Penultimate Tuesday, at the resumed hearing of a suit HED/48/2021 before the Osun State High Court sitting in Ede over contentious Alawo stool, a young private Legal practitioner, Barrister Oluwatobi Adeyeri has told the Court that all the contents contained in the Notice of Preliminary Objection of the Counsel representing the State Government which are 4th to 6th Defendants in the Suit were flaws, describing the contents in their process filled before the Court as tissue of confusion and embodiment of errors.
However, the Counsel to Prince Taiwo Abdulrasasaq Adegboye, Chief Dauda Babalola, the Balogun of Awoland and Chief Saka Adesola, the Jagun of Awoland as 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants respectively, appealed to the Court for structural adjustment of their applications because of identified errors of claiming to be representing the 7th Defendant(Egbedore Local Government area, Awo) without filing Conditional Memorandum of Appearance to the effect in Court, in the Affidavit and Presumed Further Affidavit in Support and claiming in his written address that Plaintiff Counsel cited Order 17 rule 7 of Osun State High Court amended (Civil Procedures) Rules 2008 for not filling Statement of Defence and issue of Demurrer, which the Court turned down.
Until when the Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Kudirat Akano, confronted him if he filled the Conditional Memorandum of Appearance to represent the 7th Defendant before the Court, which he declined vehemently.
But the Plaintiff Counsel in his written address only cited Order 15 Rule 7 of the amended High Court of Osun State Civil Procedure Rules 2008 on a matter that has to do with fraudulent act and abolition of Demurrer, supporting his position with the case of Achineku Vs. Ishagba (1988)NWLR (Part89)page 411 of 420, Ojukwu Vs. Oneador(1991)7NLWR(part203) page 286 and Chuks Vs. Ezutihe(1986)5NWLR(part43 at 1).
On jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the Suit, the Plaintiff Counsel submitted that in the instant case(HED/48/2021),the objectors (1st-3rd Defendants) have not filled their statement of Defence in this Suit and therefore, cannot raise the issues in the Preliminary Objection, submitting that “the Court has the jurisdictional competence to determine this Suit, in that, in determining whether or not a Court has jurisdiction to entertain a Suit, the Court is enjoined to look at the Writ of Summons and Statement of claim of the Plaintiff. In this regard, the defence of the Defendant or what he perceived to be the weakness of the case of the Plaintiff is not material. See Abu Vs.Odugbo(2001)7SCNJ 262 at 299”.
Adeyeri, who is from Yinka Muyiwa Chambers, Lagos, insisted before the Honourable Court of Justice that the contents in the Notice ofPreliminary Objection which contains the fundamental errors made the application to be dead on arrival.
Barrister Adeyeri, representing the Plaintiff/Claimant in the Suit, Prince Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman, while Mr. Anbali Adisa representing the State Governor, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and Attorney General Commissioner for Justice as 4th, 5th and 6th Defendants in the Suit respectively.
The Plaintiff Counsel told the Court that the 4th to 6th Defendants claimed in their Affidavit of representing 1st to 3rd Defendants and as well working for the 1st to 3rd Defendants and also signed to claim further of being the Counsel to 9th to 12th Defendants, which made Plaintiff Counsel to be wondering if ghosts have joined the Suit because Suit HED/48/2021- Between Prince Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman Vs. Prince Taiwo Abdulrasasaq Adegboye &6 Ors.
But Mr. Anbali argued by adopting all the contents in their Affidavit in Support of Preliminary Objection dated 16th day of March, 2022 and deposed to by the Chief State Counsel, Mr. Nureni Okunola, that there were many Suits in respect of Alawo stool by urging the Court to grant their applications of dismissing the Suit because the Plaintiff/Claimant Suit HED/48/2021, was brought before the Honourable Court of Justice to harras, irritate and annoy Prince Taiwo Abdulrasaq Adegboye, Chief Dauda Babalola, the Balogun of Awoland and Chief Saka Adesola, the Jagun of Awoland, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants respectively which they claimed in the Affidavit to be working for them.
