By Temitope Adedeji, Akure
An appeal court sitting in Akure, the capital of Ondo State has sacked Oba John Olaniji Ogundoju, the Akinnuwa of Igbindo community in Ondo West Local Government from his seat and to stop parading himself as the traditional ruler of the ancient community.
Meanwhile , the high court sitting in Ondo town, had earlier ruled in the year 2015, Oba John Olaniji Ogundoju should vacate from the throne barely two weeks after he was presented by the kingmakers in the community and was given staff of office by the Ondo State Government.
Unsatisfied with the action of the kingmakers and leaders of the Ruling House, some princess from Ogbowo Okun Ruling House led by Adetutu Ifashole and Okunade Makinde Fashole had dragged Ogundoju and four others to court over his eligibility as the Akinnuwa of Igbindo in the council area.
Other defendants aside the monarch include, Adeodi Adebayo, Taye Akinkugbe, the Chairman of the ruling house, Adeseeke Adewale Stephen and Joseph Olamodimu, the Secretary of the Ruling House.
The plaintiffs in their defense then, sought the court declaration that by “the age long custom and tradition of the ascension to the stool of Akinnuwa of Igbindoland, it is the only male line of the applicable ruling house and in this case the Ogbowo Okun ruling house that is eligible to fill the stool anytime the stool is vacant.”
Similarly, the plaintiffs stated that based on the White Paper on the Olayiwola Chieftaincy review commission 1982, it is the turn of Ogbowo Okun ruling house to produce the next monarch of the town.
Consequently, the plaintiffs prayed for an order of “injunction restraining the Ogundoju, second and third defendants from imposing Ogundoju on Ogbowo Ruling House as the Akinnuwa of Igbindo.”
Justice Adegbehingbe held that since only sons from the male lineage could be made monarch, “Ogundoju is not eligible to contest and ascend the vacant stool of the Akinnuwa of Igbindo from the Ogbowo Ruling House whose turn is to fill th vacant stool having hailed from the female line of the ruling house.”
Apart from granting the order preventing Ogundoju from parading himself as Akinnuwa of the ancient town, the court asked the ruling house to start a fresh ,the process of electing new monarch for the town.
Having seeing the judgement of the of the court as unsatisfied, Oba Ogundoju had approached the appeal court through his counsel Bar. Kunle Adetowubo, to file an appeal challenging the judgement of Justice Bode Adegbehingbe at the high court which ordered him to vacate the throne and his eligibility to contest for the position.
In a three hour judgment delivered in the court, Justice Mohammed Danjuma, who read the judgement on behalf of others members of the panel upheld the earlier judgement of the high court and based his judgement on the fact and evidence adduced by parties involved in the matter.
“On the basis of the facts and evidence adduced by parties in the case and the authorities cited, it is my finding that the decision of the learned trial court on this issue was in order. It is resolved against the Appellants and in favour of Respondents.
“Having resolved all the three issues raised herein against the Appellants, the result is that the appeal lacks merit and it is accordingly dismissed. The judgement of the high court of Ondo State delivered by Hon. Justice O.A Adegbehingbe on the 28th of July 2015 is hereby upheld.”
Similarly, in the same judgement signed by one of the members of the panel, Justice Ridwan Abdullahi, said “I have the advantage of reading in draft form, the lead judgement of my learned brother, Mohammed Danjuma, which has been delivered. My lord, has lucidly and eruditely dealth with his reasoning and conclusion that the appeal lacks merit and should be dismissed.
“I have nothing useful to add. I only wish to make a few comment by way of emphasis to the point being made thereof. In the instant case, I have visited the record of appeal. The judgement of the trial court was encased at pages 308-357 of the record which I have equally perused.