By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The Oyo State High Court, Eruwa Judicial Division has nullified the appointment of Abdullateef Olawuyi Olagoke as Baale of Lanlate, six years after his installation.
It has been an 18-year tussle for the stool between two ruling houses (Bioku and Oguntayi). Amid the crisis, the Oyo state government, in a letter dated February 13, 2012, installed Olagoke of Bioku house as the Baale of the town following the controversial deposition of Sunday Olusegun Bolawale Oladejo.
But last Friday, December 7, 2018, Justice B.A Taiwo, delivering judgement in a suit filed by Oladejo and three others, held that Olagoke’s installation was “unlawful, illegal, null and void”. It also nullified Olagoke’s deposition also describing it as “unlawful, illegal, null and void” and “a breach of the right of the claimants to fair hearing.”
The court also restrained the state government and its agencies from recognizing Olagoke as the Baale of Lanlate and also restrained him from parading himself as the Baale of Lanlate also known as Onilala of Lanlate.
The government was then ordered to reinstate Oladejo to his position as Baale of Lanlate an restore all the rights, privileges and entitlements attached to his office.
The suit had been filed by Oladejo, Olagoke Atunwa, Prince Oyeleke Jolaoso and Raufu Adelowo for themselves and on behalf of the Oguntayi and Adio ruling houses of Lanlate against Olagoke, Alhaji K.M Olaosegba and Alhaji Makanjuola Aderoju of the Bioku ruling house of Lanlate.
The court declared that Olagoke or any member of the Bioku family is not entitled to become the Baale of Lanlate presently as it was not yet its turn.
The court also declared that the selection, appointment and installation of Oladejo as the Baale of Lanlate is valid, subsisting and in accordance with the native law and customs of Lanlate and in accordance with the 2006 Baale of Lanlate Chieftaincy Declaration
The court held that the state government and its relevant agencies joined with it in the suit, cannot remove Oladejo from office as Baale of Lanlate during the pendency of suit delineated HER/6/2008 filed by Olagoke and two others against the Oyo state governor and seven others.
According to the court, the 2006 Baale of Lanlate Chieftaincy Declaration approved and registered on November 30, 2006 represents the customary law regulating the selection, appointment and installation of the Baale of Lanlate and that by the native law and custom of Lanlate and the Baale of Lanlate chieftaincy declaration 2006, Oguntayi and Adio families are the Baale of Lanlate Chieftaincy families.
The court then nullified the letters dated February 13, 2012 together with their consent issued to Olagoke by the state government and its agencies and also nullified the approval of his appointment as Baale of Lanlate as contained in the Oyo state gazette No 12, Vol. 39 of June 19, 2014 as well at the instrument of office to a ruling house dated January 12, 2013 issued to him by the state government.