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The Ogun State high court sitting in Abeokuta, on Tuesday, faulted the decision of the state governor ,Dapo Abiodun on the demotion of the 75 coronet Obas installed by the former Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi in his judgement declared the removal of the Obas, null and void.
Amosun had upgraded the 75 villageheads to Coronet Obas at the twilight of the expiration of his administration.
But on assumption of duty, the state governor ,Dapo Abiodun set up a committee, which reviewed and recommended that the promotion of the traditional rulers from Baale to Oba be reversed.
On February, Abiodun announced the demotion of the Obas, as recommended by the committee chaired by the Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle.
Not satisfied, the 75 Obas dragged the governor and other officials of the state government to court, asking for their reinstatement and payment of their entitlements.
The coronet Obas also got a interlocutory injunction that maintained their appointment as coronet Obas till the Court said otherwise.
Akinyemi also granted the Obas a perpetual injunction, barring the defendants, the Ogun State Governor, State Commissioner for Local government and Cheiftancy Affairs, the Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Local government and Cheiftancy Affairs or its agents from removing them from office except in fufilment of the law.
He also ordered that the claimants (the coronet Obas) be paid all renumeration attached to their offices from the date of their installation up till the moment of the Judgement.
The presiding judge ruled that the Obas were not given a fair hearing by the review committee set up by the State Governor, faulting the process ,saying, they were only asked by the Commitee to submit relevant documents they submitted before their appointment as shown by evidence presented.
On the argument raised by the defending counsel that the then Executive Council was misled before the appointment of the Oba, Justice Akinyemi ruled that there is know evidence of misleading in the evidence presented by the defence counsel and that if there was ever a misleading evidence ,it didn’t come from the claimants.
He said the misleading evidence came from the State Ministry of local government and Chieftaincy affairs represented by the then Commissioner in the Ministry as a member of the then State Executive Council.
Earlier in the proceedings, the Egba Traditional Council led by his counsel, Mr Afolabi Fashanu, SAN, had filed an application seeking to join the suit and arrest the judgement set for that morning.
Akinyemi in his ruling dismissed the application in his entirety saying that, he found no merit in the application.
Akinyemi however awarded a personal cost of N250,000 on Mr Afolabi Fashanu saying as a Senior Advocate he ought to know better than to file such an application.
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