the claimant as the Owa of Odo Ayedun, I also declared that the nomination of the 11th -14th defendants as warrant chiefs is null and void.
“I also grant a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, servants, privies or any other person from appointing warrant chiefs or taking any further step to disturb the nomination of the Claimant as Owa of Odo Ayedun.
“On the whole, the claimant’s action succeeds” Justice Adesodun declared.
The Judge also told the parties to bear their own cost.