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Court dethrones Ondo Monarch

An Ondo State High Court sitting in Okitipupa, the headquarters of Okitipupa Local Government Area, has removed Prince Olanrewaju Ayeromora as the Regent of the Ode Irele town in Irele LGA of the state.

The verdict has put an end to the lingering ‘obaship’ tussle which has rocked the ancient town for almost 30 years.

One of the ruling families, the Opetusin Ruling House, had approached the court to stop one Oyenusi family from contesting the stool on the grounds that the family was not a ruling house.

The suit was filed by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Mr Bode Famakin, and had the State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu; the Special Adviser to the Governor on Chieftaincy Affairs; the Secretary, Irele local government, Chief Ajigbore Olagundoye, and Claudius Lebi as defendants in the suit. The fourth and fifth defendants are representatives of Oyenusi and Ojomo Houses.

The stool of of Olofun of Irele became vacant following the death of Late Oba Olanrewaju Lebi, who passed away in January 1993. After the death of the monarch, Ayeromora was appointed to be the regent of the community pending the installation of another substantive monarch.

The Opetusin Ruling House insisted that the Oyenusi family was not entitled to contest the vacant stool, saying it (Opetusin House) had already nominated a candidate, Prince Bamidele Ekunsanmi but the process of installing the candidate was not done by the government.

The plaintiff also stated that since it had its ‘obaship’ candidate ready, there was no need for the regent to be staying on the throne. It prayed the court to stop the Oyenusi House from contesting the throne.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Tope Adedipe ruled that the government should begin the process of confirmation and presentation of staff of office to the plaintiff’s candidate, Prince Bamidele Ekunsanmi, as the new monarch of Irele town.

The court also ordered that the Olanrewaju Ayeromora should stop parading himself as the regent of the town.

In his reaction, the counsel to the Irele LGA, Ajama Ediwolatei, said the council’s response to the judgment would navigate his position.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Irele LGA, Mr. Segun Ajimotokin, called on the people to remain calm as the court remained a legal institution to always reckon with.

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