Court declares Onipokia kingship seat vacant in Ogun State

A High Court of Justice in Ipokia Judicial Division, Ogun State has declared the seat of Onipokia of Ipokia vacant and has banned the kingmakers from appointing any chief of the town as the new king.

The court presided over by Justice Gboyega Ogunfowora made the declaration while dismissing a preliminary objection by the kingmakers of Ipokia traditional council of chiefs, in a trial on the chieftaincy tussle to elect a new Onipokia of Ipokia, in Ogun West area of the State.

Justice Ogunfowora struck out the objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to adjudicate on the matter, describing the preliminary objection as frivolous and unmeritorious. The Claimants in the trial, the Asade-Adekanbi Royal Family, which include Prince Adesola, Prince Adepegba and Princess Akinleye Alaba had taken the kingmakers of Ipokia traditional council to court for the wrongful selection of one Yisa Olaniyan through minority voting as against a 1956 declaration and the directive of the state government in a process to pick the new Onipokia.

The family also claimed that the said Yisa Olaniyan was in no way related to the Iwaye-Dodo ruling House nor a member of the Asade-Adekambi Royal Family and by extension, whose turn is next to produce the Onipokia. In a bid, to stall the trial the kingmakers, led by the 7th Defendant, the Esemo of Ipokia, Chief Fatai Agbeyemi, he had raised a preliminary objection on the grounds that the Asade Family in filing the suit, failed to comply with the mandatory requirements of the Chiefs Law of Ogun State, describing the action as hasty, premature and incompetent.

The claimants filed a counter affidavit stating that upon the wrong selection process of Olaniyan as the Onipokia of Ipokia, the Chairman of Ipokia Local Government was prompted to complain through a written document, while there was a letter of the state government nullifying the selection process. Both letters were tendered as exhibits in the trial.

Justice Ogunfowora pointed out that:

“the pleadings in the case proved that no formal appointment of a recognised Chief had been made by the Kingmakers and communicated to the appropriate authorities.”

He said, it would not be in the interests of justice for the claimants to fold their arms and look on, while their perceived rights were being allegedly infringed. Justice Ogunfowora, in his final analysis, said:

“the preliminary objection of the 7th Defendant is dismissed as being frivolous and unmeritorious in the light of the above.”

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