Arguing further, Mr. Anbali, the Director in Osun State Ministry ofJustice, through a 25 paragraphs written state(statement) on Oath dated 16th day of March, 2022 and deposed to by one Mr. Alliyu Olawale Muse, a Principal Administrative Officer(PAO) in the Osun State
Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, claimed that the Plaintiff( Prince Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman) participated in the screening and selection process which led to the emergency of 1st Defendant as new Alawo through the Abioye Royal Family minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 2nd day of September, 2020 and 1999 Alawo Chieftaincy Declaration was the subsisting Declaration to select the 1st Defendant because it was the turn of Abioye Ruling House to produce Alawo of Awo in accordance with order of rotation of Alawo Chieftaincy Declaration of 1978.
Anbali then submitted that the 1st Defendant was duly appointed as new Alawo by relying on the attached 7th Defendant(Egbedore Local Government area, Awo) letter with Reference N0: ELG.396/T/24, dated 12th August,2020 and signed for one Mrs. Olabimtan F. Abiola on behalf of Chairman, Egbedore Local Government, Awo to Pa(Alhaji) Abdulkareem Adegboye, the Head of Abioye Ruling House, Awo, where it was stipulated the commencement of the process of filling the vacant stool of Alawo of Awo in line with 1957 Registered Chieftaincy Declaration.
Responding, the Plaintiff Counsel who adopted all the contents filled in Statement of Claims on Oath, Affidavits in Support of Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction, Counter-Affidavit to Notice of Preliminary Objection of the 1st to 3rd Defendants and Further-Affidavit of the Claimant/Applicant in Support of Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction dated 18th February, 2022 and Affidavit in Support of the Motion on Notice for Extension of Time and Further Statement of Oath of the Claimant Reply to the 4th -6th Defendants’ Statement of Defence and dated 31st Day of December,2021,18th Day of February, 2022,16th Day of March, 2022 and 25th Day of April, 2022 respectively.
He argued that the 1st Defendant is an imposture who emerged vide fraudulent means of forgery of selection documents, flagrant disobedience to Court Orders in HED/26/2020 and HOS/84/2020 and use of a wrong law of 1957 Registered Alawo Chieftaincy Declaration puportedly in appointing the 1st Defendant by 2nd – 7th Defendants, instead of subsisting 1979 Registered Alawo Chieftaincy Declaration and the particulars of the forgery and other evidences had been supplied in this Suit.
On the subsisting Suit HOS/63/2021 on the Alawo stool which is not a class action and not a representative Suit and the present Suit HED/48/2021 was different and distinct from all others Suits in respect of Alawo stool as this Suit HED/48/2021 deals with forgery of selection documents, flagrant disobedience to Court Orders and use of illegal,outdated, repealed, obsolete and unlawful law in appointing the first (1st) Defendant purportedly.
Adding that “contrary to the disgraceful, deposition of the objectors in paragraph 14 of the Affidavit in Support of the Preliminary Objection that the first (1st) Defendant was subsequently appointed as the incumbent Alawo of Awo, after the ruling in Exhibit” POS2″, “It is our submission and in line with the case of Ezeugbu Vs. FATB Limited (1992) 1NWLR(part 220)699 at 735 paragraphs A-F,Tobi JCA(as he then was of blessed memory), Supreme Court decision in Governor of Lagos State Vs. Chief Ojukwu (1986)1NWLR(Part 18)621, and the essence of the application of Chief Williams in the case of Chief Okoya and others Vs. Santilli and others (1991)7NWLR(Part206)753/766, that decision of the Defendants in appointing the first (1st) Defendant as the incumbent Alawo of Awo when Suit HOS/63/2021 has not been concluded amounted to embarking on self-help when a matter is before a Court.
“It should be noted that when the first (1st) Defendant was appointed on 13th Day of September, 2021, there is subsistence a pending appeal with Appeal N0: CA/AK/58/2021, arising from Suit N0:HOS/84/2020 at the Court of Appeal filed by the First(1st) Defendant/objector”. He further argued that once parties have submitted themselves before a Court for adjudication, the parties are not expected to do anything to overreach/outsmart the other parties and decision of the Court. The Plaintiff Counsel then adopted all the written arguments contained therein in the applications, urged the court to grant the Plaintiff applications by refusing the objection of the objectors with substantial cost in favour of the Claimant/Respondent.
Hon. Justice Akano, therefore, adjourned the case till 26th day of May, 2022, for ruling on the motions.