For Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and current Governor of Ondo State, the situation in Afin-Akoko should be one of his major focus as he settles down for his second term in office, reports The Gazelle News.com.
For the senior lawyer, who had once led the association of legal practitioners in the country, who profusely profess to upholding the rule of law, the obaship in Afin-Akoko Town should be a litmus test for the confirmation of his avowed belief in the Rule of Law.
The traditional stool of Afin-Akoko in Akoko North West Local Government Area of Ondo has been a major bone of contention among the ruling houses in the community.
There are three major ruling families in the town: Idi Olojudo, Ode Asigi and Ode-Gbangba but over the years the later family has consistently been excluded from participating in the obaship process of the town.
When the last occupant of the stool joined his ancestors and the race for his successor commenced, the Ode Gbangba family insisted on participating with Prince Micheal Odeja as its flagbearer.
The Kingmakers, in conspiracy with the local government, again excluded the Ode Gbangba Ruling House from the process which promoted their taking the matter to court for arbitration.
It should be noted that the Ode Gbangba Ruling House has been denied obaship stool for about five times with two ruling Houses rotating between them.
When it was obvious that they would be denied the opportunity of producing the next monarch of Afin-Akoko for the umpteenth time, the Ode Gbangba Ruling approached the High Court in Akure to fight their case.
After years of legal tussle, the Court acknowledged the right of the Ode Gbangba family as a Ruling House but was not categorical whether it should produce the next Oba, being the bone of contention.
This prompted the Ode Gbangba family to approach the Appeal Court seeking the court’s pronouncement to produce the next Oba.
The Court of Appeal sitting at Akure on 5 November 2020 ordered that parties to the Appeal No:CA/AK/208/2017 between Meshack Odeja (Appeallant) & Ors. V Chief Zacheaus Adewunmi & Ors.(Respondents) to maintain status quo pending the determination of the appeal.
Maintaining status quo in this ruling means that all processes involved in selecting and installing the new Alafin of Afin-Akoko be suspended immediately until the determination of the Appeal filed by the Ode Gbangba family.
However, the Ondo State Government, the Akoko North West Local Government and the Kingmakers risk being committed to prison.
They are going ahead with preparations to install one Alhaji Abudu Adejoro of Ode Asigi Ruling Family as the new Alafin of Afin-Akoko.
For a governor who is a SAN and former President of NBA, it is expected that the Akeredolu administration will not taken action in flagrant contravention of the decision of a law court.
Uptill the time of writing this report, the defendants in the Appeal have not file their briefs despite being in receipt of the Appellant’s brief.
The fact remains that Ondo State Government led by a SAN, Rotimi Akeredolu is condoning act of lawlessness if the installation process is allowed to go ahead.
Already, the Appellants have filed a contempt proceeding against the defendants.
Time will tell whether Mr Governor allows this illegality to go on.
Below is the copies of the Court of Appeal proceeding which halted the selection and installation processes.