20th July, 2012
An Ilorin High Court has affirmed the appointment of Oba Mufutau Oloyede Gbadamosi as the Olofa of Offa.
In the ruling that lasted for about nine hours, Justice Suleiman Mobolaji Akanbi said though there are two ruling houses in Offa, comprising the Olugbense and Anilelerin, succession to the stool of Olofa is not on a rotational basis but a competitive one.
“Succession to the stool is competitive between the two ruling houses where the occupant is determined by the traditional kingmakers after due consultation based on the customs and tradition of the indigenes.”
Having taken into consideration the extant laws and evidence of the witnesses, Akanbi noted that it was not stated anywhere that the appointment of Olofa should be on rotational basis, adding that the court has no business deducing meanings not expressly contained in the Constitution.
He added that the appointment of Olofa is based on the custom and tradition of the people rather than fairness, equity and justice being espoused by the claimant’s counsel.
The case, which began two years ago at an Offa High Court was between Oba Gbadamosi of Anilelerin Ruling House and Rauf keji of Olugbense Ruling House. The claimant had urged the court to declare, null and void the appointment of Oba Gbadamosi as the Olofa of Offa.
The claimant also prayed the court to declare him as the rightful person to occupy the stool of Olofa after the death of Oba Mustapha Olawoore Olanipekun in 2010.
He claimed that it should be the turn of Olugbense ruling house to occupy the stool having been cheated and marginalised by the Anilelerin ruling house.
The plaintiff counsel, John Bayeshea, SAN, urged the court to consider the principle of fairness, equity and justice and grant all the reliefs being sought by the claimant.
The defence counsel, Rafiu Lawal Rabana, SAN, however, urged the court to dismiss all the reliefs being sought by the claimant for lacking in merit, submitting that none of the evidence and exhibits in witness before the court stated that ascension to the Olofa stool should be rotated between the two contending ruling houses.
According to him, it is the responsibility of the king makers of Offa to appoint a suitable candidate among the competitors from the two ruling houses and therefore urged the court not to take into consideration the issue of fairness, justice and equity so as not to drag the court into sentiments.
—Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin