19th November, 2010
An Auchi High Court in Edo yesterdayÂ settled the eight-year old Ohordua clanÂ chieftaincy dispute.
The dispute, which started soon after the demise of the traditional ruler, ChiefÂ Burns Aikpaojie, in 2002, had claimed many lives in the Esan Local Government AreaÂ of the state.
The dispute over the legitimate successor to the throne was between two sons whoÂ were born by the two wives of the late ruler.
After his father’s death, Matthew Aipaojie, the plaintiff, claimed that he had beenÂ installed as the new monarch only for the other son, Ailabogie Aipkaojie, theÂ defendant, to lay claim to the title and chasedÂ his brother from the community.
The latter had laid claim to the stool on the grounds that he, and not Matthew, wasÂ the firstÂ son of the late royal father.
The dispute led the plaintiff to approach the court, asking it to recognise him, andÂ not his brother, as the rightful occupant of the stool.
Joined in the suit were Ailabogie, the sixth defendant; the state government,Â Commissioner forLocal Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Esan South-East LocalÂ Government and two others as defendants.
In her judgment, Justice E. F. Ikponmwen, said the evidence provided by the defendantÂ showed that he was older than the plaintiff.
The judge, however, noted that the plaintiff provided documentary evidence to showÂ that he was installed as the new monarch after his father’s death by the clan’sÂ king-makers, while evidence that the defendant was installed was provided only byÂ his mother.
She subsequently awarded N5,000 as costs to the plaintiff.
However, the counsel to the defendant, Mr Edward Yalaju, rejected the judgment,Â saying:
“I can tell you that we have this morning filed a motion to quash this judgmentÂ because the defendant was not given fair hearing.
“This is no judgment; the judge foreclosed us and we have reported this to theÂ chief justice.”
In his reaction, the counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Nyerhovwo Ohre, lauded theÂ judgment, describing it as “very comprehensive”.