Justice Olabisi Ogungbesan of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja Frida stopped the ongoing coronation ceremony to fill the vacant stool of Ayangburen, the traditional ruler of Ikorodu Kingdom of Lagos State.
The stool became vacant last August, following the demise of Oba Salaudeen Oyefusi (Oguntade II) on August 2, 2014.
Prince Kabiru Adewale Shotobi from the Lasunwon Ruling House was appointed as successor by former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola on March, 26.
The ceremony to crown the new Ayangburen, 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 incumbent Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, or anyone acting under his authority, from going ahead to crown the current Odofin of Ikorodu, Shotobi, as the Ayangburen of Ikorodu Kingdom.
The judge also stopped Shotobi 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 one Odupitan Eniola, from the Lambo branch of the Lasunwon House.
Eniola, through his lawyer, Mr. Joseph Okobiemen, had approached the court with an ex parte application praying it to halt the scheduled coronation of Shotobi, who hailed from the Adegorushe branch of the Lasunwon House, as the new Ayangburen of Ikorodu Kingdom.
The applicant claimed that it was the turn of the Lambo branch, 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 Shotobi became the Odofin of Ikorodu Kingdom, 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 the coronation as prayed.
The judge directed that the order should be served on the respondents within five days and adjourned the motion on notice till August 26, 2014 for mention.
Joined as respondents in the suit are Shotobi; the Olisa/Regent of Ikorodu, Chief Zacheus Odusoga; and other kingmakers 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.
Princes from Ikorodu had besieged the Lagos House of Assembly on Thursday, June 25 in protest, urging calling for Ambode to remove Shotobi, who was said to have been imposed on them by Fashola in what was described “kangaroo coronation’ three days before he left office.
The protesters came wielding various placards with inscriptions such as “Kabiru Shotobi, stay in your position as Odofin of Ikorodu”, “BRF- 3 days to exit, you created problems for Ikorodu,”, “BRF- Where in Yorubaland is staff of office given before Iledi Oshugbo and Ipebi? and “BRF- No programme for the palace commissioning and staff of office” among others.
The crowd was led by Prince Oluowo Adeyeri, Mr. Oluwafemi Sodipo and Prince Taoreed Olanrewaju Sotubi.