Home » Oyo Kingmakers Appeal Court Decision in Alaafin Selection Dispute

Oyo Kingmakers Appeal Court Decision in Alaafin Selection Dispute

Legal Battle Erupts Over Selection of New Alaafin of Oyo

by Victor Adetimilehin

The selection of the next Alaafin of Oyo, the paramount ruler of the Oyo Empire in southwestern Nigeria, has become embroiled in a legal battle. The Oyo kingmakers, known as the Oyo Mesi, are challenging a recent Oyo State High Court decision that dismissed their lawsuit against Governor Seyi Makinde.

Background of the Dispute

The throne of the Alaafin became vacant in 2023 following the passing of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, who reigned for over 52 years. As per tradition, the Oyo Mesi hold the responsibility of selecting a new Alaafin. The kingmakers assert that they followed due process and selected Prince Lukman Gbadegesin as the new monarch.

The Oyo Mesi filed a lawsuit against Governor Makinde, seeking a court injunction to prevent him from interfering with their selection. However, the court ruled in favor of the governor based on a technicality. The judge determined that the kingmakers failed to properly notify Governor Makinde of their chosen candidate, a mandatory step according to the state’s Chieftaincy Law.

Kingmakers File Appeal, Asserting Procedural Compliance

The Oyo Mesi strongly disagree with the court’s decision and have filed an appeal. They argue that the legal obligation to notify the governor falls on the shoulders of the Local Government Secretary, not the kingmakers themselves. They claim to have submitted evidence demonstrating that they forwarded their decision to the Secretary. Additionally, they contend that the issue of proper notification should be addressed during a full trial, not through a preliminary objection raised by the defendants.

The outcome of the appeal will determine the fate of the lawsuit regarding the Alaafin selection process. If the kingmakers prevail, the court will then consider the merits of their claim and the governor’s role in the selection. The selection of a new Alaafin is a highly significant event for the Oyo people, and this legal battle has the potential to significantly impact the traditional leadership structure of the Oyo Empire.

Kingmakers’ Lawyer Expresses Confidence

In a phone interview, Kunle Sobaloju, the lead counsel for the Oyo Mesi, expressed confidence in their appeal. He clarified that the court’s recent decision only addressed a preliminary objection raised by the governor and did not delve into the merits of the case. Sobaloju emphasized that they have filed a motion for an injunction pending appeal, aiming to prevent Governor Makinde from taking any actions regarding the throne until the appeal is heard.

All eyes are now on the Court of Appeal, which will determine whether Oyo Mesi’s lawsuit can proceed. The outcome of this case will not only decide the selection process for the new Alaafin but could also set a precedent for future traditional ruler selections in Oyo State.

Source: Punch


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