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Court affirms Akiolu as legitimate Oba of Lagos

Court affirms Akiolu as legitimate Oba of Lagos

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Romanus Okoye

Lagos High Court sitting at Ikeja, has declared that the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, was “validly, legitimately and lawfully elected” and struck out the suit challenging his election as Oba.

The claimants had insisted among other things that due process was not followed in the nomination, selection and election of Oba Akiolu; that the 90 days rule which they claimed to be customary was not observed; and that the position of the Oba was rotational; that only members of the Ologun Kutere and Akinsemoyin ruling households were entitled to the throne.

They also alleged that proper customary rules and procedures were not followed when Akiolu was installed as Oba in May 2003. They, therefore, asked the court to nullify his election and order him to stop parading himself as the Oba of Lagos.

But in a judgment that lasted over two hours, the presiding judge, Justice Adebowale Candide-Johnson, declared that the claimants did not discharge their responsibility as required by the law, because he who alleges or asserts must prove.

He said that there was no evidence before him to prove that the 90-day rule was required in the installation of an Oba; as such, it was not observed in the case of Oba Oyekan, adding that the defence was able to prove that it was the position of Erelu Oba that is rotational among the ruling houses and not that of the Oba.

The judge also stated that the defence was able to prove that Oba Akiolu’s lineage could be traced to Oba Ado, adding that the claimants agreed under cross-examination that it was the responsibility of the kingmakers to determine the number of days required to elect an Oba.

He restated the testimony of one of the defence witnesses, the Olumegbon of Lagos, Chief Fatai Olumegbon, who said: “We received the application of those who were selected by their various ruling houses.

“To ensure transparency, we requested that the names be submitted through the Olori Omo Oba.

“All the envelopes containing the names of the applicants as received were sent for Ifa divination and one by one, the names were screened.

“When the name containing Akiolu’s name was done, they shouted ‘ejiogbe’, that is, this is the man that will rule well and bring the desired changes.

“Apart from that, Akiolu was the first Oba unanimously selected by all the six kingmakers; in fact, he scored 6-0.”

Meanwhile, the judge admitted that his court lacked the original jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

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