Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The Supreme Court on Friday affirmed the appointment of Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi as the Oloffa of Offa in Kwara state.
The apex court held in a unanimous judgment that the appointment of the traditional ruler by the Kwara State Government was in line with the customs and traditions of the people of Offa.
Justice Walter Onnoghen, who delivered the lead judgment, upheld the testimony of Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi that the Anilelerin Ruling House was the only authentic ruling house that could ascend the thrown of Oloffa.
The apex court therefore voided the claim of Olugbense as a ruling house in Offa on the grounds that there was no history to that effect.
The court also dismissed the claim of the Olugbense family on the purported principle of rotation between Anilelerin and Olugbense ruling houses, adding that if there was rotation as claimed by the Olugbense family, the principle of rotation would have taken up before the ascension of the immediate past Olofa, Oba Mustapha Olawore Olanipekun.
Besides, the court also faulted and prohibited the Kwara State Government Gazette of 1970, which gave recognition to the Olugbense ruling house.
Justice Onnoghen said that the gazette was null and void because it was contrary to the customs and tradition of the people of Offa.
In the final analysis, the court barred Olugbense from being recognised as a ruling house by either the Kwara state government or the king-makers.
“From the history, customs and tradition of the people of Offa, it is clear that the only ruling house, Anilelerin, being a male line is the authentic and only ruling house backed by native law and authority that can ascend the thrown of Oloffa.
“This court also found, as a fact that there is no rotational policy in existence as far as the stool of Oloffa of Offa is concerned and therefore the claim of the Olugbense family has no historical backing and therefore the claim of the appellant on the issue succeeds and is hereby affirmed,” Onnoghen said.
The court also held that the ascension to the throne was by election and not by rotation as claimed by the Olugbense family.