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Another Ondo monarch deposed

A few weeks after a monarch was deposed in Akure by the Ondo State government, a High Court sitting in Okitipupa, Ondo State, yesterday ordered the deposition of the Olofun of Ode-Irele, Oba-Olanrewaju Lebi.

The monarch was deposed because of conflicting claims to the family he said he came from.Delivering judgment on the suit filed by the Opesi family through their lawyer, Mr.Kayode Okimoba, Justice Olabode Adegbehingbe described the nomination of Olanrewaju as unlawful and ordered him to stop parading himself as king forthwith. But the deposed monarch has vowed to go to court  when his lawyers finish their comprehensive document. In his one and half hour judgment, Justice Adegbehingbe held that all the processes adopted by the council and the Ondo State government towards the presentation of staff of office to the deposed monarch were alien to the customs and traditions of Ode-Irele town.

He pointed out that there were three existing royal branches, the Orunbemekun, the Jagboju, and the Opetusi families that were recognised by the tradition of the town as ruling houses.

The judge wondered why the Irele Local Government Council through the Secretary to the Local Government, should invite a candidate from a another ruling family known as the Oyenusi family, to be presented for appointment as king.

He said neither the Ondo State government nor the Irele Local Government had any right whatsoever to alter the tradition and customs of any town in the state as regards the selection and nomination of their kings. He therefore restated the practice of the people’s tradition and customs by directing that since the last late monarch, Oba Feyisara Odimayo, who died in January 1993 was from the Jagboju royal family, the Opetusi family should immediately begin the process of presenting the next candidate to fill the vacant throne.

The counsel to the Opetusi family, Mr. Kayode-Okimoba, described the judgment as a landmark verdict and commended the judge for upholding the rights of the people above the action of government that was capable of altering their collective customs and traditions.

It would be recalled that a few months after Oba Odimayo died on the throne in 1993, the Irele LGA invited the Oyenuscouncil and the state government went ahead to install Olanrewaju-Lebi as the Olofun of Irele in 1995.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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