An Osun State High Court, sitting in Ikire on Monday dismissed reliefs sought by the Akire of Ikire, Oba Olutunde Falabi, restraining the State Government from deposing him.
Justice Rasak Abdulkareem, while delivering the judgement, said he could not grant the reliefs sought by the monarch because the processes that brought him to the throne 30 years ago were null and void.
Abdulkareem said with all evidence before the court, coupled with the Supreme Court judgement on the issue, the monarch had no legal right to occupy the stool.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the battle to the throne started in 1987 after the demise of the former monarch, Oba Oseni Oyegunle.
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.
The State High Court in Ile-Ife, where the matter was instituted, stopped Olanrewaju’s installation as the monarch and the incumbent Oba Falabi, was installed on May 1993.
Olanrewaju went to the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, but he lost and subsequently, proceeded to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court in its judgement on April 11, 2014, affirmed that Aketula was one of the ruling houses as provided in 1958 Akire of Ikire Chieftaincy Declaration.
The Supreme Court also held that in view of that fact and 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record, “it shows that the 1958 Declaration in respect of the Akire of Ikire Chieftaincy stool has not been amended or repealed”.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 judgement, the incumbent monarch approached the High Court in Ikire 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.
But Justice Abdulkareem said Falabi could no longer occupy the stool based on the 1958 Akire Declaration and the rotational procedure therein.
He said that 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.
“The Supreme Court is the highest court in Nigeria and its judgement is binding on all lower courts and failure to do so amounts to gross insubordination.”