Check out court cases stopping crowning of new Soun
Agitation for a new Soun of Ogbomosoland continues to ravage the land over a year after the last occupier of the exalted throne, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III JP CON CFR, joined his ancestors.
After Oba Oyewumi’s burial party on January 22, 2022 the Olaoye ruling family whose turn it’s to produce a new monarch got down to business through a screening committee. The committee concluded its part and forwarded 11 names to the kingmakers headed by the Areago, High Chief Sobalaje Otolorin.
The kingmakers however considered twenty two candidates including those purportedly dropped by the Olaoye’s screening committee as the kingmakers held that the screening committee had no power to disqualify any candidate.
In the end the kingmakers selected Prince Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye of the section of the Laoye family from where the last Soun from the family, Oba Oke Olaonipekun Olaoye hailed (1944 – 1952).
The kingmakers subsequently forwarded Prince Ghandi’s name to the Ogbomoso North local government, which in turn dispatched it to the governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, for ratification.
But at that point troubles arose, and in multiples.
First, the family cried blue murder claiming the choice of the kingmaker, Ghandi, a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in the US, was not one of the 11 candidates originally sent to the kingmakers. But since he collected nomination form sold by the screening committee the kingmakers maintained that he should not have been screened out that it’s part of their own schedule of duty to screen out aspirants.
This was the first lacuna. The family including some of the contestants through their legal retainers wrote petitions to the governor praying he should not assent to the nomination.
They also went on air using various mediums to announce their rejection of Ghandi.
Some of the candidates also petitioned the governor seeking a nullification of the process.
The airwave was awash with scores of claims and counter-claims and the matter dragged. And the governor kept silent. This silence in no small measure heightened tension.
Not a few have fallen in love with Pastor Ghandi yet others have their preferences too.
While the matter was deadlocked court cases were perfected by some aggrieved parties challenging the processes that produced Ghandi. These court cases now constitute the stumbling block to the official assent.
The Oyo state governor Engr Makinde during a radio interview few weeks ago spoke for the first time on the issue of Soun and he was emphatic on it. He said matter-of-fact that he rejected the nomination and would not grant approval unless the court cases filed pertaining to the issue are withdrawn hinging his position on the need to avert a situation that might result in deposition of whoever is enthroned years later.
His Excellency made reference to the case of Eruwa in Ibarapa area of the state in which after 18 years the Oba of the town was removed by the Supreme Court.
There are those who though are of the view that struggle for the throne would always stimulate conflicts and litigations. That expecting a rancour-free process and one devoid of parties going to seek redress in court is like expecting a camel to squeeze through a needle’s hole. Therefore, they posit this position is sine qua non to passing death sentence on traditional institution in the state.
In the meantime, there are three extant court cases against the installation of a new Soun. However, only two are directly related to the current process while the other one doesn’t appear to have direct bearing.
These are the cases Governor Makinde insists must be taken out of court implying with the litigations the community would not have a new Oba while he rules the roost.
Ogbomoso Insight looks at these litigations.
The first court case is the one instituted by the royal houses of Ologolo, Olukan and Oluopo, which are seeking to be included among the Soun ruling houses.
There are currently five ruling houses in the Soun ruling dynasty i.e. Abuirumaku, Gbagun, Olaoye, Bolanta and Odunaro. They ascend the throne in the order listed.
The Ologolo, Oluopo and Olukan had their progenitors ruling as Soun at different times in the past but were not eventually included among the ruling houses.
And so, they instituted a case, Suit No. HOG/43/2021, to challenge their exclusion from the recognized ruling houses of Soun dynasty of Ogbomoso and had made a prayer to the court, “The claimants having been confirmed as royal families/direct descendants of past Souns of Ogbomoso by the judgment of the Oyo State High Court per Hon. Justice O.A. Boade in Suit No. HOG/53/2001 – Prince Kareem Oyewumi & 4 Ors. v. Suleiman Atoyebi Ajila & 5 Ors., delivered on 6th August, 2007, whether it is not repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience for the claimants’ families to have been excluded from the extant Soun of Ogbomoso Chieftaincy Declaration of 1958, royal lineage/past Souns’ descent being the ‘fundamental factor that qualifies the existing recognised/declared ruling houses?”
The three families therefore sought three reliefs from the court which are an order to include them as ruling houses in the Soun of Ogbomoso Chieftaincy Declaration, an order of injunction restraining the installation of any person as the new Soun of Ogbomoso or any new person parading himself as new Soun unless they are included as ruling houses in the Soun of Ogbomoso Chieftaincy Declaration.
The suit meanwhile suffered defeat at the High Court on March 9, 2022 but an appeal has been filed.
However, it is not clear whether this suit is one of those the governor is making reference to.
This is something fundamental and “no Jupiter will make this case to be withdrawn,” an analyst noted.
Then, there is the case filed by Alhaji Adeyemi Taofiq Akorede Olaoye, who is challenging the nomination of Ghandi on the ground that he himself is the most qualified.
