By Nkasi Kolie
Controversy is currently trailing a judgment delivered by an Oyo State High Court, sitting in Ogbomoso, over the deposition of the occupant of the stool of Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom, Oba Sunday Oladapo Oyediran Lagbami Osekun III in Ogbomoso South Local Government of the state.
The Oyo State High Court, in the recent judgment, delivered in November 2021, but was obtained this week, ordered the monarch to henceforth stop parading himself as the paramount ruler of Ijeru Quarters, Ogbomoso.
The judgment followed a litigation instituted by Chief Popoola Olaniyi Elijah against Chief Oladapo, the Oyo State governor and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Oyo State over the chieftaincy stool of Ijeru.
The presiding judge, Justice K. A Adedokun, in the judgment mandated the Governor of Oyo State and his agents from further recognising Chief Oladapo as the ruler of Ijeru Quarters.
The claimant was represented by his counsel, C. I Olinya, while Mr. Femi Oladimeji held the brief for first defendant. The second and third defendants, according to the judgment, did not make any legal representation. The chieftaincy stool of Ijeru had been a contention between the Ijeru and Onpetu Chieftaincy families of Ogbomoso for some decades.
According to the court order, “Pursuant to the judgment of this honorable court, delivered on the 24 April, 1987 in suit number HOG/12/86 to which there is no pending appeal against, the claimant (Baale of Ijeru) is the ruler of Ijeru Quarters in Ogbomoso township, Oyo State. The second and third defendants are hereby directed to recognise the claimant as the ruler of Ijeru Quarters, Ogbomoso.
“The first defendant is perpetually restrained from parading himself or claiming or putting himself out as the paramount ruler of Ijeru Quarters, Ogbomoso township, Oyo State”.
The claimant, Chief Olaniyi Elijah had told the court that the second and third defendants did not appeal an earlier judgment delivered by  Justice T. A Ayorinde on 24 April, 1987, which removed the first defendant from the chieftaincy stool.
Among the three defendants, the court said it was only the first defendant that contested the suit while the second and third defendants, despite being served with the originating summons on August 3, 2021 and hearing notice on November 5, 2021, did not give attention to the notice.
“It is trite that a court of law cannot force a defendant to defend against himself. If he chooses not to defend when all opportunities open to him are available, it means he is ready to be bound by the outcome of the case, whichever way it goes.”
The first defendant, however, said through his counsel that the court should call for oral evidence to know whether or not there was an appeal against the earlier judgment. But the court held: “I therefore hold that the said judgment is still valid as there is nothing before me to warrant holding otherwise. Accordingly, issues two and three are also resolved in favour of the claimant.”
But in a swift reaction, the palace of Onpetu has described the news of his deposition as a hoax. In a statement made available to journalists by an aide to the monarch, Segun Adedayo, the palace said the case adjudicated by Justice Adedokun did not involve Oba Oyediran, rather it was a case instituted by Chief Adeleke Lawal the Baale Ijeru, until 1998 and Oba Oyediran’s immediate predecessor Oba Yusufu Abidoye Mobolade, the then military governor of Oyo State and the then Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Oyo State.
“The judgment was delivered in favour of the claimant on April 21, 1987 by Hon. Justice T.A.A Ayorinde of Oyo State High Court Ogbomoso Division. Not satisfied with the judgment, Oba Mobolade appealed at the Court of Appeal Ibadan in the suit CA/IB/96/88. All necessary processes completed waiting for adoption of processes filed, both the appellant and respondent died.
“On February 13, 1999, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), appearing for the
respondent moved the Court of Appeal to the fact that both the appellant and the respondent are dead, being chieftaincy matter that the appeal be determined. In the court ruling by Hon. Justice M.O Onalaja J.C.A, we quote “from the briefs, the issues before the Court of Appeal is a chieftaincy matter.
“We are of the view following decided authorities of the Supreme Court and this court that chieftaincy matter is personal action, and does not survive the death of the parties, more also when the action was not instituted in a representative capacity based on Oyeyemi vs Commissioner for Local Government of Kwara state 1992 NWLRT270 page 462, SC Chief RITWHITE and 5 ORS. Chief Gordon Borbon JOW YOUNG
JACK 1996 2 NWLRT43, page 467 CA, we therefore strike out this appeal being personal action, it does not survive the estate. We make no order of costs.”
“Consequently, since a litigant is bound by the words and actions of his lawyer, if Chief Popoola Olaniyi Elijah (the third successor to the original plaintiff, Chief Adeleke Lawal), is dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal, the next place for him to go is the Supreme Court, not Oyo State High Court.
“In view of the above submission, suit HOG/24/21 between Chief Popoola Olaniyi Elijah (for himself and on behalf of the other members of the Ijeru (?) chieftaincy family of Ogbomoso) and Chief Sunday Oyediran Oladapo (for himself and other members of the Onpetu chieftaincy family of Ogbomoso and others), upon which the purported deposition of Oba Sunday Oyediran (not Chief Sunday Oyediran Oladapo sued by the claimant) is based, is not supposed to be entertained by Hon. Justice K.A Adedokun in the first instance.
“However, since in his wisdom he decided to review and reverse a case that had been adjudicated by the Federal Court of Appeal, we have decided to go back to the Court of Appeal rather than joining issues with the propagandists.”

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