One of the ruling houses in Iruland, Victoria Island, Lagos, the Omowumi Abisogun Oniru ruling family, has rejected the installation of Oba Abdulwasiu Gbolahan Lawal as the new Oniru of Iruland on the ground that he is not a member of their family.
Consequently, they are calling on the Federal Government to prevail on the Lagos State Government to reverse the installation of Lawal and choose one of them as the Oniru. The Abisogun Oniru Ruling Family made the appeal during a protest at Igbosere High Court of Lagos.
The newly installed king, Lawal, a former Commissioner of Agriculture in Lagos State was installed as the king of Iruland on Sunday by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Speaking on the alleged illegal installation, the head of the Omowunmi Abisogun Oniru ruling house, 88-year-old Alhaji Surajudeen Durosinmi, said they rejected Gbolahan Lawal because he is not part of their ruling house.
Durosimin said the entire family of Abisogun ruling house of Oniru descendants are the next in line in the kingship stool.
He said: “The entire family of Abisogun ruling house of Oniru descendants as the next in line ruling house unanimously reject the imposition of Wasiu Gbolahan Lawal as the Oniru of Iruland by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in contravention of the enabling laws providing for the appointment of ‘Next in Line’ in succession to the Oniru Chieftaincy stool and the customary law regulation selection to the Oniru chieftaincy of Lagos of September 14, 1993”.
“We affirm and state by the resolution of all the kingmakers, the Baales and elders of the Abisogun family as the ‘Next in line’ ruling house to produce Oniru of Iruland,” Durosimin said.
The octogenarian further stated that Lawal’s installation is a brazen desecration of the Oniru tradition and a suppression of the extant laws of the land in respect of the procedures for choosing a new king.
“For the record, the imposed Wasiu Gbolahan Lawal was not even in contention as he is only connected to the Oniru Royal House through his mother side, by which he is forbidden by tradition to even seek election to the throne in the first place.
“Since the demise of Oba ldowu Oniru, we have noticed a handful of strong-arm tactics by unscrupulous elements to hijack the Oniru stool for personal and political gains. As elders of the Abisogun family, we were approached and cajoled with money and other material trappings by these elements to waive our right to the throne as if the stool of Oniru was for the highest bidder. We rejected the trappings and headed for the court of law to prevail on those bent on using their connections to the seat of power in Lagos State from usurping and trampling upon our right.
In the litigation that was filed, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, the Secretary of lru/Victoria Island Local Government and the Attorney General of Lagos State were all served as defendants alongside other parties. All of them filed a conditional appearance and the case is yet to be heard.
“We are however shocked that the State Government will act illegally and support illegality by acting prejudice over a case that is the subject of litigation in a court of law which determination is still pending, by going ahead to impose Wasiu Gbolahan Lawal as the next king of Iruland.
“We call the attention of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to the fact that this imposition is an illegality that will not stand and one that shall be resisted and fought by ever lawful means. “We are also saddened that the pursuit of truth, the dispensation of justice and the rectification of injustice have all left the citadel of integrity that government should represent.
“We call on the Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to retract this brazen injustice”.
Lawyer to the aggrieved family, Cornelius Nwachukwu, described the action of the state government as ‘executive recklessness’, adding that the Governor went ahead despite knowing that there is a pending suit against the installation of new Oniru.
Nwachukwu said: “My clients, the Omowunmi Abisogun Oniru Chieftaincy Family, are in court over this matter and the Lagos State Governor, Attorney-General, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs; Secretary to Victoria/Iru LCDA are respondents.
“All parties have filed applications which are yet to be decided because of the lockdown. This is injustice, to take advantage of the lockdown of COVID-19 to install a stranger upon them. “The suit number is LD/6681/JCMW/ 2020, and it is before Justice Owolabi Dabiri of Lagos State High Court, Igbosere.
“This is an executive recklessness, even before the institution of this suit, several letters and memos were written and nothing was done. “All we want is that the Governor should prevail on perpetrators of this act to stop forthwith because it is illegal”.
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