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Court Confirms 75 Coronet Obas as Authentic, Asks Abiodun To Accord them Adequate Recognition

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By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
Respite came the way of Ogun 75 Coronet Obas on Tuesday whose promotions, appointments and installations were carried out by the then administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun but terminated abruptly by Governor Dapo Abiodun – led administration shortly after it was sworn in 2019.

A State High Court sitting in Abeokuta, the State capital, voided the demotion and  affirmed their initial appointments and elevation by the immediate past administration as valid.

The case which was filed by the claimants against the state Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun alongside commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs and the permanent secretary in the ministry   at the State high court 4, Abeokuta.

The claimants had approached the court since 2019 to challenge the recommendations of the review committee set up by the state government stopping them from parading themselves as monarchs or functioning as such in their respective domains.

The claimants also sought the court order to declare their removal as null and void.

Justice Abiodun Akinyemi in his judgement declared that the appointments of the Coronet Obas remain valid, maintaining that the government failed to write appropriately the concerned individuals to convey their sack to them.

Justice Akinyemi added that the state government also failed to give the claimants fair hearing before removing them.

The presiding Judge however ruled that the entitlements and remunerations of all the Coronet Obas be immediately paid by the defendants from the time of installation.

Earlier in the proceedings, Egba traditional council led by its counsel, Mr. Afolabi Fashanu, SAN, had filed an application seeking to join the suit and arrest the judgement set for today.

Justice Akinyemi in his ruling dismissed the application saying that he finds no merit in the application.

The presiding Judge awarded a personal cost of 250,000 naira on Mr Afolabi Fashanu saying that as a Senior Advocate, he ought to know better than to file such an application.

Justice Akinyemi noted that since the counsel was not a party in the matter, he declared that the application is frivolous and an abuse of court process.

It would be recalled that on February 6, 2020, Governor Dapo Abiodun demoted 75 Chiefs promoted to Coronet traditional rulers by his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

Senator Amosun had elevated the 75 Chiefs to the Coronet obas towards the end of his administration in May 29, 2019.

But, on assumption of office, Governor Abiodun set up a committee that reviewed and recommended that the promotion of the traditional rulers from Baale to Obas be reversed.In February 2020, Governor Abiodun announced the demotion of the Obas as recommended by the committee chaired by the Olu of Ilaro and Paramount ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle.

The 75 Obas not satisfied with the recommendation dragged the state government to court asking for their reinstatement and payment of their entitlements.The Coronet obas when the proceeding was on initially got an interlocutory injunction that maintained their appointment as Coronet Obas till the court finally gave its judgement today.

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