In suit no. HOG/2012022, with Pastor Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye, Governor of Oyo state, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Oyo state, Hon. Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Oyo state, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Oyo state, Ogbomoso North Local Government, Chief S Otolorin (JP) (Areago of Ogbomosoland), Chief Salawu Ajadi (Jagun of Ogbomosoland), Chief Tijani Abioye (Bara of Ogbomosoland), Chief David Adeniran Ojo (Ikolaba of Ogbomosoland), and Chief Yusuff Kasali Oladipupo (Abese Of Ogbomosoland) as first to 11th defendants, three reliefs are sought including orders of interlocutory injunctions restraining the 6th to 11th defendant from proclaiming Ghandi as heir to the throne or for him to be parading himself as such or any rite (s) being performed in respect of the throne pending the determination of the subject matter in the suit, and an order restraining government from approving Ghandi as the appointed candidate to fill the vacant stool and ascend the throne and/or install or present staff of office to him.
The plaintiff now wants declarations that he is the only lawful equitable candidate to fill the vacant stool and ascend the throne in accordance with “the laws, norms and custom on ascending the throne of Soun of Ogbomosoland,” an order that Ghandi having come from the same section, Ile Kaape of Olaoye ruling house that produced Oba Oke Olanipekun, the last Soun produced from Olaoye ruling house is not equitably qualified as candidate to fill the vacant stool in this present time, an order that the procedure that produced him as candidate is “wrong, improper and invalid,” an order setting aside his appointment by the 6th to 11th defendants, an order that “a warrant kingmaker or warrant chief be nominated and approved by the 2nd to 6th defendants within seven (7) working days to fill the vacuum of late Balogun of Ogbomosoland, High Chief Shittu Fasina Ilori who died on the 15th day of February, 2022. to join the existing five (5) kingmakers on Soun of Ogbomoso chieftaincy to consider the claimant as candidate for appointment as the person to fill the vacant stool and ascend the throne of Soun of Ogbomosoland” and finally “an order directing the 2nd to 11th defendants to appoint, approve and install the claimant as the new Soun of Ogbomosoland.”
The claimant argued that his father, Pa Alhaji Abdulfatai Olalekan Olaoye, being “the present Aremo and head of family of Olaoye Ruling House of Ogbomosoland,” ought to be the automatic candidate to fill the vacant stool or be given the privilege to nominate a person as proxy to fill the vacant chieftaincy stool in his stead.
He stated that his father by virtue of his position as highlighted in the preceding paragraph summoned a meeting of the “principal members” of Olaoye family including Pa Garuba Lawal Tewogbola a,k.a. Cashman, Alhaji Wahab Oyetunde Olaoye, Alhaji Luqman Olaoye and the claimant at the time to inform them that “he is the automatic candidate to be considered for the vacant stool and ascend the throne of Soun of Ogbomosoland by the traditions and norms of Ogbomosoland,” that he further informed at the meeting that due to his old age, he nominated the claimant in his stead as candidate to fill the vacant stool and ascend the throne of Soun of Ogbomosoland, and they all unanimously agreed.”
Unambiguously, this is one of the litigations the governor pointed out must be withdrawn.
Thirdly, Prince Kabir Muhammed Olaoye, another contestant to the throne, and who earlier wrote a powerful petition to the governor on the matter, followed it up with a suit. He is also challenging the nomination of Ghandi on the ground that he is the most eligible for the throne.
In suit number HOG/27/2022, Prince Kabir Olaoye challenged the processes that produced Prince Ghandi and among other prayers is seeking an order of injunction against his approval by the Oyo state government and wants a repeat of the selection process.
The 1st to 6th defendants in the case are the Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde; Oyo state attorney general; Oyo state commissioner for local government and chieftaincy matters; Ogbomoso North local government; Ogbomoso North Traditional Council; and the Mogaji of Olaoye family, Prince Amos Olawole Olaoye.
The 7th, 6th, 9th, 10th and 11th defendants are members of the kingmakers – Chief S. O. Otolorin (Areago of Ogbomosoland/chairman, kingmakers of Soun Chieftaincy Ogbomoso); Chief Salawu Ajadi (Jagun); Chief Tijani Abioye (Baara); Chief David Adeniran Ojo (Ikolaba); Chief Yusuf Kasali Oladipupo (Abese) while Pastor Afolabi Ghandi Oladunni Olaoye (Soun nominee) is the 12th defendant.
Among several others he is seeking a declaration that he is the “person most qualified and/or eligible to fill the vacant stool of Soun of Ogbomoso chieftaincy having satisfied the condition for nomination as the grandson of the reigning Soun of Ogbomoso i.e. HRM Oba Oke Lanipekun Laoye (1944 – 1952),” and as such wants a declaration that Ghandi be disqualified because he is not a son or grandson of a previous Soun arguing that his nomination contravened the law on the appointment of a new Soun.
Obviously, Governor Makinde must also have this case in mind as one of those to be withdrawn; this suit particularly has engendered the court granting a prayer on maintenance of status quo in respect of the installation of a new Soun pending the determination of the suit.
In these circumstances there may be a long wait before a new Soun is crowned unless a miracle happens.
“Don’t forget that after the High Court, the cases will go to the Appeal Court and then to the Supreme Court. Though the judge handling the case at the High Court has ordered an accelerated hearing, we will be talking of years. May God help us,” a lawyer, who wouldn’t want his name in print asserted while speaking with Ogbomoso Insight.