Residents of Ikire community in Irewole Local Government Area have appealed to the Osun State Government to intervene in the 37-year-old kingship tussle in the town.
Some of the residents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday, said the tension, which the tussle was creating in the town, was becoming unbearable.
NAN reports that the battle for the throne had started in 1987 after the demise of the former monarch, Oba Oseni Oyegunle.
NAN also reports that when the process of appointing a new monarch started, one of the five ruling houses, Aketula, presented a candidate, Tajudeen Olanrewaju, in line with the Akire of Ikire Chieftaincy Declaration of 1958.
Before the process of Olanrewaju’s installation could be completed, two ruling houses, Ladekan and Lanbeloye, went to court to challenge the inclusion of Aketula in the ruling houses.
An Ile-Ife High Court in Ile-Ife, where the matter was instituted, consequently stopped Olanrewaju’s installation as the monarch, while the incumbent, Oba Olutunde Falabi, was installed in May 1993.
Even though he lost at the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, Oyo State, Olanrewaju proceeded to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court, in its judgment on April 11, 2014, affirmed that Aketula was one of the ruling houses as provided in the 1958 Akire of Ikire Chieftaincy Declaration.
The Supreme Court also held that in view of the evidence on record, “it shows that the 1958 Declaration, in respect of the Akire of Ikire Chieftaincy stool, has not been amended or repealed.”
Following the judgment, the incumbent monarch approached the High Court in Ikire, praying it to restrain the state government from deposing him because he had not committed any offence warranting his removal.
He also pleaded with the court to restrain the state governor, the commissioner for justice and the commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs from deposing him, while his incumbency subsisted.
Justice Abdulkareem of Ikire High Court in his judgment of June 29, however, said Falabi could no longer occupy the stool based on the 1958 Akire Declaration and the rotational procedure contained therein.
He said by order of rotation, the process of appointing Olarenwaju, who is from Aketula ruling house, was almost completed before it was stopped by the court.
He held: “Another compelling reason why the plaintiff, Oba Falabi, has to vacate the stool is because his appointment is a nullity.
“This is because he was not validly nominated by the ruling house or validated by the state government.
“I equally find and hold that based on the overwhelming evidence adduced before me, that the plaintiff, who has already spent three decades on the throne, must not continue to occupy the throne of Akire of Ikire.
“To hold otherwise, will amount to a great travesty of justice.
“The Supreme Court is the highest court in Nigeria and its judgment is binding on all lower courts, and failure to do so amounts to gross insubordination.”
Alhaji Bamidele Kadir, a resident of the town, said a situation whereby two people were laying claim to the Akire stool was not good for the development of the town.
Kadir appealed to the state government to intervene by implementing the Supreme Court judgment on the kingship tussle for peace to reign in the town.
He said the recent High Court pronouncement on the kingship matter had been causing tension in the town.
Also speaking, Iyabo Olayiwola, another resident, said it was only government’s intervention that could bring peace to the town.
Olayiwola, who said the kingship matter had been generating tension in the town, appealed to government to do the needful.
Another resident, Bode Olayiwola, also said the development of the town should be paramount to both the indigenes and the government.
Olayiwola urged the state government give proper interpretation to the two court judgments on the matter and take the right step in order to nip the tension in the bud.