By Kayode Adeoti, Ilorin

 After 5 years of legal battle, the Kwara State High court, handed down a milestone judgment, nullifying the throne of one Alhaji Adewale Lawal as the Olu-Araromi Opin in Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State.

The trial judge, Justice Mahmud AbdulGafar, said the defendant (Alhaji Lawal) cannot install himself as Olu-Araromi under a community being govern by a monarch, thereby declaring his stool chieftaincy stool as illegal.

He ordered Alhaji Lawal to stop parading himself as Olu-Araromi Opin on the basis that Araromi is a compound in Isolo Opin and cannot have a separate monarch.

Counsel to Isolo-Opin, Barrister Adeseko Olasehinde, described the verdict as a milestone that will go a long way to strengthen peace and harmony among members of the community.

“The judgment has been given in favour of His Royal Highness, Asolo of Isolo, Oba Rapheal Sunday Are, on behalf of Isolo-Opin, in respect of the chieftaincy issue that has been on for sometimes. The judgment confirmed the earlier verdict that was obtained sometime in 1992 that Araromi Opin cannot be separated and it’s part of Isolo-Opin.

“Sometimes in 2017, some people gathered and said they want to install Olu Araromi Opin. It was on this basis the matter was brought to court and today, it’s a victory for the Isolo-Opin.

On his part, the counsel to the defendant, (Lawal) said he would take time to study the judgment in order to know the next step to take.

He said, “though the matter has been decided in favour of Isolo-Opin Araromi Opin will remain Araromi Opin because it’s already in the constitution, it’s gazetted. Whether Araromi Opin is a village in Isolo-Opin, it’s an age-long problem. History will unfold itself over this judgment. The parties know within themselves, the true nature of the situation.

“The judgment is a buckle and I have not fully read it, by the time I obtain it and go through it, I will know what next to do, after all, there is always a right of appeal. For now, it will be stupid to say whether I’m satisfied or not with the judgment.”

While also lending voice, the Asolo of Isolo-Opin, expressed satisfaction over the judgment saying it confirmes that the community is indivisible and it will continue to wax stronger.

Asolo said, “I am satisfied with the judgment. At least I am vindicated. Araromi is an integral part of Isolo Opin. I was born there. If I can be elected as Oba Asolo of Isolo Opin, and my predecessor Oba Michael Dada Oyedele (late), was picked from Araromi too, He built his house at Araromi. This is a clear indication that we are one and indivisible. Two Obas cannot rule in a community. The wrong one must find his way. To God be the glory.”

It would be recalled that the same matter is before Magistrate Ibrahim Muhammed and in one of the hearings, the complainant’s counsel, Barr. Olawale Odewale, urged the court in pursuant to section 141, 48 of CPC to refer the matter to the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police in the state, adding that they should carry out a proper investigation into it and give the report to the court at the appropriate time.

As regards the issue of bail, Odewale said, “I’m not a persecutor but prosecutor, I’m just doing my job, if they are able to furnish the court with good sureties, they can be admitted to bail.”

He further enjoined the court to impose conditions that will make them appear before the court whenever the need arises.

Also, Barr. Adedeji Adebayo who stood in for Ashaolu, told the Court that the alleged offence is ordinarily bailable under section 341 (2) of the Criminal Procedural Code, adding that the accused are eminent and respectable personalities in their community and they are law-abiding.

“Section 36 (5) as amended presumed all defendant’s innocent,” he said.

The presiding magistrate however adjourned the matter then as he equally invoked section 141 and 148 of the criminal code to refer the case to the police for discreet investigation while the accused were granted bail of N50,000 and reasonable sureties in like sum.

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