Two prominent lawyers; Mallam Gani Ashiru and Banjo Aiyenakin, have disagreed on the implementation of the Supreme Court’s judgement which dethroned a first class monarch, and Alale of Akungba-Akoko, Oba Isaac Sunday Ajimo, in Akoko Southwest Local Government Area of Ondo State.
While Ashiru said the Supreme Court had dethroned Oba Ajimo as the Alale of Akungba, Aiyenakin insisted there was no order to that effect and that what the court ordered was the maintenance of status quo pending the hearing of the substantive suit.
Ashiru had written a letter to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu that Oba Ajimo should be dethroned following the decision of the Supreme Court and an earlier decision of the Court of Appeal over the authentic monarch of the university town.
But Aiyenakin said Akeredolu would probably have been misled to take improper action on the state of Obaship matter in the varsity town if he is not a learned member of the wig and gown profession.
His words: “He would have been led astray on the legal issue of Obaship stool of the University community of Akungba Akoko in Akoko South West Local Government Area of Ondo State”. Aiyenakin who spoke against the backdrop of speculations making the rounds that Oba Adeyeye had been deposed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, disclosed that he had written to the Governor on the contentious issue still pending in court. But Ashiru who represented Agure and Mokun ruling house asked the government to dethrone the monarch of the town as all courts in the land have set aside the installation of Ajimo as the Alale of Akungba-Akoko.
Asiru said the Supreme Court has dethroned Oba Ajimo and that government should implement the judgement of the court. In an open letter to Governor Akeredolu, the ruling house said it would be unthinkable for a government headed by a Senior Advocate to disobey court’s judgement. Asiru noted that Oba Ajimo was appointed when the matter “was pending at the Court of Appeal, Akure, by the immediate past administration in the state”.
Asiru, in his letter, noted further that the immediate past Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, “in flagrant disobedience to the order of the court, went ahead to appoint Oba Isaac Sunday Ajimo as the Alale of Akungba”.
The letter reads: “It is this violation of rule of law that we are inviting and praying your Excellency to correct. The law is clear, until set aside, judgement of court remain sacrosanct and must be obeyed.
“Following directive of the state government, the process of appointing a successor was commenced and Prince Isiaka Oseni Adu emerged and his name forwarded to the State Executive Council for approval. “However, the Ajimoh branch of the Ole ruling house went to court by the institution of Suit No. AK/195/2007 praying the court to stop the approval. “The Agure and Mokun counterclaimed.
At the end of the trial, the Ajimo’s claim were dismissed and the reliefs contained in the counter-claim of our clients granted. “The court ordered that Government should not consider any list other than the one which produce Prince Isiaka Oseni Adu. “The court further declared Prince Isiaka Oseni Adu as the Alale elect. Dissatisfied with the judgement, the Ajimo branch went to court of appeal to challenge the judgement of the trial High Court, the appeal was dismissed.
They further went to supreme court but the appeal was struck out. “If status quo be maintained, there is no basis for Oba Isaac Sunday Ajimo to be in the office as Alale because he was appointed when the case was pending at the court of appeal and in flagrant disobedience of court order.
It is a case of appointment pendente. “What Oba Sunday Ajimo and his team are doing is clear contempt of court and regrettably, we as counsel that should uphold rule of law are assisting him on this. “We are not challenging their right to appeal, but as the Court of Appeal held in the recent case of Federal Government versus ASUU, the appellant must comply with the order of the trial court as affirmed by the court of appeal before applying for leave.
“We are sure if the attention of Mr. Governor has been drawn to this, he would not have withheld his assent to the removal of any person appointed as an Oba in contempt of the two superior courts”.