There was wild jubilation in Odo Nla town and across Ikorodu, Lagos metropolis, on Friday as Justice A.F Pokanu granted the prayers of Odeyemi Ofinran royal family in suit IKD/4685MJR/2023.
The suit filed by the family’s attorney, Lukman Ogunsetan of 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. The excitement was contagious.
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 Oba of Ikorodu, HRH Oba Kabiru Adewale Shotobi, Lagos State Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs and Ikorodu Divisional Chieftaincy Committee to the High Court of Lagos State, Ikorodu Judicial Division.
Other reliefs sought by Chief David Afolabi Ekiyoyo and Prince Tola Ogunsami on behalf of the Odeyemi Ofinran royal family include:
“An order granting leave to the Applicants to apply 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 of Lagos State Law Ch.02 Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2015” among others.
It would be recalled 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 handsoff Odonla 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 the Oba Shotobi and Otunba Olanrewaju Afuwape among others of a fresh plot to truncate the wishes of the people of Odo Nla kingdom, Lagos as regards the resuscitation of its 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
It would be recalled 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 respectively 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. “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 rumors, lies and petty propaganda emanating from the quarters of disgruntled individuals and interlopers and none 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 fictious 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, HRM 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 are in top gear for the coronation of Olowolekomoh, plans were uncovered that Otunba Olanrewaju Afuwape’s name has 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 for upgrading to Obaship”.
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 on Wednesday adding that the royal families of Ogbodo and Raselu are 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.
Adesola who led the youths in last week’s protest said the battle has been won, “not the war, so until our Oba Elect is crowned, we, the Odo Nla people will not rest. We will not allow some people with vested interests to come and dictate to us how we elect our King.”
He gave a little background of the issue. “It occurs that the Obaship status of Odonla has been held unattended to years back mainly in the era of the immediate late Ayangburen of Ikorodu, HRM Oba Salaudeen Afolabi Oyefusi (Oguntade ||). The family had made countless attempts in the struggle to revive the long anticipated stool of FUWAGBADE Of Odo-Nla but through the lukewarm influences of the late King over the Ikorodu local council authourity all documents presented were suppressed in transits and without seeing the lights of the day.
Adesola continued: “After all processes were done and dusted, the Omo’ba Meta of Odo-Nla Royal family through an unanimous decision and consensus picked Omo’ba Olusoga Elias Adeyemi Olowolekomoh through a painstaking selection process and his emergence thereafter brought significant development projects with ongoing promises to do more to enhance the growth and development of our great kingdom of Odo-Nla respectively. Subsequently, the Omo’ba Meta Royal Family Odonla were invited by the Ayangburen of Ikorodu who claimed to have intended to settle some rifts among the Omo’ba Meta Royal Family of Odo-nla and our Otunba, Chief Olanrewaju Afuwape but was later discovered to be indulging Otunba Olanrewaju Afuwape as his preferred choice of interest and candidate against the expressed wishes of Odo-Nla community at large. After all these evil plots and connivance were uncovered, the Kabiesi claimed he is helping the family with upgrading the status of the Otunba of Odonla to an Obaship, a claim the entire family found absolutely unacceptable and unpalatable which they rejected and condemned in clear words and terms with the following statement in quote. We demand for the resuscitation of our long Anticipated FUWAGBADE stool” and “No Oba can install another” respectively.”