Femi Ogbonnikan in Abeokuta
An Ogun High Court thursday struck out the suit challenging the status of the Founder of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Otunba Michael Subomi Balogun, as the head of the Fusengbuwa ruling house, one of the ruling houses in Ijebu-Ode where the Awujale of Ijebuland is by tradition selected.
Justice Aderonke Asenuga of an Ijebu Ode High Court, while delivering her judgment said the court relies on the evidence given by the Awujale and the paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Kayode Sikiru Adetona, and resolved and gave verdict in favour of Balogun who was the first defedant in the suit.
A former National President, Institute of the Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Otunba Abdul-Lateef Owoyemi, and four other claimants, Prince Rasaq Akeju, Prince Yisau Ajidagba, Prince Adeleke Adeyemi and one other on behalf of themselves and Fusengbuwa ruling house had dragged Balogun and others to court, challenging the first defendant as the authentic head of the ruling house.
Owoyemi and four other claimants were contesting that the first claimant (Owoyemi) is the right and legitimate person to occupy the position of the Olori-Ebi of Fusengbuwa ruling house and prayed the court to declare him as such.
The five claimants had approached the court to challenge the manner upon which Balogun who is also a member of the Fusengbuwa ruling house emerged as the Head (Olori-Ebi) of the family after the death of the last Olori-Ebi, Prince Adebisi Adeyemi.
Among others, they had prayed the court to restrain Balogun from carrying on as the Olori-Ebi of the Fusengbuwa ruling house.
Justice Asenuga in her judgement, declared that the claimants called six witnesses while defendants called two witnesses, including the Awujale of Ijebuland.
Asenuga while examining the issues for determination, said five issues were formulated in the cause of the trial, resolving two in favour of the claimant while the remaining three issues were resolved in favour of the defendant.
On the first issue, the judge held that though the claimants (Owoyemi and others) have rights to approach the court for a justiceable matter but, she however, dismissed the suit on the grounds that they were not qualified for the claims sought by reasons of the evidence given before the court.
On the appointment of Olori-Ebi, the judge said Awujale has given evidence on who is qualified to be appointed as Olori-Ebi, adding that Awujaleâ€™s evidence was relevant.
According to her, the oral evidence given by those who should know the custom and tradition of Ijebuland indicated that the first claimant does not have connection with the Fusengbuwa royal family.
The judge therefore held that â€œthe evidence by the Awujale is accepted by the court, while the first claimant is not qualified to be the Olori-Ebi of the Fusengbuwa ruling house. The court therefore, resolved the issue in favour of the defendants, while she dismissed matter forthwith. Besides, the court also awarded a N100,000 cost against the claimants.
Reacting to the verdict, Chief Owoyemi said he has left the matter in the hand of God.
He said the family would study the judgement and take appropriate step afterwards.