The Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo has struck out the suit instituted by the Lafogido ruling house challenging the 1980 Ife Chieftaincy declaration, which agreed with rotation of the stool of Ooni of Ife.
Initially, in a pursuit of rotational method adopted in 1980, the 16 Ife traditional council after the demise of Oba Okunade Sijuwade had followed the 1980 declaration and announced the Giesi as the ruling house to produce candidate that will fill the vacant stool of Ooni of Ife but aggrieved ruling houses opposed the move dragged
the Ife traditional council and the state government to court .
The Chief Judge of the State High Court, Justice Adepele Ojo, in her ruling, held that the Ooni Chieftaincy Declaration was made in September 14, 1979 and registered in January 28, 1980, adding that the plaintiffs should have instituted their suit within five years of registration of the declaration.
She ruled that the suit is grossly incompetent, declaring that “the suit and the claim therein are accordingly dismissed.”
Sooko Adegoke and Prince Marcus Adebola Akimoyero, on behalf of Lafogido Ruling House of Ile-Ife, had sued Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the Obalufe of Ile-Ife, Oba Solomon Omisakin (now late) and Lowa of Ife, Chief Joseph Ijaodola on the decision to allow only Giesi Ruling House present the next Ooni.
The plaintiffs are asking for the order of the court to set aside 1980 declaration, saying the declaration was lopsided, unjust, unconstitutional and unfair.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr. Soji Oyetayo, sought an order of the court preventing the defendants from embarking on processes to select the new Ooni from Giesi Ruling House because of the alleged flaw in the 1980 declaration.
The respondents however argued that it was too late to challenge the declaration after it has been used to produce the late Ooni, Oba Okunade Sijuwade.
Counsel to Governor Rauf Aregbesola who is the first respondent, Mr. Wale Afolabi, submitted that the suit filed by the plaintiffs was incompetent after 35 years that the declaration has been made.
Also, Counsel to the second and third defendants, Mr. Peter Ogunleye, urged the court to dismiss the suit for lack of incompetence and uphold the 1980 declaration as authentic.
Meanwhile, Prince Kayode Adebowale and four others from Akui branch of Oshinkola Ruling House has urged the Chief Judge to transfer their case to another judge, saying they cannot get fair judgment in her court.
Their counsel, Mr. Ranti Ajeleti, said his clients are from Akui Branch of Oshikola Ruling House which believed that there is only one ruling house in Ile-Ife and all the princes are qualified and entitled to the stool of Ooni.
However, the Chief Judge directed the plaintiffs’ counsel to file a formal application for the transfer of the case to another judge.
Earlier before the judgment, Justice Ojo debunked allegation that somebody has collected N10million or 10,000 dollars on her behalf, saying whoever makes any false accusation against her will not have peace.
She also advised whoever that has paid money to anybody to go and collect it back, adding “if the person refused to return the money, they should report to the Chief Registrar and the person will suffer for it, even if the person is a judge.”
– Yetunde Oladejo, Osogbo