The High Court sitting in Ikole-Ekiti, has ordered the removal of the Owa of Odo Ayedun Ekiti, Oba Ilesanmi Ajibade, over gross abuse of tradition in his selection process.
While delivering his judgement, Justice Abiodun Adesodun, approved the nomination of his challenger, Adekunle Adeniyi, as the Owa-elect.
The judge held that Adeniyi remains the most appropriate person for the coveted seat, having participated in the selection process conducted by six kingmakers in the town.
The justice also ruled that Ajibade’s selection on January 29, 2010, when the case was still pending and his approval five days later, on February 5, 2010, violated Section 132 of the Chiefs Law, which stipulated a time frame of 21 days.
Justice Adesodun held: “It is my humble opinion that conducting the selection process on the 29/1/10 during the pendency of this case by the defendants was in contempt of this court. They cannot now approach the court for redress without purging themselves of the contempt.
“The whole exercise, that is the appointment of warrant chiefs, the second nomination exercise of January 29, 2010 and the appointment of the 15th defendant, from the circumstances of this case and the evidence on record is nothing short of an exercise in futility.
“Come to think of it, the 15th defendant was purportedly appointed or elected Owa-elect on January 29, 2010 and his appointment was approved February 3, 2010, five days after the election contrary to section 13(2) of the Chief Law which stipulated mandatory 21 days. Why the hurry in this case?”
Justice Adesodun added that the claimant has been able to establish his case based on the pleadings and the totality of evidence before the court to give him reliefs sought.
He continued: “It is hereby declared that the selection of the claimant to fill the vacant stool of Owa of Odo Ayedun is valid and legal. It is equally declared that the notice of intention to set aside the nomination of the claimant to the vacant stool of Owa of Odo Ayedun is illegal, null and void.
“I also grant an order directing the 10th defendant to approve the nomination of the claimant as the Owa of Odo Ayedun. I also declared that the nomination of the 11th -14th defendants as warrant chiefs is null and void.
“I also grant a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, servants, privies or any other person from appointing warrant chiefs or taking any further step to disturb the nomination of the Claimant as Owa of Odo Ayedun.
“On the whole, the claimant’s action succeeds”