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UPDATED: Oyo Chief Judge Dismisses Suit, Says Selection Process Of New Olubadan Can Go Ahead
The Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola, on Tuesday, declared that there is no court proceeding delaying the selection and installation of the Olubadan of Ibadan again, adding that parties can proceed in the process leading to the selection of a new king.
Justice Abimbola made this known after dismissing a suit filed by Senator Lekan Balogun and seven other Ibadan High Chiefs, contesting the validity of a consent judgment given by a state high court on November 19, 2019 in suit M/317/2017.
The Chief Judge in his brief judgment on the suit declared that the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957 stands unmoved like the rock of Gibraltar and is unaffected by any step taken so far.
He added that he was dismissing the suit and not striking it out as requested because issues have been joined and argued in the matter which he said was a result of the order of the appellate court pursuant to Section 16 of the Court of Appeal Act 2004.
According to him, “The Appellate court held that the judgment of the lower court delivered on 19 January 2018 is set aside, and the case is submitted back to the Honourable Chief Judge of Oyo state for retrial before another judge. Parties are to file pleadings; the case was referred to another judge but instead of filing pleadings, consent judgment was entered into and this case arose from that.
“However, the claimants brought this application to discontinue the suit and predicated it on the interest of peace and there was no objection to their application. In my own view, since the court of appeal has set aside the judgment appealed against and in this case, there was a specific order of re-hearing; the judgment of the Court of Appeal stands and remains in perpetuity until reversed by a superior court.
“Now, the suit had been applied to be withdrawn, I will not hesitate to grant the withdrawal application and leave is hereby granted for the case to be withdrawn.
“But since judgment of the trial court had been set aside, the status quo before the commencement of all proceedings stands, therefore, it means there was no change in the provisions of the Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957 since there is a ruling that composition of the Commission of Inquiry was not determined appropriately and therefore it is vide and irregular.
“The case is hereby dismissed but there is no order to cost,” Justice Abimbola held, explaining that nothing is stopping the Olubadan selection process again when parties raised the issue of getting a copy of the judgment immediately.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, Kehinde Eleja (SAN), counsel to Senator Lekan Balogun, had informed the court that he has an application dated January 31, 2022 and filed on February 1, 2022 for the discontinuance of the suit, adding that he had served the process on all parties and was ready to move it before the court.
The application was supported by a four paragraph affidavit deposed to by a counsel identified as Grace Asaolu and a written address. He said he was ready to move the application and prayed for an order granting leave to discontinue the suit.
Eleja added that there was no counter affidavit filed against the petition and urged the court to grant his prayer in the interest of peace and justice of Ibadanland, praying to the court to strike out the case.
In his submissions, Sanya Akinyele, counsel to the state government and its agencies, informed the court that he is not opposing the application and appreciated the applicant for the line of action he had taken to withdraw the suit. He however asked that the court dismiss the suit and did not ask for any cost.
On his part, Kehinde Owoade, the counsel to former governor Rashidi Ladoja confirmed that he had been served the process and he had no objection to the application for discontinuance. He however urged the court to direct the applicants to pay the sum of N500, 000 to each of the respondents.