Appeal court settles tussle between two obas 

The Court of Appeal, sitting in Akure, Ondo State, has struck out a suit filed challenging the recognition of the Owa-Ale of Ikare, Oba Kolapo Adegbite-Adedoyin by the state government as a traditional ruler of Ikare in Akoko North East Council, in a suit was filed by the Olukare of Ikare, Oba Akadiri Salisu-Momoh.

The appellate court panel, led by Justice Obande Ogbuinya, ruled that the appeal instituted by Oba Saliu-Momoh and five members of his family against Owa-Ale and state government lacked merit, an abuse of judicial process and was status barred.

The judgment held that Olukare lacked legal ground to challenge the chieftaincy status of Owa-Ale as a monarch in Ikare, considering various laws, including the Public Officers Protection Law, Cap 103, Volume 5, Law of Ondo state 1978 and Section 4 (1a) of the Limitation Laws Cap 61, Laws of Ondo state 1978.

The court subsequently resolved three issues raised by the appellants for determination in favour of the three respondents- Owa-Ale, state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

Justice D.I. Kolawole of the Ondo State High Court in Akure had on July 26, 2011, in suit No. Ak/260/2010, held that the case was an abuse of court process, status barred and that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

The appellants, through their lawyer, Mr. Dele Adesina (SAN), filed the appeal against the verdict, praying the appeal court to declare Owa-Ale chieftaincy as illegal and to compel the state government to stop recognising him as a monarch in Ikare-Akoko.

In their counter arguments, Counsel to the 2nd and 3rd respondants, Mr. Segun Akeredolu and the lead counsel to Owa-Ale, Mr. Olawale Ijatuyi, urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal since similar case had been resolved in favour of Oba Adedoyin in 2009.

Their counsels also argued that Owa-Ale was recognised under the 1976 Chieftaincy Law, in the judgments of the state high court in Suit No: AK/43/81 and AK/171/2007, while the 1999 White Paper on the Report of Justice Adeloye Commission also listed “Owa-Ale” title among recognised Obas in Ondo State.

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