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Akiolu in court again, battles suit to dethrone him

Oluwatosin Omojuyigbe

The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, on Tuesday at the resumed hearing of a suit challenging his title as the Oba of Lagos, insisted before a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, that he is the bona fide monarch of Lagos.

Akiolu noted that his being capped as Oba during his coronation by a representative of the Eletuedibo Family was not illegal despite that the ceremony was not overseen by Chief Eletuedibo, who personally caps Obas of Lagos.

“Contrary to claims that in the history of Lagos, no Oba has been capped by any person other than Chief Eletuedibo, Oba Adeniji Adele was capped by Chief Gafir who was a member of the family.

“It was one of the members of Eletuedibo family that capped me,” Akiolu said.

Akiolu’s title is being challenged in a suit filed by Prince Sammy Adebiyi and Prince Rasheed Modile, asking for an order of the court to declare null and void the appointment and installation of Akiolu as the Oba of Lagos.

The claimants noted that under the Oba of Lagos State Customary Law, only two ruling houses, Akinsemoyin and Ologunkutere, were entitled to present candidates for enthronement as the Oba of Lagos.

They were, however, contending that it was not the turn of the Ologunkutere to produce the Oba after the demise of Oba Adeyinka Oyekan II.

They argued that since it was the Ologunkutere Ruling House which produced Oyekan, it was the turn of the Akinsemoyin Ruling House to produce his successor.

Akiolu is said to have hailed from a branch of the Ologunkutere Ruling House.

Joined as respondents in the suit were the Governor of Lagos State, the Attorney General of Lagos State, Prince Babatunde Akitoye and Chief Junaid Eko.

While being cross-examined on Tuesday by the claimant’s counsel, Mr. Babatunde Fashanu (SAN), Akiolu reasserted that age-long customs and traditions were followed in his selection as an Oba.

 Responding to claims that he was elected less than 90 days after the demise of Oyekan which was contrary to customs, Akiolu insisted that such rule was non-existent.

“There have been 21 Obas of Lagos before the late Oba Oyekan, in the Lagos State selection of Obas, there is no 90-day rule.

“By the grace of God, I am a lawyer, I am duty-bound to speak the truth, I have a duty to assist the court.

“The 90-day rule does not exist in the selection of Obas,” he said.

Akiolu also disputed the claims of Adebiyi and Modile that he was not a descendant of Oba Ologunkutere.

“Oba Ologunkutere had five children, one of which was Akiolu, Akintoye was the last child and Akiolu and Olufusi were the older children.

“Akintoye was three months old when Oba Ologunkutere died, I don’t know how old Akiolu was when his father died.

“By the grace of God, I am a direct descendant of Akiolu Ologunkutere,” he said.

When asked by Fashanu to state in order of seniority, the children of Oba Ologunkutere, Akiolu said, “I don’t know, I don’t work at the births and deaths registry.

“What is important is that Akiolu is the child of Ologunkutere.

“There have been three members of the Akiolu family who ran for the Oba of Lagos including one known as Baba Ita-Ado, I can’t remember when he ran and I cannot tell lies.

“All Lagos princes, who have no curse placed on them, are entitled to run for the kingship, it is however the prerogative of the kingmakers to choose who will be king.

“Many are called, few are chosen,” he said.

Akiolu added, “The claimants had wanted to meet me somewhere to sign a document regarding the succession but I refused.

“It is not an individual’s chair; it belongs to the past, present and future.

“All human beings should not hate one another, we are equal in the eyes of God but not equal in our love for God,” Akiolu said.

Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson adjourned till July 5, 6, 2017, for continuation of trial.

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