From: Romanus Okoye
At the resumed hearing of a suit, on Tuesday, challenging his title as the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, insisted that he remains the bona fide monarch of Lagos.
At an earlier sitting on May 22, a day to the 14th anniversary of his coronation on May 23, 2003 as the Oba of Lagos, Akiolu, citing historical sources, told the court that he is the bona fide monarch of the state.
Akiolu’s title is being challenged by Prince Adedoyin Adebiyi and Prince Rasheed Modile who are both of the Akinsemoyin Ruling House of Lagos.
Adebiyi and Modile were candidates chosen by the Akinsemoyin Ruling House to contest the Obaship title in 2003 after the demise of Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, the then Oba of Lagos in 2003.
They lost the race to become Oba of Lagos to Akiolu who they alleged has no rightful claim to the throne.
Joined as respondents in the suit are the state governor, the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Prince Awobade Pearse, a representative of the Ologun Kutere Ruling House and Chief J.J Junaid – Eko, the head of the traditional white cap chiefs of Lagos.
Other respondents include – Prince Kola Balogun and Mr Musibau Kelani, who are respectively the Head and Secretary of the Eshilokun royal family.
While being cross – examined on Tuesday by Mr Babatunde Fashanu (SAN), Akiolu reasserted that age-long traditional 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 is contrary to customs, Akiolu said that such a rule was non–existent.
“There have been 21 Oba of Lagos before the late Oba Oyekan. In the Lagos State selection of Oba, there is no 90-day rule. By the grace of God, I am a lawyer. I am duty bound to speak the truth. Ihave a duty to assist the court. The 90-day rule does not exist in the selection of Obas,” he said.
Akiolu disputed the claims of Adebiyi and Modile that he was not a descendant of Oba Ologun Kutere, a former Oba of Lagos who reigned from the late 1700s to the early 1800s.
“Oba Ologun Kutere had five children, one of which was Akiolu, Akintoye was the last child and Akiolu and Olusi were the older children.
“Akintoye was three months old when Oba Ologun Kutere 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 Ologun Kutere.
While responding to Fashanu’s question about the order of seniority of the children of Oba Ologun Kutere, Akiolu stated “I don’t know, I don’t work at the births and deaths registry. What is important is that Akiolu is the child of Ologun Kutere. There have been three members of the Akiolu family who ran for the Oba of Lagos including an Akiolu family member 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 king makers to choose who will be king. Many are called, few are chosen,” he said.
Akiolu noted that his being capped as Oba during his coronation ceremony by a representative of the Eleboro family was not illegal despite the ceremony not overseen Chief Eleboro, 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 Eleboro, Oba Adeniji Adele was capped by Chief Gafir. The Eleboro family capped me,” he said.
Akiolu denied holding grudges against individuals who he allegedly disliked by preventing them from succeeding him as the monarch in future.
“The claimants had wanted to meet me somewhere to sign a document regarding the succession but I refused. It is not an individual chair. It belongs to the past, present and future. All human beings should not hate each other, we are equal in the eyes of God but not equal in our love for God,” Akiolu said.
The matter was adjourned till July 5, 6, 11, 2017 for continuation of trial.