Oba of Lagos: Bid to reconcile warring parties fail

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BY ONOZURE DANIA
LAGOS—An attempt by a prominent Lagos monarch, Oniru of Iruland, Oba Abiodun Oniru to resolve the dispute over selection and installation of Oba Rilwan Akiolu as the Oba of Lagos has failed as parties opted for trial.

The claimants, Princes Sammy Adebiyi and Rasheed Modile had in a suit in 2003 asked the court to set aside the appointment and installation of Akiolu as Oba of Lagos.
Defendants in the suit are governor of Lagos state, Attorney-General of the State, Mr Ade Ipaye, Prince Babatunde Akitoye, and Chief Junaud Eko.

At the resumed hearing in the suit before a Lagos High Court, yesterday, the claimant’s counsel, Mr Ezekiel Ashade told the court that parties had refused to meet for possible settlement of the matter.
The matter is before Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson.

He said that since there was no move to resolve the matter out of court as earlier promised, the court should fix a definite date for commencement of trial.
While responding, Akiolu’s counsel, Mr Aderemi Bashua, counsel to the other defendants, all confirmed that the parties were unable to settle the matter out of court.

However, Justice Candide-Johnson adjourned the matter till October 20, 21, and 22 for trial.
The claimant had in their amended statement of claim, prayed the court to declare that only two ruling houses — the Akinsemoyin and Ologunkutere ruling houses — were entitled under customary law to present candidates and fill any vacancy in the stool of the Oba of Lagos.

They are also seeking for a declaration that the purported selection or appointment of Akiolu as Oba of Lagos by the king-makers (5th defendant) and approval of same by the Lagos State Government is illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

The claimants are also demanding for enquiry as to whether it is the turn of the Akinsemoyin Ruling House to fill the stool of Oba of Lagos. However, they are also asking for a declaration that the Ologunkutere Ruling House is stopped in law and that it is the turn of Akinsemoyin Ruling House to present a candidate to fill the Stool of Oba of Lagos after the demise of Oba Adeyinka Oyekan.

The claimants further stated that the Oba Akiolu branch of Ologunkutere Ruling House is unqualified under the Oba of Lagos Customary Law to succeed Oba Adeyinka Oyekan II, who also hailed from the Ologunkutere Ruling House.
According to them, after the demise of Oba Oyekan II, from Ologunkutere Ruling House, the Akinsemoyin Ruling House is the only ruling house entitled to present candidate(s) for the consideration of kingmakers of Lagos to succeed the late Oba Oyekan.

They urged the court to declare that the purported selection or appointment of Prince Akiolu as the Oba-elect of Lagos by the kingmakers (other defendants in the suit) and the subsequent approval by the Lagos State Executive Council on Thursday, May 22, invalid, null and void.

In his 41-paragraph of amended statement of defence, the Oba of Lagos (3rd defendant) urged the court to dismiss the suit describing it as misconceived, frivolous, vexations and embarrassing.

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