Appeal Court dismisses Yahya Obaniyi’s appeal over Daja Ajowa-Akoko Obaship Tussle

…..Fines him N50,000.

The legal battle between the Ibowe Family of Oyagi Ruling House and Chief Yahya Obaniyi over the Oludaja of Daja Ajowa-Akoko Chieftaincy Stool in Akoko Northwest local government area of Ondo State has taken a new twist as the Court of Appeal sitting in Akure dismissed an appeal by Obaniyi.

This followed the dismissal of the appeal filed by Chief Yahya Obaniyi against an earlier injunction granted by Hon.  Justice J. O. Abey of the Ikare Judicial Division of the Ondo State High Court on  April 25, 2022, directing the parties to maintain the status quo ante, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive case instituted by the Ibowe Family.

The injunction granted by the High Court came few days to the scheduled installation ceremony of Chief Obaniyi but the event was stopped by the Ondo State Government in obedience to the Court injunction.

Aggrieved by the development, Chief Yahya Obaniyi’s Counsel, Enitan Afolabi Esq., filed an interlocutory appeal No. CA/AK/122/2022 to the Court of Appeal, Akure, praying it to stay the proceedings at the High Court pending the hearing and determination of his appeal, and to set aside the injunction granted by the High Court.

The Ibowe Family however filed a preliminary objection challenging the competence of the appeal through their own Counsel, Femi Emmanuel Emodamori & Co.

At the hearing of the appeal on October 5, 2023 by a panel headed by Hon. Justice Oyebisi F. Omoleye, Counsel to Chief Yahya Obaniyi, Barr. Enitan Afolabi, applied to withdraw the appeal in view of the objection, while Barr A. A. Solagbade Esq. of Femi Emmanuel Emodamori & Co. said he was not opposed to the withdrawal, but asked for costs.

Consequently, the Appeal Court struck out the appeal and awarded N50, 000 fine against Chief Yahya Obaniyi, to be paid to the Ibowe Family.

Report says that the Ibowe family’s Counsel had formally notified the High Court on the decision of the Court of Appeal.

With this development, parties and government will have to wait until the hearing and determination of the case at the Ikare Judicial Division of the Ondo State High Court, before the installation of new Oludaja of Daja Ajowa-Akoko can be done.

Daja is a separate community within a federation or conglomerate of several communities that are collectively referred to as Ajowa-Akoko, with each of the communities having its own unique custom and tradition for appointing their traditional rulers.

The Oludaja of Daja Ajowa-Akoko chieftaincy stool rotates between two Ruling Houses in the Community, known as Oyagi Ruling House and the Agoti Ruling House respectively.

The last holder of the Oludaja Chieftaincy Stool, Oba J. K. Olodowa from Agoti Ruling House died in 2017, following which it is now the turn of Oyagi Ruling House to produce the next Oludaja of Daja.

The Ibowe Family which is a branch of Oyagi Ruling House is insisting that although Chief Yahya Obaniyi’s lineage is domiciled in Oyagi, they are not part of the Ruling House in Oyagi and therefore not entitled to the Oludaja Chieftaincy under the native law and custom of Daja Ajowa Community.

On the other hand, Chief Obaniyi is claiming that he is equally entitled to the throne of Oludaja of Daja based on the native custom and tradition of Daja Ajowa-Akoko.

Speaking to SUNSHINETRUTH on this development, a member of the Ibowe Family, Alhaji (Prince) Moshood Obadun, said his family is now ready to proceed with the case at the High Court sitting in Ikare Akoko for timely dispensation of justice, in order for the community to move forward.

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