By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Justice A.A. Babawale of an Ogun State High Court sitting in Sagamu has fixed November 10, 2015 to hear the suit filed by Prince Adetayo Odunsi challenging the nomination of Albert Mayungbe to the stool of Odemo of Isara, Remo. Although parties in the matter and their counsels were present in court at the last hearing but the new trial judge, Justice Babawale said she would need to acquaint herself with all case files that have gone through pre-hearing stages.
This led to the new date for commencement of hearing. Other defendants in the suit filed in 2013 are the head of the ruling house, Prince Obafemi Awoyade; Secretary, Remo North Local Government; Oliwo of Isara, Chief Ajibowu Ogunfowodu; Apena of Isara, Chief Jimoh Soyombo; Chief Ladipo Ogunyemi; Ogbeni Odi of Isara, Chief Olajubu Osibote; Ekeji Asipa Odi, Chief Tunde Kalejaiye; Asipa Odi of Isara, Chief Owuye Logba.
Others are Ekeji Asipa Odi of Isara, Chief Efuwape Sotikare; Olori Emo of Isara, Chief Bashiru Awoniyi; Ekeji Olori Emo of Isara, Chief Korede Ogunwole; Asipa Emo of Isara, Chief Nosiru Sodipe; Ekeji Asipa Emo, Chief Adewole Sopitan; Governor of Ogun State; Executive Council of Ogun State; the State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Local Government and the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice as second to 18th defendants respectively.
In his 32 points statement of claim, Prince Odunsi, who is a direct descendant of the late Oba Oyemade Mayungbe and progenitor of Erinsiba-Ayoledoye Ruling House had averred that he is the one lawfully entitled to the stool of Odemo of Isara Remo.
Giving a chrological order of the Obas produced by the ruling house, he averred that their progenitor was Rosanlu, also known as Erinsiba and that “Rosanlu begat Oyetade who in turn begat Oyemade, also known as Mayungbe alias Ayoledoye” adding that Mayungbe had four wives of which Arobo was the third wife.
He averred that when Oba Oyetade Mayungbe ascended the throne, and “in order to differentiate Ogunsakin, his stepson and an outsider, from other children in the palace, he made Ogunsakin an “Odi” meaning a servant to the king.
The plaintiff further averred that under Yoruba custom and tradition applicable in Isara-Remo, an “Odi” is not a member of a ruling house and can never qualify for nomination into the stool of Odemo of Isara-Remo” and that Ogunsakin also served as “Odi” to Oba Poke, the successor to Oba Oyetade Mayungbe.
Odunsi stated that the selection of the first defendant as Odemo-elect “ is wrongful and should be declared null and void on the ground that he is not a member of Erinsiba-Adyoledoye Ruling House but a lineage of past Odis in Isara-Remo and thus not qualified for nomination as a candidate for the Odemo of Isara chieftaincy.
He prayed the court to grant him seven prayers among which are: “declaration ýthat the first defendant is not a member of the Erinsiba-Adyoledoye Ruling House and therefore not qualified to contest for the stool; that under native law and custom applicable in Isara and Remoland generally, an Odi (servant of the king) or any of his descendants is not qualified to contest for the stool of Odemo of Isara;
that the first defendant’s late grandfather and father, late Ogunsakin and Oyekunle Mayungbe were Odi to the late Oba Samuel Akinsanya and late Oba Adeboboye Osideinde and therefore not qualified to aspire or to be considered for nomination to the stool”.
He also prayed for an order directing the third defendant to issue fresh notice to the second defendant, as head of Erinsiba/Ayoledoye, to summon a fresh meeting of the ruling house for the purpose of nominating candidates to fill the vacant stool of Odemo of Isara, to the exclusion of the first defendant.
In their statement of defence and counter claim, the defendants admitted some of the averments of the claimant and deny others. The first defendant, Albert Mayungbe, insisted on being a “bonafide member and descendant of the Erinsiba/Ayoledoye Ruling House and that the late Oba Mayungbe, aside from being a trader, met and married Arobo in Akure where Ogunsakin, his grandfather, was born.
He further claimed that “Odis” in Isara are not servants to the Obas but appointed from among the royal houses and trusted relations and that his grandfather, Ogunsakin, rendered assistance to Oba Samuel Akinsanya and that in appreciation, he appointed his son, Oyekunle Mayungbe as his “Odi” contrary to the claims of the claimant.
The defendants averred that the meeting of the kingmakers held March 3, 2011 for the selection/appointment of a candidate to fill the vacant stool was held at Odemo’s palace with nine kingmakers in attendance, including the D.P.O. and O/C S.S.S.