By Michael Adesanya/Abeokuta
An Ogun State High Court sitting in Ipokia local government area of the state has began hearing on cases relating to the stool of Onipokia of Ipokia.
It would be recalled that the Oteni Bote Mole royal family of Iwaye Dodo ruling house and other actors had taken kingmakers of Ipokia Traditional Council, Ogun State government and the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy to court for what they said is the wrongful selection of Mr Yisa Olaniyan by a minority vote – contrary to a 1956 declaration and a valid restraining order on the process of selecting the new Onipokia.
At the sitting, the presiding judge, Justice Sikiru Owoduni adjourned the case to February 23 to begin hearing on the Obaship tussle.
Owodunni ruled that the date is set aside for the definite hearing on the matter brought before the Court by the Iwaye Dodo ruling house against the Ogun State government and four others.
The royal family had earlier claimed that the said Olaniyan was in no way related to the Iwaye- Dodo ruling house nor is he a member of Oteni Bote Mole Royal Family whose turn it is to produce the Onipokia.
At the sitting, the presiding judge while reacting to an oral observation made by the counsel to the fourth respondent, warned the media to be objective in their reportage of the court proceedings, warning that the court will always be impartial to all. He said the parties in the matter before the court should not involve the judiciary in their politics.
“Let me sound a note of warning to all the parties, including the media, this is a court of law, whenever you want to play your politics, please always endeavour not to involve the judiciary. The judiciary is to play its role as enshrined in the constitution, and the court will not hesitate to wield a big stick on anybody that intends to ridicule it.”
The Oteni Bote Mole Royal Family had earlier called on the State government and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to stay off in meddling in the process of selecting a new Onipokia of Ipokia.
The royal family, at a Press Conference following the demise of the immediate past Onipokia of Ipokia, said the process for the installation of a new Oba commenced with the next ruling house to present a candidate to fill the vacant stool.
They said: “It then become incumbent on the Iwayedodo Ruling house to present the candidate for the stool. Eight candidates presented themselves for the contest . However out of the 16 kingmakers eligible to select the candidate and at the instance of the Ipokia local government council, only five (5) are still alive.
“However, its news worthy to emphasize that it is compulsory that both Olisa and Aro must be part of the selection team, but at the moment both occupants of these titles are not alive, therefore making the selection process without them an exercise in futility
“It is also worrisome that these five people went ahead to select their own choice in contrary to the position of law and custom of Ipokia ancient community
“However while we were waiting for the fresh selection process, we just heard that one Yisa Olaniyan Adeniyi Adelakun had been selected and later presented with the staff of office by the state Government.
“While other contestant claimed foul play to the selection process with a petition to the Ogun state government, a response came with the cancellation of the entire selection.
“This fraudulent selection and subsequent installation is nothing short of miscalculated error.
“Uneasy calm enveloped the community and protests of all shades and action inimical to the peace of the community were being planned before wisdom from elders in the community prevented the breaking down of law and order
“Several law suits by different aggrieved contestants and indigenes of the community are yet to begin hearing in the court off law at Ipokia. They are boasting openly that no court will hear our case by both the kingmakers and their anointed king.
“The family therefore appealed to Ogun state government not to intervene in the court process.”