Justice Olabisi Ogungbesan of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Friday halted the ongoing coronation ceremony to fill the vacant stool of Ayangburen, the traditional ruler of Ikorodu Kingdom, in Lagos State, western Nigeria.
The Ayangburen stool became vacant on August 1, 2014 after the passage of Oba S.A.A. Oyefusi.
The ceremony to crown the new Ayangburen, which had been scheduled for Saturday, August 15, 2015, was halted by Justice Ogungbesan “in the interest of justice.”
Ogungbesan said she was satisfied from the evidence placed before the court that unquantifiable damage would be done if the coronation ceremony was allowed to go on as scheduled.
She therefore restrained the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, or anyone acting under his authority, from going ahead on Saturday to crown the current Odofin of Ikorodu, Chief Kabiru Shotebi, as the new Ayangburen of Ikorodu Kingdom.
The judge also stopped Shotebi from either “presenting himself for coronation” or “parading himself as the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, or actualising any recognition thereon as such, or exercising any of the Ayangburen royal functions,” pending the determination of a suit filed by Odupitan Eniola, from the Lambo branch of the Lasunwon chieftaincy family of Ikorodu Kingdom.
Eniola, through his lawyer, Mr. Joseph Okobiemen, had approached the court with an ex-parte application praying the court to halt the scheduled coronation of Shotebi, who hails from the Adegorushe branch of the Lasunwon chieftaincy family, as the new Ayangburen of Ikorodu Kingdom.
The applicant claimed that it was the turn of the Lambo branch of the Lasunwon chieftaincy family, from which he came, to present the next Ayangburen, adding that he had been nominated by the family to be crowned as the new Ayangburen at meetings held on September 7 and 21, 2014.
Eniola claimed that the Adegorushe family had already benefitted after Shotebi became the Odofin of Ikorodu kindgom, following a court judgment on April 1, 2009 in a suit marked IKD/57/2007.
Besides, Eniola claimed that there was a case pending in court bordering on a dispute over the vacant stool, saying that if the coronation ceremony was allowed to go on “a fait accompli will be foisted on the honourable court.”
“The 1st respondent is making plans, during the pendency of this suit and in concert with other respondents, to organise a coronation ceremony, which is now in the advanced stage, to crown the first respondent as the Ayangburen of Ikorodu Kingdom, in a ceremony which has been scheduled to hold between 2nd and 15th August, 2015.
“This is in spite of this suit pending before this honourable court.
“The claimant wants the honourable court to exercise its discretion in favour of the claimant by granting this application, so as to preserve the order and judgment of this honourable court made in suit number IKD/57/2007.
“The balance of convenience is on the claimant’s side and the claimant will suffer more if the respondents are allowed to continue their acts of flagrant disregard for the orders, judgment and suits pending before the honourable court.
“I undertake to pay damages to the respondents if this application is wrongly granted,” Prince Shakiru Shodipo, a principal member of the Lambo branch, averred in an affidavit of urgency.
Justice Ogungbesan, in her ruling on Friday, said she found merit in Eniola’s application and therefore stopped Shotebi’s coronation as prayed.
The judge directed that the order should be served on the respondents within five days.
She adjourned the motion on notice till August 26, 2014 for mention.
Joined as respondents in the suit are Shotebi; the Olisa/Regent of Ikorodu, Chief Zacheus Odusoga; and other kingnakers of Ikorodu Kingdom – Chief Afolabi Adekanyaoja, Chief Karimu Ore and Chief Jacob Adaraloye.
Others sued were the Ikorodu Local Government, the Ikorodu Division of Council of Obas/Chiefs, the Secretary, Ikorodu Chieftaincy Committee, the Lagos State Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs, the Attorney General of Lagos and Lagos State Governor.