I’m bona fide Oba of Lagos, Akiolu tells court

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Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos yesterday told Justice A. Candide-Johnson of the Ikeja High Court that he is the bona fide paramount ruler of Lagos.

Oba Akiolu, accompanied by 10 white cap chiefs, was in court over a case filed by Princes Adedoyin Adebiyi and Rasheed Modile, challenging his ascendancy to the throne.

He said: “I am here to justify my appointment, you cannot build something on nothing, it will be broken. By native law and customs and by law, I am the bona fide Oba of Lagos.”

Joined as respondents in the suit are the governor, attorney-general and Commissioner of justice, Prince Babatunde Akitoye and Chief Junaid Eko.

Adebiyi and Modile are claiming that Akiolu is ineligible to be king because he is not a member of any royal family and a direct descendant of Oba Ado, the first Oba of Lagos.

According to the claimants, only members of the Ologun Kutere and Akinsemoyin ruling houses are entitled to the throne.

They alleged that proper customary rules and procedures were not followed when Oba Akiolu was appointed as Oba in May 2003.

Led in evidence by his lawyer, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, Akiolu narrated the procedure he followed before being installed.

“After I made my intention known to my family that I wanted to be Oba of Lagos, I applied for the throne. In May 2003, the head of the kingmakers and the then Sole Administrator of Lagos Island Council called at my residence. At that time I was preparing to go to the mosque and I was told that I received a letter from the state government and the State Executive Council.

“The letter accepted my nomination that I have been approved to be a worthy successor of the late Oba of Lagos. It will be exactly 14 years tomorrow (May 23) that my appointment was approved. By the grace of Almighty Allah, there is nothing like rotation in the succession to the throne of Oba of Lagos,” Akiolu said.

Before cross-examining Akiolu, the claimants’ counsel, Mr Babatunde Fashanu (SAN), applied that Akiolu should be addressed as the defendant and not the Oba of Lagos for the purpose of the case.

“I apply that all referrals to the defendant as the Oba of Lagos should be expunged from the records of this honourable court. Within the walls of this courtroom, he is a defendant and when we step out of the courtroom, I will lie down and greet him as ‘Kabiyesi’ because I am like a son to him,” he said. The court did not grant the request.

Akiolu told the court that he had a relationship with Fashanu’s father when he was working as a lawyer during his early years of legal practice 32 years ago.

“I know your father, I used to carry files for him when we were working together.”

Responding to Fashanu’s question whether proper customary procedure was followed when he became King, Akiolu said he was installed according to the customs of Lagos as Oba by kingmakers.

“Akiolu is a direct descendant of Oba Ologun Kutere, there is no registered declaration for the throne.

“It is the old customs and the recommendations of the Price Commission which is over 100 years ago that is still valid till today.”

Akiolu also debunked claims that the Akiolu royal family is not one of the ruling houses because it is non-existent.

He said: “Despite the letter from the Lagos State Government confirming my appointment as Oba and stating that I am from the Akiolu royal family, I want to make it clear that a royal family and ruling house means the same thing. My appointment as the king is the first time in history that kingmakers will be unanimous in selecting an Oba of Lagos.”

Justice Candide-Johnson adjourned till June 19.

Source: The Nation

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