Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Supreme Court on Friday sacked a prominent monarch in Oyo state, Eleruwa of Eruwa, Oba Samuel Adebayo Adegbola. The ancient town of Eruwa is headed by a monarch whose recognized traditional title is Eleruwa which means the owner/ruler of Eruwa. In a unanimous judgment, the apex court affirmed the decision of the Ibadan division of the Court of Appeal and dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.
The Justices of the apex court, presided over by Justice Danttijo Mohammad held that the appeal lacked merit and substance and it was consequently dismissed.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun who delivered the unanimous judgment, held that, “the appeal has no merit and is hereby dismissed, I made no order as to cost. Parties are to bear their cost, the appeal is dismissed”. The apex court, having resolved all the five issues raised in the appeal against the appellants, upheld the decisions of the two lower courts. The appellants in the appeal are, H.R.H. Oba Samuel Adebayo-Adegbola (Eleruwa); Chief Samuel Salako Adewusi (the late Odofin Eruwa); Chief Femi Atanda-Jagun of Eruwa; Chief I.O. Olabode-Olukuton of Eruwa; Chief Idowu Okeowo-Asipa of Eruwa; Chief E. Ojebisi-Baale of Agbe Eruwa and Mr. Kasali Sangotikun. Joined as respondents in the appeal are Mr. James Olatunde Idowu, (For himself and on behalf of Laribikusi ruling house excepting Lasubu family or section of Laribikusi ruling house/quarters), Alhaji Rasheed Oyedepo Ajao, Oyo state governor, Oyo state Attorney General and the Ibarapa East local government.
According to the apex court in the judgment, the authorities cited by the plaintiffs/appellants, in their appeal have nothing to do with their case, just as the court held that a lawyer dully signed the originating process and other processes in the matter.
The current Eleruwa, Oba Samuel Adebayo Adegbola, was installed in 1998. He was however dethroned by an Oyo State High Court on January 26, 2011. Justice Ladipo Abimbola in his judgment, affirmed that the process that brought the monarch to the throne was irregular, declaring them null and void. The Judge consequently ordered Adegbola to vacate the seat.
The judge held that Adegbola was not a member of Laribikusi, one of the town’s two ruling houses, whose turn it was to produce the successor to the previous Eleruwa, Oba Bolanle Olaniyan, who died in 1994, describing his recommendation by a section of the family and selection by the kingmakers as irregular and a breach of the provisions of the state chiefs law, the Eleruwa chieftaincy declaration and Eruwa customs.
Dissatisfied with the judgment of the High Court, the monarch approached the Ibadan division of the Court of Appeal, to quash the verdict but was unsuccessful in his bid. The monarch filed an appeal, which was also dismissed.
While presenting his lead judgment, which lasted more than 50 minutes, Justice M.B. Dongba-Mensan said after examination of all the issues raised by the appellant, the court was satisfied with the processes and pronouncement of the lower court on the matter brought before them. He commended counsels to the parties in the petition for their industry.