Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja

A Lokoja High Court has ordered the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, not to proceed further with the planned coronation of Chief Solomon Owoniyi as the new Obaro of Kabba next week, pending the determination of the case.

The court also stopped Owoniyi from parading himself as a paramount ruler of Kabba, pending the determination of the suit.

When the motion on interlocutory injunction came up at the court last Tuesday, counsel to the claimant, Chief Haruna Rabanah (SAN), drew the attention of the court to the fact that the first defendant (Owoniyi) went ahead to carry out some traditional rites inspite of the court’s order restraining him from parading himself as the new Obaro, saying the act amounted to contempt of court.

But counsel to the first defendant MA Aliu (SAN), quickly objected to the submission of the counsel to the claimants, saying his client did not at anytime disobey the court order restraining him.

According to Aliu, the said traditional rites had long been carried out before the court order actually came.

Ruling on the motion, the trial judge, Justice Gwatana, said the status quo should be maintained and ordered that Owoniyi should not parade himself as the new Obaro of Kabba pending the determination of the suit.

He also directed the state counsel to write a memo to the governor through the office of the Attorney- General intimating him of the court decision by stopping the governor from carrying out the planned coronation next week until the final determination of the suit.

The judge also urged the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Nasir Ajanah, to re-assign the case to another court who will in turn fix another date for hearing as he was on vacation.

Governor Bello had on July 27 approved the selection of Owoniyi as the new Obaro of Kabba following the death of Oba Michael Olobayo in May 2016. The Ilajo royal family, consisting of three ruling houses, vehemently rejected the choice of Owoniyi as the new Obaro on the ground that he is not from the royal family but just “a commoner in a suburban community of Kabba “ and therefore, not fit to become the paramount ruler.

The Ilajo royal family who accused the governor of playing politics with the sensitive issue of tradition and cultural values of Owe- Kabba kingdom through the appointment of the new Obaro, thereafter approached the court for redress.

A state High Court presided over by Justice Gwatana consequently granted the prayers of the claimants by granting them an interlocutory injunction restraining Owoniyi from parading himself as the new Obaro.