Ondo Court stops Installation of new Ajowa Akoko Monarch

The Ondo State High Court sitting in Ikare-Akoko has ordered parties in the chieftancy tussle of the Oludaja of Daja-Ajowa in Akoko Northwest local government area of the state to stop process of selecting or installing one Chief Yahya Obaniyi, as the monarch.

The Court held that the State government, Chief Obaniyi and other parties in the suit should maintain the status quo pending the determination of the case challenging the eligibility of Yahya Obaniyi to the throne of the Oludaja of Daja Ajowa-Akoko.

The Claimant in the suit, Ibowe Clan Of Oyagi Ruling House, Daja Ajowa-Akoko, had approached the court to stop the installation of Obaniyi, insisting thag nobody in Yahya Obaniyi’s lineage has ever been appointed or installed as the Oludaja of Daja Ajowa and it is therefore a customary aberration for him to declare himself the Daja monarch or to be recognized as such by the State Government.

Defendants in the suit are; Chief Yahya Obaniyi, Akoko Northwest local government; the State Commissioner for local government & Chieftancy Affairs; the State Attorney General, the Ondo State Governor, (Oluwarotimi Akeredolu) and the Ondo State Executive Council.

The Court presided over by Justice O. Abe, had on Monday 25th April, 2022, therefore issued an order unequivocally directing the parties to maintain the status quo ante pending the determination of the substantive suit, thereby restraining the government from going ahead with purported installation of Yahya Obaniyi as Oludaja on 13th May, 2022.

Speaking with newsmen, Barr. Femi Emodamori, the lawyer to the Oyagi Ruling House, Daja Ajowa-Akoko, cautioned against violating the Court order, saying “the public needs to know that the Ikare Akoko Judicial Division of the State High Court, presided over by Hon. Justice O. Abe, has issued an order unequivocally directing the parties to maintain the status quo ante pending the determination of the substantive suit on Monday 25th April, 2022.

“It is public knowledge that Chief Yahya Obaniyi, parading himself as Oludaja of Daja Ajowa-Akoko, has been planning elaborately for his “installation” scheduled for 13th May, 2022, and advertising the event to the public in several radio and social media adverts.

“Instructively, the Ibowe Clan of Oyagi Ruling House in Daja Community (our clients)  had, as far back as 2020, filed a case at the Ikare Akoko Judicial Division of the Ondo State High Court, seeking declarations to the effect that it is their turn to present the next Oludaja and that Chief Yahya Obaniyi is not a member of their Clan.

“Our clients are equally seeking injunctions against Chief Obaniyi and the State Government in the said Suit, with number HIK/7/2020: High Chief (Prince) Muraina Obawumi Obadun & 4 Others V. Chief Yahya Obaniyi and 5 others.

“In spite of the pending court case, Chief Yahyah Obaniyi is claiming to have secured the approval of the State Executive Council and advertising the purported installation scheduled for 13th May, 2022. He has equally been advertising and selling customized traditional attires, popularly called “aso ebi”, for the planned installation.

“By necessary implication (of the court order) therefore, the coronation/installation (of Yahya Obaniyi) scheduled for 13th May, 2022 can no longer hold. Any attempt to perform or be part of such ceremony will amount to contempt of court and attract severe criminal sanctions.”

“The Arakunrin Akeredolu, SAN led government of Ondo State has never hesitated in professing its avowed commitment to the rule of law. We therefore believe that the government would never be tempted to treat the order of the court with disdain,” the lawyer said.