BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
There was wild jubilation in Odo Nla town and across Ikorodu, Lagos metropolis, last Friday, as Justice A. F. Pokanu of a Lagos State High Court, sitting in Ikorodu, granted an order seeking the immediate resuscitation of the community’s Obaship stool by the Oba of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Adewale Shotobi, Lagos State Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs and Ikorodu Divisional Chieftaincy Committee.
The court granted the prayers of the Odeyemi Ofinran royal family in a suit marked IKD/4685MJR/2023 and filed by the family’s attorney, Lukman Ogunsetan, of PP Ogunsetan & Co, which sought: “An order granting leave to the Applicants for an Order of Mandamus to compel the Respondents to perform their legal or statutory duties of taking further or necessary steps towards the conduct of an inquiry into the Applicants’ proposal for the resuscitation of the Obaship stool of Odo-Nla town in Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos State as the Respondents are mandated to do by Sections 24 and 25 (1) & (2) of the Obas and Chiefs Law of Lagos State,Ch.02 Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2015.”
The courtroom, filled with Odo-Nla youths and community leaders, erupted with excitement when the judge gave ruling in their favour.
For allegedly refusing to perform their legal and statutory duties, the royal family of Odeyemi Ofinran of Odo Nla town, Ikorodu, Lagos, recently took the Respondents,including Oba of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Adewale Shotobi, Lagos State Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs and Ikorodu Divisional Chieftaincy Committee, to court.
The Applicants, including Chief David Afolabi Ekiyoyo and Prince Tola Ogunsami,on behalf of the Odeyemi Ofinran royal family, asked the court to order the Respondents to revive the Odo-Nla stool in accordance with the law.
Recall that, last week, youths of the Lagos community embarked on a peaceful protest to decry the alleged meddlesome activity of the Ikorodu monarch in the affairs of their town. With placards bearing messages such as, “Kabiesi Ayangburen, Please, Hands-off Odo-Nla Royal Stool”, “Freedom is Priceless for Odo Nla People in the restoration of her Royal Heritage”, “Say No to Treachery from Oba Ayangburen on This Matter,” among others, Odo Nla community youths marched to the residence of Olootu Omoba Meta (Head of the three Royal families of Odo Nla), Otunba David Afolabi Ekiyoyo, in Ikorodu, Lagos State.
The youths accused Oba Shotobi and Otunba Olanrewaju Afuwape, among others,of a fresh plot to truncate the wishes of the people of Odo Nla kingdom, as regards the resuscitation of the ancient Obaship tradition. The youths also accused the royal father of meddling in the traditional affairs of independent communities in that region simply because of his appointment as Chairman of Ikorodu Divisional Chieftaincy.
The Oba has since denied the allegations in different reports.
HOW THE ISSUE BEGAN
Recall that Prince Olusoga Elias Adeyemi Olowolekomoh emerged the Oba-elect of Odo-Nla kingdom among other five contestants to the ancient throne, from the Ogbodo and Raselu ruling houses, who contested for the royal crown.
It was a painstaking and thorough exercise that produced Olowolekomoh as revealed by Otunba Ekiyoyo, in a statement after the announcement of Prince Olowolekomoh.
The statement had read, “Sequel to the formal announcement from the office of the Olotu Omo’ba Meta Royal family, Odo-Nla via a press conference at the community town hall on Thursday, 4th January, 2022, it has become imperative for the office once again to issue another official statement in the public’s interest to dispel the ubiquitous rumours, lies and petty propaganda emanating from the quarters of disgruntled individuals and interlopers and non-Omo’ba Meta Royal family members, coming up with so many different manipulated unrealistic stories, that shall all be dealt with accordingly in the tribunal soonest.
“That Prince Olusoga Elias Adeyemi Olowolekomoh is the most suitable and perfect Oba-elect according to the best Odu Ifa prognosis and divination interpretations of the oracle consults as acknowledged by non-Omo’ba Meta Royal family members,Odo-Nla, different twisted and fictitious stories that shall all be discredited accordingly at the tribunal soonest. It is also without doubt that he possesses sterling quality leadership skills, sets of sound moral character and mind complimented by high level educational background in conjunction with his verified amiable charitable disposition and relations with different segments of the Odo-Nla community at large.
“With the above findings and recommendations, it is credible beyond any doubt whatsoever that Prince Olusoga Elias Adeyemi Olowolekomoh in all finality emerged as the consensus Oba-elect in a unanimous decision and agreement between the entire Omo’ba Meta ruling houses of Ogbodo, Raselu and Upenyenwa,respectively, prior to the official announcement and formal presentation to the Odeyemi Ofinran Royal Family at large, including general members of the public in Odo-Nla.”
And just recently, the heads of the three ruling houses, Ogbodo, Raselu and Upenyenwa, all signed a joint statement affirming the decision of the Omo Oba Meta led Obaship committee in the palace of Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Adewale Shotobi, who was present with his cabinet and large number of Omo’ba Meta Royal family members at the special resolution gathering.
Furthermore, in an appreciation letter dispatched to the Ayangburen of Ikorodu dated August 15, 2022, all parties resolved to continue with the “resuscitating process and procedure embarked on as the collective voice of the entire family of Odeyemi Ofiran Royal family members.”
It then came as a rude shock that as preparations were in top gear for the coronation of Olowolekomoh, plans were said to have been uncovered that Otunba Olanrewaju Afuwape’s name had been forwarded by the Chairman, Ikorodu Divisional Chieftaincy Committee who incidentally is the Oba of Ikorodu to the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs for him to be upgraded from his Otunba to Oba status against the wishes of Odo Nla people.
The Lagos State Government, however, in a reply to the prayer for Afuwape to be made Oba, dated April 3, 2023 and signed by L. A. Folami on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, made it clear that for anybody to be upgraded to an Oba status, “in accordance with the Chieftaincy Law, the report of the Tribunal is compulsory.”
The Oba of Ikorodu was copied in the letter
“And that put paid to their surreptitious plans to undermine the wishes of Odo Nla people,” a member of the Omooba Meta family who does not want his name in print, revealed, adding that the royal families of Ogbodo and Raselu were aware of all their plans.
Reacting to the court victory on Monday, Prince Mare Ibrahim Adesola, President of Odo Nla Youths Association, in a statement, praised the judiciary for standing to the truth, justice and fairness.