There are growing concerns over the apparent snail pace of the case challenging the installation of Gbolahan Lawal as the Oniru of Iru land in June 2020 currently before Justice Safari J.
Recall that in December 2019, Prince Akeem Ajasa, a Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, was chosen as the Oniru-elect to succeed the late Oba Abiodun Oniru, who died on September 23, 2019, at the age of 82.
Ajasa’s declaration as the Oniru-elect suffered a major setback when the entire Omowunmi Abisogun ruling family house rejected his announcement saying that his branch, the Ewunmi branch and other branches of Abisogun ruling house are strangers and not of royal lineage.
The Omowunmi branch of Abisogun ruling house proceeded to institute a suit by Afusatu Kabiawu and Suraju Durosimi and one other (as representatives of the Abisogun ruling house, Omowunmi Abisogun Oniru chieftaincy family.
In the case filed on 31/12/2019, with suit No: LD/6681GCMW/2020, Kabiawu claimed that Omowunmi Abisogun Oniru is the only branch of Abisogun ruling house of Iru royal family. He claimed in a declaration that the succession to the Oniru chieftaincy family is hereditary and Abisogun ruling house is next to nominate a candidate.
But amid the disagreement, the race to fill the vacant stool took a new twist by May 2020, when the State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, imposed Prince Gbolahan Lawal, also from Ewunmi sub-branch of Abisogun ruling house, a former commissioner in Lagos state and ADC to Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as the Oniru-elect.
Lawal was consequently sworn in on June 8, 2020, amid lingering disagreement and a court order challenging the stool and a court relief seeking a restrictive injunction against the State Government.
Ajasa, through his lawyers, proceeded to file a statement of defence dated December 1, 2020, which was thereafter regularized by the court on December 9.
Ajasa also filed a motion, dated December 18, seeking to join Bola Ahmed Tinubu as well as Prince Gbolahan Lawal as parties to the suit as defendants to the counter-claim earlier raised in the defence. The said motion was strictly resisted by Prince Gbolahan Lawal, through his counsel, Chief Ayorinde SAN.
But 18 months after, the motion is still pending and has not been heard. It was learned that Ajasa’s lawyers again filed a motion dated February 3, 2021. The motion sought several prayers including; the declaration that the stool was vacant at a point in time when the matter was instituted; that the state government proceeded to install Prince Lawal while the suit was pending and sub-judice, and that the installation be set aside and the vacancy of the stool be maintained.
The court had on 07/04/2022 heard arguments on whether it could suspend the hearing of the preliminary objection filed on 05/03/20 by the state government until after the hearing of the substantive case and adjourned the matter till 30/06/2022 for ruling.
But according to Ajasa’s lawyer, Ishola Agboola (Esq), “on 30/06/22 when parties reconvened in court to hear the ruling, they were informed that a further date for the ruling was not ready and that a further date for the delivery of the ruling will be communicated.”