Ondo State High Court, presided over by Justice Bolatito Ajibade has struck out the motion for stay of execution of judgment deposing late Babajide Lawrence Oluwole as the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo in the Ile-Oluji/Oke-Igbo Local Government Area of Ondo State.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Ademola Enikuemehin in Suit N0 HOD/80/2018, filed by two princes from the Aare Kugbaigbe Ruling House, Rufus Adekanye and Temitope Adeoye, head and secretary of the house respectively, had, through their lawyer, Chief Sola Ebiseni, challenged the enthronement of Babajide Lawrence Oluwole as the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo by the Ondo State government.
Delivering his verdict on the 13th day of April 2023, Justice Enikuemehin held that Babajide Lawrence Oluwole, not being a descendant of Aare Kugbaigbe was not a member of the Aare Kugbaigbe Ruling House and therefore not qualified under the declaration to be proposed as a candidate for the vacant stool or be made the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo.”
The court consequently gave an injunction restraining “the fifth defendant ( Babajide Lawrence Oluwole) from or further parading himself or allowing himself to be paraded as or accorded the rights and privileges pertaining to the person, title and office of the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo.
The judge further said, “Under the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo Declaration contained in Part Two of Justice Adeloye Judicial Commission Of Inquiry On Chieftaincy Matters, eligibility to the throne is restricted to the descendants of (1) Odo Eleyowo (2) Aare Kugbaigbe (3) Kuole Oloje (4) Aderin Ologbenla (5) Ajibike Adedimeji of the male linage who are thus constituted as the five Ruling Houses of the Chieftaincy.
Declaring the stool vacant, the Court directed the Defendants (Ondo State Government) to set in motion the proper processes of selection and appointment by inviting the claimants (Aare Kugbaigbe Ruling House) to present candidate (s) to fill the vacant stool of the Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo chieftaincy in accordance with the customary law, and the Chiefs Law of Ondo State.
However, Babajide Lawrence Oluwole, through his lawyer, Olalekan Ojo SAN on 17th April 2023 filed a Notice of Appeal with a motion for stay of execution of the judgment pending the determination of the appeal.
However, on the 30th day of April 2023, Babajide Lawrence Oluwole joined his ancestors.
At the hearing, the Applicants applied for the withdrawal of the motion for stay of execution.
Ruling on the Motion, Justice Ajibade observed that the High Court has been served with processes showing that the Appeal had been entered at the Court of Appeal, declined jurisdiction and consequently struck out the motion for execution.
Addressing journalists after the sitting, Prince Rufus Adekanye, head of the Aare Kugbaigbe Ruling House said with this development, the road was clear for the appointment of a new Olu-Oke of Oke-Igbo from the Aare Kugbaigbe Ruling House in accordance with the customary law of the Chieftaincy and the judgment of Justice Enikuemehin.
Besides, he said those who claimed to have filed the Appeal were neither princes nor recognized chiefs in Oke-Igbo.
He wondered how those he referred to as busybody would remain in court on behalf of Babajide Lawrence Oluwole who had since 30th of April joined his ancestors at the age of 94.