Funke Busari, Lagos
The Oba Elect, Igbanko of Igbanko Kingdom, Muritala Adekunle Shittu Molade has appealed to the Lagos State Government to avert bloodshed/faceoff, stall full scale crisis, avoid unnecessary loss of lives and property and to forestall breakdown of law and order that could trigger from alleged plans of the State to install one Sheriff Adeshina Bello as the Oba of Igbanko Kingdom without the consent of the three major kingmakers first sought and obtained and as it is contained in the Lagos State Obas and Chiefs Laws of Lagos State.
In the appeal letter, Oba in-waiting speaking the mind of his people stated, “We the people of Igbanko Ruling House (Iga Irede) all of Onigbanko Kingdom are particularly constrained and compelled to write directly to you on the above captioned subject matter in a bid to avert bloodshed/faceoff, stall full scale crisis, avoid unnecessary loss of lives and property and to forestall breakdown of law and order against the backdrop of the sinister moves by the state government to install one Sheriff Adeshina Bello as the Oba of Igbanko kingdom without the consent of the three major kingmakers first sought and obtained and as it is contained in the Lagos State Obas and Chiefs Laws of Lagos State.
The people made further demands thus:
- A nullification of the confirmation of Sheriff Adeshina Bello Oke as the Oba of Onigbanko Kingdom having failed to meet the requirement to fill the vacant stool of Onigbanko Kingdom Chieftaincy Declaration of 1956 and having failed the requirements as laid down in the Obas & Chiefs Laws of Lagos State.
- A demand that the act of the state in proceeding to consider a candidate for the vacant stool of Oba of Onigbanko without recourse to the Abigun family is an infringement on the customary rights of the Abigun ruling house.
- That the Bello Oke Branch wherein Sheriff Adeshina Bello Okebelong to are not the next in line to produce the Oba of Irede Onigbanko kingdomand are not entitled to be considered to fill the vacant stool of the Onigbanko Kingdom.
- That the Bello Branch can’t lay claim to the stool as the next in line
- That we pray the Government stops Sheriff Bello from parading himself as Oba of Igbanko kingdom
- We want the government to prevail on the Mrs Ramota Akinola from further recognizing the Sheriff Bello as the Oba of Igbanko Kingdom as he is not eligible to fill the vacant stool in accordance with the established native laws and customs.
- That there was a breach of fair hearing of other contestant before the selection of the said Sheriff Bello Oke
- We therefore appeal to the listening government under Babajide Olushola Sanwoolu to charge the chieftaincy committee to call all the contestants to the stool and pick the next in line to the stool.
- We pray the government declares illegal, null and void all steps taken pursuant thereto including selection, appointment, approval of appointment, and installation of Sheriff Bello as Oba of Onigbanko Kingdom having violated the customary hereditary rights of over seven hundred years.
- That the nomination of Sheriff Adeshina Bello as the Oba of Igbanko Kingdom pursuant to approval by the state executive council without hearing and determination of Suit No: BD/2098GCMW/2020 was contemptuous, illegal and a n attempt to over reach a court of competent jurisdiction
- If prompt action sis not taken, the suit in court will become academic, speculative, hypothetic action, questionable, theoretical which makes empty sounds and of no practical utilitarian value to the parties of the suit.
