By Akinwale Akintunde
The traditional ruler and Orijeru of Igboye in Epe Local Government Area of Lagos State, Oba Micheal Gbadebo Onakoya has been dethroned by a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere.
The court presided over by Justice Iyabo Kasali yesterday, held that the selection process that led to Onakoya’s enthronement in 2007 was flawed.
The judge therefore restrained Onakoya from parading himself as the monarch and Orijeru of Igboyeland of Epe Local Government.
Delivering judgement in the suit filed by representatives of one of the four ruling Houses Ewade Ruling House, Justice Kasali held that the nomination of Onokoya, the second defendant in the suit, to the stool of Orijeru of Igboye was illegal and of no effect.
The court held that Onakoya was not a member of the Ewade Ruling House of Igboye and not entitled to be nominated to the stool of the Orijeru of Igboye.
The claimants in the suit are Alhaji M.A. Quadri, Chief Dauda Kadiri and Mrs. Oladipe Otunowo for themselves and as representatives of Osekelu branch of Ewade Ruling House.
Others are Chief Gbenro Otunowo, Mr. Yemisi Adegboyega and Mrs. Adeleke Ogunnubi, for themselves and as representatives of Okuyemi/Okuboyejo branch of Ewade Ruling House.
The defendants, aside from the second defendants, are Head of the Ewade Ruling House, Otunba Abdulwasiu Musa-Adebamowo, Lagos State Government and Attorney General of Lagos State.
The claimant in the suit filed by their counsel, Tunde Oyende, had sought for “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the second defendant from parading himself as a member of Ewade Ruling House of the said Igboye or presenting himself for the stool of Orijeru of Igboye on the platform of Ewade Ruling House.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining all the other defendants from recognising the second defendant as a member of Ewade Ruling House of Igboye”, amongst others.
Justice Kasali granted all the reliefs sought by the claimants.
She also described as fraudulent, the documents used by the deposed monarch for his nomination, selection and subsequent recognition by government for the stool of Orijeru of Igboyeland.
She agreed that the claimants were not aware of nor participated in the meetings purportedly held by the Ewade Ruling House in August, 1991which culminated in his unlawful nomination.
The judge therefore dismissed all the 35 point averments of the second defendant contained in his amended statement of defence and counter claims filed through his counsel, Babatunnde Oshilaja.
Justice Kasali said claimants were able to prove that the second defendant is not from their Ruling House, but he ( second defendant) failed to discharge the burden of proving that he is from Ewade Ruling House.
She emphasised that the burden of proving a case rested on the claimant whose evidence must be credible and rest on his pleadings.
The judge said she had seen the declaration on succession to the stool of Orijeru of Igboye and based on the submissions made by counsel, the court relied on the document and restated that the second defendant was not entitled to be nominated to the stool of the Orijeru on the platform of Ewade Ruling House.
“The claimants’ case succeeds. The counter-claims failed and is therefore dismissed in its entirety. All the other defendants also perpetually restrained”, she held.