Residents of Ikire community in Irewole Local Government Area of Osun state have appealed to the state government to intervene in the 37-year-old kingship tussle in the town.
Some of the residents, who spoke in Ikire on Tuesday, said that the tension, which the tussle was creating in the town, was becoming unbearable.
The battle for the throne had started in 1987 after the demise of the former monarch, Oba Oseni Oyegunle. During the process of appointing a new monarch started, one of the five ruling houses, Aketula, presented a candidate, Mr 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.
An Ile-Ife High Court, Ile-Ife, where the matter was instituted, consequently stopped Olanrewaju’s installation as the monarch, while the incumbent, Oba Olutunde Falabi, was installed in May 1993.
Even though he lost at the Appeal Court, Ibadan, Olanrewaju proceeded to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court, in its judgment on April 11, 2014, affirmed that Aketula was one of the ruling houses, as provided in the 1958 Akire of Ikire Chieftaincy Declaration.
The Supreme Court also held that in view of 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“it shows that the 1958 Declaration, in respect of the Akire of Ikire Chieftaincy stool, has not been amended or repealed.’’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 judgment, the incumbent monarch approached the High Court in Ikire, praying it 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.
Justice Abdulkareem of Ikire High Court, in his judgment of June 29, however, said that Falabi could no longer occupy the stool, based on the 1958 Akire Declaration and the rotational procedure contained 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.
“Another compelling reason why the plaintiff, Oba Falabi, has to vacate the stool is that his appointment is a nullity. This is because he was not validly nominated by the ruling house or validated by the state government.
“I equally find and hold that based on the overwhelming evidence adduced before me, that the plaintiff, who has already spent three decades on the throne, must not continue to occupy the throne of Akire of Ikire.
“To hold otherwise, will amount to a great travesty of justice.
“The Supreme Court is the highest court in Nigeria and its judgment is binding on all lower courts, and failure to do so amounts to gross insubordination,” the judge ruled.
Alhaji Bamidele Kadir, a resident of the town, said that a situation whereby two people were laying claim to the Akire stool was not good for the development of the town.
Kadir appealed to the state government to intervene by implementing the Supreme Court judgment on the kingship tussle for peace to reign in the town.
He said that the recent High Court pronouncement on the kingship matter had been causing tension in the town.