Following the verdict of an Ondo State High Court sitting in Okitipupa, the headquarters of Okitipupa Local Government Area, the state Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, has been urged to commence the processes of confirmation, installation and presentation of staff of office to Prince Bamidele Ekunsami as the Olofun of Irele.
The call by the claimants in suit number H/OK/7/2021 came on the heels of the judgment delivered by Justice Tope Adedipe, which removed and declared illegal, null and void the appointment of Prince Olanrewaju Ayeromora as the Regent of the Ode Irele, after the kingmakers have selected a king-designate. The court also ordered that Ayeromora should stop parading himself as the regent of the town.
One of the ruling families, (the claimants), the Opetusin Ruling House, led by High Chiefs Olusola Olajide, Bamidele Olamigoke and Jacob Omokungbe, the Oloja of Akingboye and Chairman of Ode Irele Kingmakers has approached the court seeking a declaration that having nominated, presented and elected Dr. Bamidele Ekunsami as the Olofun-elect to the Ode Irele stool, the second defendant, Mr. Olusegun Ajimotokin who is the chairman of the local government cannot appoint the deposed regent to the Olofun stool.
Joined in the suit are the regent, Prince Adeniyi Olarewaju Ayeromora and the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of Irele Local Government, Victor Adedeji. Barristers T Ogunde and E.N. Ajabo represented the defendants in court.
In the suit filed by the claimant’s lawyer, Prince Bode Famakin, had Governor Akeredolu; the Special Adviser to the Governor on Chieftaincy Affairs; the Secretary, Irele local government, Chief Ajigbore Olagundoye, and Claudius Lebi as defendants. The fourth and fifth defendants are representatives of Oyenusi and Ojomo Houses.
The stool of Olofun of Irele became vacant following the death of Late Oba Feyisara Odimayo in January 1993. After the death of the monarch, Claudius Lebi was installed king, but his case was pending in court until his death.
The Opetusin Ruling House insisted that the Oyenusi family was not entitled to contest the vacant stool, saying it (Opetusin House) had already nominated a candidate, Prince Bamidele Ekunsanmi but the process of installing the candidate was not done by the government.
The claimant also stated that since it had its ‘obaship’ candidate ready, there was no need for the regent to occupy the throne. It prayed the court to stop the Oyenusi House from contesting the throne.
The claimants stated that the chairman of the local government cannot declare and appoint the depose regent as Olofun of Irele, and sought a declaration that in line with Native Law and Custom, the election and appointment of anyone to the stool is the exclusive rights of the kingmakers.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Adedipe ruled that the government should begin the process of confirmation and presentation of staff of office to the plaintiff’s candidate, Prince Ekunsanmi, as the new monarch of Irele town.
In his reaction, the Oba-elect, Prince Ekunsami, lauded the verdict, adding that the truth and justice have prevailed, and called on the state government to commence the processes via ratification by the state executive council and consequently present staff office to him
“We want peace and development in our Kingdom. Our potentials are almost unlimited and we need to begin the process of lifting our people out of poverty and deprivation. To those who have impeded the progress of our people for more than 30 years we forgive them. Let our forward match resume loruko Edunmare. Malokun a gbe wa o “
Meanwhile, Mr. Ajimotokin has called on the people to remain calm, and abide by the ruling because the court remained a legal institution to always reckon with.