Court overturns demotion of 75 coronet obas in Ogun
The Ogun State High Court on Tuesday overturned the demotion of 75 coronet Obas by Governor Dapo Abiodun on February 6, 2020.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 75 coronet obas had instituted action before the court to challenge their demotion by Mr Abiodun, and had sought the courts to nullify the action.
Other respondents in the suit were the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry.
Delivering judgment on the suit filed by the obas, the judge, Abiodun Akinyemi, affirmed their installation, appointment and promotion, declaring their demotion as unlawful, null and void.
Mr Akinyemi held that the traditional rulers were not given fair hearing by the review committee set up by the state government to look into the issue of their appointment by the previous administration.
He also said the government failed to convey the sack of the traditional rulers to them through the appropriate individual or authority.
The judge ordered the state government should immediately pay the entitlements and remunerations of all the coronet obas from the time of installation.
Earlier in the proceeding, the Egba Traditional Council led by its counsel, Afolabi Fashanu (SAN), had filed an application seeking to be joined in the suit.
Mr Akinyemi in his ruling dismissed the application, saying that he found no merit in the application, which he described as an attempt to arrest the judgment of the court.
He, therefore, awarded a personal cost of N250,000 against Mr Fashanu, saying that as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, he ought to know better than to file such an application.
Mr Akinyemi said since the council wasn’t a party in the matter, the application was frivolous and an abuse of court process.
The News Agency Nigeria (NAN) recalls that on Feb. 6, 2020, Gov. Abiodun had demoted the 75 chiefs promoted to coronet traditional rulers by his predecessor, Ibikunle Amosun.
Mr Amosun had elevated the 75 chiefs to minor Obas at the twilight of his administration, but on assumption of duty, Mr Abiodun set up a committee, which reviewed and recommended that the promotion of the traditional rulers from Baale to Obas be reversed.
The committee headed by the Olu of Ilaro, Kehinde Olugbenle, recommended the demotion of the new coronet obas.
The 75 Obas, who were not satisfied with the action, dragged the governor and other officials of the state government to court, asking for their reinstatement and payment of their entitlements.