The Princes of the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo in the Ile-Oluji/Oke-Igbo Local Government, represented by Prince Rufus Adekanye, the Head of Aare Kugbaigbe Ruling House, have rejected the appointment of the daughter of the late Oba Babajide Lawrence Oluwole, who was recently deposed as the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo by the High Court of Ondo State.
In a letter dated 8th June 2023, addressed to the Governor of Ondo State, the state Commissioner for Chieftaincy and the Attorney General by the Aare Kugbaigbe Ruling House through their solicitor Olufemi A Meduoye Esq of Sola Ebiseni and Associates, the Princes recalled that they were “Claimants in Suit N0 HOD/80/2018 wherein the appointment of one Babajide Lawrence Oluwole as the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo was successfully challenged, the appointment declared illegal and set aside in the judgment delivered on the 13th day of April 2023, by His Lordship Honourable Justice Ademola Enikuemehin of the Ondo State High Court.
The letter reminded Government of the decision of the court which include:
- A DECLARATION that under the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo Declaration contained in Part Two of Justice Adeloye Judicial Commission Of Inquiry On Chieftaincy Matters, eligibility to the throne is restricted to the descendants of (1) Odo Eleyowo (2) Are Kugbaigbe (3) Kuole Oloje (4) Aderin Ologbenla (5) Ajibike Adedimeji of the male linage who are thus constituted as the five Ruling Houses of the Chieftaincy.
- That it is the turn of the Are Kugbaigbe Ruling House, to present candidate(s) to fill the now vacant stool of the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo Chieftaincy.
- That the 5th Defendant (Babajide Lawrence Oluwole) not being a descendant of the are Kugbaigbe is not a member of the Are Kugbaigbe Ruling House and therefore not qualified under the Declaration to be proposed as a candidate for the vacant stool of or be made the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo and his appointment accordingly nullified.
4.That the selection, appointment and approval of appointment of the 5th Defendant (Babajide Lawrence Oluwole) as the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo is illegal, arbitrary, irregular, null and void, rendering the stool vacant still.
- AN ORDER directing the Defendants (Government) to set in motion the proper processes of selection and appointment by inviting the Claimants to present candidate (s) to fill the vacant stool of the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo chieftaincy in accordance with the Declaration and the Chiefs Law of Ondo State.
- AN INJUNCTION restraining the 5th Defendant (Babajide Lawrence Oluwole) from or further parading himself or allowing himself to be paraded and Defendants jointly and severally from parading as or further according the 5th Defendant the recognition, rights and privileges, of the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo”.
According to the letter, “the victorious Princes, by letter dated 14th April 2023, urged Government to set in motion the process of appointing a new Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo in accordance with the judgment while the deposed Oba Lawrence Oluwole on 17th April filed a Notice of Appeal and Motion for Stay of Execution and Injunction of the judgment”.
“However on the 30th day of April 2023, Babajide Lawrence Oluwole whose appointment as Oba was declared illegal and set aside, died at the age of 94 years. Thus when the Motion for Stay of Execution and Injunction came up for hearing on Monday, 4th June 2023 before His Lordship, Justice Ajibade, the remnant Warrant Chiefs applied for the discontinuance thereof”.
According to the solicitors “it therefore came to our Clients as a rude shock that one self acclaimed ‘Princess’ Olusola Babajide, said to be daughter of the late impostor Babajide Lawrence Oluwole, was announced as the Regent of the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo”.
It stated further that “our clients wish to make it abundantly clear that Babajide Lawrence Oluwole, having been declared not an Oba and stripped of all pretences to royalty, his daughter cannot validly be made a Regent under the Customary law of the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo Chieftaincy and the Chiefs Law of Ondo State. From nothing, nothing comes. Ex nihilo nihil fit”.
The letter informed Government that “those parading themselves as Chiefs have no such status because they were only appointed as Warrant Chiefs for the purpose of the appointment of the deceased Babajide Lawrence Oluwore and have no more roles in the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo Chieftaincy, their adhoc appointment having been dispensed with. They have since become functus officio and bereft of all authorities with respect to the chieftaincy after the appointment of Babajide Lawrence Oluwole which appointment, in any case, has been declared void by the Court”.
Advising Government on the way forward the princes stated that “to avoid any vacuum on the throne of the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo and further desecration by the odious occupation thereof by pretenders, we enjoin Government to fast-track the processes of appointing the new Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo in compliance with the customary law as enunciated in the aforesaid judgment of Court”.
Concluding the princes said “if the defunct Warrant Chiefs still feel called upon to pursue an appeal, the outcome of which is of no benefit to them, it is within their constitutional right to seek the pronouncement of the appellate Court thereon but such rascality, amounting to abuse of Court process, cannot impede the appointment of a new Oba. After all, “a chieftaincy stool is not a perishable commodity”.