News

May 19, 2024

Battle For Iree Stool: One town, two monarchs in Osun as Oyelakin loses in court

ritualist

A High Court sitting in Osogbo has refused the prayer of the Osun State government to vacate the order preventing Governor Ademola Adeleke from issuing certificates, instruments and staff of office to one Prince Muritala Oyelakin as the Aree of Iree.

The state government, Oyelakin and seven others, through their counsel, Kayode Titilaoye, who is the Director of Legal Reform in the state Ministry of Justice, and Dr. D. A. Ariyoosu, had approached the court to vacate the restraining order granted Oba Raphael Oluponle, which stopped the official presentation of staff of office to Oyelakin on May 3, 2024 and to also refuse the interlocutory injunction sought by Oba Oluponle to restrain Adeleke from taking any further step on Aree stool pending the determination of the substantive matter before the court.

At the hearing last week, counsel to Oba Oluponle, Dr Muritala Abdurasheed, SAN, informed the court that the substantive matter was already before the court and parties had been served accordingly.

He urged the court to grant the interlocutory injunction, arguing that taking further steps on the matter before the court was not only contemptuous of the judiciary but also injurious to Oba Oluponle.

Justice M.O Awe, in his ruling, refused the application of the state government and Oyelakin and granted interlocutory injunction sought by Oba Oluponle and restrained Governor Adeleke from issuing certificate, instrument and staff of office.

The order reads in part: “It is my view that the complainant’s application for interlocutory injunction ought to succeed. Accordingly, the application succeeds and it is hereby ORDERED AS PRAYED. “Specifically, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants/respondents are hereby restrained from installing the 9th defendant and respondent as Aree of Iree and/or present a staff of office to the said 9th defendant /respondent pending the hearing and the determination of the substantive suit that is the originating summon of the claimant pending before the court.

Parties are to bear their costs.”

It would be recalled that the court, on Friday, May 3, 2024, stopped Governor Adeleke from presenting staff of office to Oyelakin at an event scheduled to hold on Saturday, May 4, 2024 in Iree after preparations had been concluded for the ceremony.

The state government, through his Commissioner for Information and Civic Engagement, Kolapo Alimi, in a statement, said the governor had obeyed the court order and suspended the ceremony till further notice and directed the government legal team to approach the court to vacate the interim order.

Oba Oluponle had been appointed by the former Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s administration and presented with the certificate and staff of office, but Governor Adeleke later issued an Executive Order that he should vacate the palace, without recourse to the fact that a case was pending in court on the matter as of the time.

The government subsequently issued a White Paper nullifying the appointment of Oba Oluponle and ordered that the case which was instituted against his appointment should be withdrawn before the commencement of a new process.

In violation of its said White Paper, the government subsequently instituted a fresh process of installing a new Aree without the suit withdrawn as spelt out in the said White Paper, and the process produced Oyelakin.

Oba Oluponle approached the state High Court to nullify the said White Paper and stop Oyelakin from parading himself as Aree of Iree.

The case has been adjourned till May 24 for the hearing of the substantive matter.