- We demand a ban of all coronation processes till the hearing and determination of Suit No: BD/2098GCMW/2016
- We demand a halt to the continuous denigration of the Onigbanko Ruling House by the desperation of Sheriff Bello in conjunction with some stake holders in Amuwo-Odofin. Mr. Governor, we pledge our readiness to work with you, the State Executive Council and the Lagos State Government, to ensure that there is absolute peace in the community and the state as we know the Sanwo-Olu led Lagos State government is a Government of the rule of law. BACKGROUND OF THE STORY 1.Theate Oba of Igbanko land; which covers from Irede. Esepe, Tedi, Muwo, Obele and Igbanko in Badagry died in 2015 after brief illness. 2. Igbanko kingdom extends from Amuwo-Odofin to Ojo and to Badagry and a first class Oba in Lagos State and this was confirmed by the supreme court in SC/1091/1970 BETWEEN Y.A LAWAL VS CHIEF YAKUBU DAWODU delivered by the retired Justice Olawale Elias 3. The process of the selection of Oba commenced in 2015 and with a joint decision taken by the kingmakers who are as follows; CHIEF SANUSI ADAMO (Aro of Igbanko) CHIEF MUTIU AJOSE (Odemo of Igbanko) CHIEF MUTIU KASALI (Odofin Igbanko) that the Abigun ruling house (the next in line ruling house) should present the next in line to fill the vacant stool of their forefathers. 4.That the Abigun ruling house consists of three branches which are Bello Oke, Orimogunje and Molade 5.That the Bello’s by rotation are the first occupant of the stool of the Onigbanko kingdom which is the grandfather of the Sheriff Bello in question. 6.That in the spirit of fairness the kingmakers concluded that the next in line should be from the Molade or the Orimogunje branch. 7.That two of the kingmakers agreed with the submission but one declined and follows the argument of the Bello Oke branch that he is entitled to the stool. Became the king of Igbanko in 1944 -1954. 8.That in 2015 and after careful selection; PRINCE MURITALA ADEKUNLE SHITTU was selected as the Oba Elect of the Igbanko kIngdom with two of the kingmakers signing for him viz; Aro and Odemo of Igbanko kingdom except for the Odofin who signed for the Sheriff Bello. 9.That the Orimogunje branch who should be beneficiary to the stool took the matter to court before Justice Ogundare of the state high court in Suit No: BD/2098GCMW/2016 10.That up and until today the matter is still pending at the court and no doubt badly affected by COVID-19 and the partial opening of courts 11.That on the 28th day of July 2020 our clients got an info of the coronation process of one Sheriff Bello as the Oba of Igbanko Kingdom that his nomination had been approved by the Lagos State Government executive council and immediately we issued a press release intimating government on the voidability of the appointment of Sheriff Bello as the Onigbanko Kingdom due to his ineligibility as the next in line. 12.That also on the 3rd of August 2020, our clients equally submitted several protest letters and petitions to the office of his excellence, the Attorney General of Lagos State and the Commissioner of Justice on the voidability of the confirmation of Sheriff Bello as the Oba of Igbanko Kingdom 13.That we also alerted the government that a matter is in court already challenging the nomination of Sheriff Adeshina Bello as Oba of Igbanko kingdom and the said Sheriff Bello has also exchanged pleadings and represented by a legal practitioner of his choice 14.That it will be subjudice and a flagrant disobedience to a court of competent jurisdiction if the confirmation of selection of the Sheriff BELLO IS ALLOWED TO GO ON despite the pendency of the matter in court. 15.That assuming but not conceding threat the matter is in court, that the process of nomination and selection of Sheriff Adeshina Bello as the Oba of Igbanko by the local government was absolutely devoid of fair hearing and contrary to the principles of natural justice equity and good conscience as our clients being a principal member 0f the Abigun family were not carried along in the selection process, 16.That it’s the turn of the Abigun ruling house to produce the next Oba that the family was not informed that the process is on and we are very sure the state government will frown at such selection process 17.That our clients already filed for interlocutory injunctions stopping the process of confirmation of Sheriff Adeshina BELLO as the OBA OF Igbanko kingdom on the ground of ineligibility and on the ground of absolute disobedience to the pendency of a suit before a court of competent jurisdiction. 18.That the processes had been served on the office of the Attorney General of Lagos State on the 4th of August 2020 19.That despite the service of the motion on notice on the office of Attorney General and the said Sheriff Adeshina Bello and the local government, the local government is still preceding with the process of nomination of the Sheriff Adeshina Bello as the Oba of Onigbanko kingdom. 20.That our clients is coming with this petition as law abiding citizens to inform the government on the reasons while the process of nominations should be suspended till the final determination of the suit before Hon, Justice Ogundare of the Lagos State High Court.