From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom, Oba Sunday Oladapo Oyediran Lagbami Osekun III in Ogbomoso South Local Government of Oyo State, has appealed to his subjects to calm down and ensure that the peace in the kingdom is not disturbed over his alleged deposition, which he described as a hoax.
The monarch sued for peace in a press statement that he personally issued on Thursday and was made available to journalists, saying he had been inundated with plethora of enquiries by his subjects at home and in the diaspora, government officials, traditional rulers, friends and well-wishers, following recent online and traditional media publications, “regarding a purported deposition of myself as the Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom on the order of the High Court of Oyo State sitting at Ogbomoso.
“Ordinarily, I would not have responded to such publications, but for the need to calm the community down, allay the fears of concerned citizens, ensure that the peace is not disturbed and to set the record straight. Emphatically, I wish to state that there is no court judgment, deposing me as the Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom and there has never been any litigation challenging my rights and entitlements to the throne of Onpetu.
“The judgment of Honorable Justice K.A Adedokun upon which the publications were made is premised on the Judgment of Honourable Justice T.A.A. Ayorinde of the Oyo State High Court, sitting at Ogbomoso, in suit no HOG/12/86 between Chief Adeleke Lawal and Oba Yesufu Abidoye Mobolade and two others.
“Oba Yesufu Abidoye Mobolade being dissatisfied with the judgment of Honourable Justice T.A.A. Ayorinde approached the Court of Appeal, sitting at Ibadan in Appeal No CA/IB/96/88 wherein the Court of Appeal in its ruling of 13th day of December, 1999 held that ‘from the briefs, the issue before the Court of Appeal is a chieftaincy matter. We are of the view, following decided authorities of the Supreme Court and this Court that chieftaincy matter is personal action and it does not survive death of the parties more also when the action was not instituted in a representative capacity based on Oyeyemi v Commissioner for Local Government Kwara State (1992) 2 NWLR (Pt270) 462 SC, Chief R.I.T White & 5 Ors v Chief Gordon Jow Young Jack 1996 2NWLR Pt 431page 467 CA. We therefore strike out this appeal being personal action, it does not survive the estate. We make no order of cost.’
Oba Oyediran stated further: “Suffice it to state that as at the time the Court of Appeal Ruling was delivered, both parties to the matter were deceased. Similarly, the subject matter of the suit has nothing to do with the throne of Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom. As a law abiding citizen who believes in the judicial system of this country, legal steps have already been taken to ensure that historical records and facts are not distorted.”
The monarch also delved briefly into history, saying: “From history and historical records, Ijeru being ruled over and upon by the Onpetu is distinct and different from Ogbomoso and this is supported by Iwe Itan Ogbomoso, which is regarded as a leading authority on the History of Ogbomoso, wherein the author stated that Ijeru and Ogbomoso are different as Laka Stream is the boundary between the two towns.
“The history of Ijeru Baptist Church Ogbomoso (1879-2015) also buttressed this fact at page 30, wherein the narrative on Ogbomoso-Ijeru dichotomy was documented. This dichotomy formed the basis of departure of some members of the nascent Osupa Baptist Church in early 1890’s to join Ijeru Baptist Church as reported in the History of First Baptist Church Okelerin.
“Two key points are being made here: The people of Ijeru saw the Church as their own, joined it and worked for its progress and development; the land on which the church was built was granted to the church by Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom.
“The segment of the judgment orchestrated in the media is a misrepresentation aimed at confusing the members of the public. Fortunately, chieftaincy authorities in Oyo State are not so swayed. For the avoidance of doubt, therefore, there is no judgment deposing me as the Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom; I was appointed and installed as Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom and not limited to Ijeru quarters.The Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom being an ancient beaded crown Oba and the title of Onpetu of Ijeru is documented in several books of record from the Colonial Administration records till the present Oyo State, attesting to this notorious fact that my Chieftaincy is Onpetu of Ijeru.
“The Chiefs Law, Government White Paper, Gazettes and my Instruments affirm my title as Onpetu of Ijeru and there is no contention to the contrary, indeed, the Onpetu of Ijeru Chieftaincy has been a member of the Council of Obas and Chiefs since 1958 and the title is extant and known as such from inception till date.
“Let me at this juncture use this medium to call on all my subjects both home and abroad, friends and well-wishers to remain calm and be reassured that the Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom is not impacted in any manner by the story being orchestrated in the media and I shall continue to function effectively as the Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom by promoting the welfare and wellbeing of all my subjects and inhabitants.”