An High Court sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital has declared the appointment and installation of Prince Thompson Oyetunji, the Alajaawa of Ajaawa, via Ogbomoso as illegal.
While delivering her judgement on Monday, Justice Sherifat Adeyemi, noted that the manner in which his appointment and installation were conducted were in flagrant disobedience of court order.
The court in its ruling ordered an immediate withdrawal of letter of appointment and instrument of installation given to him. It granted “an order setting aside the installation and restraining the first defendant from further parading himself as the Alajaawa of Ajaawa pending the determination of the suit filed by the first and second claimants, Oyebunmi Oyewale Azeez, and Prince Kamorudeen Salami.”
In the about two hours ruling, the judge stressed that the appointment and installation carried out by the government during the pendency of the suit in court and against the decision of Justice Fadeyi of June 13, 2019 which restrained the parties from taking any action pending the final determination of the matter, was an aberration in law.
The court found out that the purported meeting which the defendants claimed was held in which there was a consensus agreement to settle the chieftaincy matter out of court was just “a figment of imagination of the defendants from all the evidences before me. The claimants were not at the meeting. The defendants only clandestinely excluded the claimants from the meeting.
” There was no evidence that shows that there has been a move to settle the case out of court and if there is any, it should be brought to the knowledge of the court”, the Judge said.
While submitting that “the order of Fadeyi J is still valid and has not been vacated,” the Judge found in favour of the claimants that two letters, dated May 20, 2020 and June 11, 2020 had different signatures which appeared to have been forged.
“The signature on a letter dated 11th of June, 2020 to counter affidavit appeared to have been forged and not that of the first claimant. It is not out of place to invite the Nigeria Police to investigate the signatures as it appears criminal,” the Judge further stated.
Prince Azeez Oyebunmi Oyewale and Prince Kamorudeen Salami had filed a suit marked No:HOG/32/2013 on behalf of Olumole Ruling House of Ajaawa against the Governor of Oyo State, Attorney General of Oyo State, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Prince Thompson Oyetunji; Chief Adewale Erinle, Chief Ademola Isola, Chief Adegbite Adeleke, Prince Oyegoke Oyegbami, Prince Oladele Akinbola, and Prince Gideon Oyekunle, as defendants.
The claimants had prayed the court for “an order setting aside the purported appointment, and approval and presentation of certificate of installation and staff of office” for Oba Oyetunji by the governor of the state which was done against the court order during the pending period of the suit until final determination of the case
“An order directing the governor of the state, the Attorney General of the state, and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters to immediately withdraw any certificate of installation and staff of office as Alaajawa of Ajaawa which was done against the court order during the pendency of the suit until final determination of the case. An order restraining Oba Oyetunji from parading himself as the monarch or using the connection of the office pending final determination of the suit”.
Meanwhile, counsel to the first claimant, Johnson Orodiran, in his reaction to the ruling, described it as “uncommon,” saying that it will further reinforce public confidence in the judicial system.
Counsel to the second claimant, Okeyinka also commended the Judge, saying, “Right from the word go, I knew that justice will be done in this court. This is not a court of justice for sale. I knew you will deliver the ruling without any fear of favour.”