Supreme Court Affirms Olofa’s Selection
The Supreme Court, yesterday affirmed the selection of Alhaji Mufutau Muhammed Oloyede Gbadamosi, Okikiola Esuwoye II of the Anilelerin Ruling House Offa as the 24th Olofa of Offa. Justice Walter Onnoghen delivered the unanimous judgment of the five justices, Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Nwali Ngwuta, Mary Peter-Odili and Amiru Sanusi.In his lead judgment, Onnoghen held that the appointment by the Kwara Government was in line with the customs and tradition of the people of Offa. Onnoghen held that Anilelerin is the only authentic ruling house that could ascend the thrown of Olofa, adding that the Olugbense ruling house had no historical backing.
“From the history, customs and tradition of the people of Offa, it is clear that Anilelerin ruling house, is the authentic and only ruling house backed by native law and authority that can ascend the thrown of Olofa. He also dismissed the principle of rotation of the kingship in Offa land. If there is rotation as claimed by the Olugbense family, the principle will have started before the ascension of the immediate past Olofa, Oba Mustapha Olanipekun.
“This court also found, as a fact, that there is no rotational policy in existence as far as the stool of Olofa of Offa is concerned. The claim of the Olugbense family has no historical backing and therefore, the claim of the appellant, through a counter claim on the issue, succeed and is hereby affirmed.”
The court also held that the ascension to the throne is by election and not by rotation as claimed by the Olugbense family. He also declared the state government Gazette of 1970, which recognised Olugbense ruling house was null and void because it was contrary to the customs and tradition of the people of Offa.
The apex court also set aside the judgments secured by the plaintiffs at the state High Court and the Court of Appeal Division in Ilorin. The court, however, expressed the hope that the customs and traditions of the people being dynamic was subject to changes depending on the practices of people concern at the particular time.
“It is hoped that in due course Offa people, particularly the ruling house will see need and reasons to effect necessary changes to enable Olugbense descendants ascend the stool ones again.”
The court encouraged the people to talk things over and find a peaceful solution to the problem and advice the state government accordingly. Alhaji Saka Adeyemo, Abdulrauf Adegboyega Keji and Saka Keji of Olugbense family had challenged the appointment of Gbadamosi as Esuwoye II.
They contended that the appointment contravened Section 3(3) of Kwara State Government Edict on appointment of and deposition Chief�s law of 1970. The claimants had said that the law made provision for rotation between their family and the Anilelerin family.
In their originating summons argued on their behalf by Mr John Olusola Baiyashea (SAN), the plaintiffs claimed that it was their turn to produce the Olofa in line with the principle of rotation. Oba Gbadamosi was represented by a team of lawyers led by Mr Yusuf Olaolu Ali (SAN)