A Nine-year battle ends as court declares Olugbenle Olu of Ilaro

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The Ogun State High Court sitting in Sagamu, on Thursday, dismissed a nine-year case filed by one Afolabi Dada against the installation of Oba Kehinde Olugbenle as the Olu of Ilaro and paramount ruler of Yewaland.

The court dismissed the case filed by Dada, one of the candidates for the Ilaro traditional stool, on the grounds that he did not follow due process.

Dada had in 2012 dragged the state governor, Oba Olugbenle, five Ilaro kingmakers, the Secretary to the Ilaro Local Government Council and the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to court over alleged irregularities in the selection process of the Olu of Ilaro.

Dada, in suit number HCL/6/2012, claimed that he was sidelined in the selection process and prayed the court to sack Oba Olugbenle as the traditional ruler of Ilaro.

Justice Ola Owoduni, in his judgment, ruled that there were discrepancies in the evidence presented by the claimant.

Justice Owoduni ruled that Dada violated Section 23 of the Chief Law of Ogun State by not making a complaint about the selection process to the necessary authorities within 21 days after the activities took place.

The judge stressed that there were precedent conditions that must be followed before a chieftaincy matter could be brought before the court.

Justice Owoduni ruled that the claimant did not have any locus standi to institute the suit.

He said, “When there are precedent conditions that must be followed before coming to court, such conditions must be strictly followed.

“The letter submitted to the governor and presented to the court was submitted 35 days after, as against the 21 days stipulated by Section 23 of the Chief Law of Ogun State.

“The aggrieved party must exhaust all available mechanisms in that law before going to court.

“Exhibit and evidence showed that the claimant participated in the process even when he was claiming to have been sidelined.

“The claimant did not have any locus standi to institute this suit. Having failed to establish this case, there are discrepancies in the evidence of the claimant. There was no evidence that he was sidelined in the selection process.

“He claimed that the kingmakers did not follow the laid down procedure of selecting a king; however, he failed to show the laid down procedure.

“Even when he claimed that there were irregularities in the selection and installation of the first defendant, he failed to show where the irregularities in the selection process were.”
Reacting to the judgment, the claimant’s counsel, Olalekan Bolaji, said there were so many people aggrieved by the installation of Oba Olugbenle.

Bolaji prayed to the court to make the judgment available as soon as possible so that aggrieved parties would know the next step of action.

He added, “This is the judgment that deep inside the first defendant’s heart, they will be thanking their star that it is in their favour.

“I will be praying that this honourable court should not award cost in this matter at all. We have also incurred a lot of expenses. So many people are not happy that he is even the Olu of Ilaro.

“We are equally seeking that the judgment be made available as soon as possible.”

In his response, Justice Owoduni awarded a cost of N200,000 against the claimant and promised to make the judgment available before Monday.

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