CELEB GOSSIP

Oba Rilwan Akiolu tells court Why his reign is being challenged

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Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos Tuesday told an Ikeja High Court that his selection and ascendancy to the throne followed the age-long traditional customs and traditions.

Oba-Rilwan-Akiolu

Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos Tuesday told an Ikeja High Court that his selection and ascendancy to the throne followed the age-long traditional customs and traditions.

He told the court at resumed hearing that his reign as the Oba of Lagos is only being challenged because he declined the request of the claimants to succeed him.

Oba Akiolu stated this while being cross- examined by counsel to the claimants, Mr Babatunde Fashanu (SAN), at the resumed hearing of a suit challenging his selection as the Oba of Lagos before Justice Adebowale Candide-Johnson.

According to him, “the claimants had wanted to meet me somewhere to sign a document regarding the succession but I refused.

“It is not an individual chair; it belongs to the past, present and future.

“All human beings should not hate each other, we are equal in the eyes of God but not equal in our love for God,” Akiolu said.

He told the court that he has no grudges against individuals who he allegedly disliked by preventing them from succeeding him as the next Oba of Lagos.

Akiolu’s selection to the throne of Oba of Lagos is being challenged by Prince Adedoyin Adebiyi and Prince Rasheed Modile who are both of the Akinsemoyin Ruling House of Lagos.

Adebiyi and Modile were candidates chosen by the Akinsemoyin Ruling House to contest the Obaship title in 2003 after the demise of Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, the then Oba of Lagos in 2003 but lost the race to Oba Akiolu.

They are contending that he has no rightful claim to the throne.

But Oba Akiolu is insisting that he is the rightfully elected and bona-fide monarch of Lagos.

Joined as respondents in the suit are the state governor, the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Prince Awobade Pearse, a representative of the Ologun Kutere Ruling House and Chief J.J Junaid – Eko, the head of the traditional white cap chiefs of Lagos.

They also include Prince Kola Balogun and Mr Musibau Kelani, who are the respectively the Head and Secretary of the Eshilokun royal family.

Responding to claims that he was elected less than 90-days after the demise of Oyekan contrary to customs, Akiolu said that such a  rule was non – existent

“There have been 21 Obas of Lagos before the late Oba Oyekan, in the Lagos State selection of Obas, there is no 90-day rule.

“By the grace of God, I am a lawyer, I am duty bound to speak the truth, I have a duty to assist the court.

“The 90-day rule does not exist in the selection of Obas,” he said.

He disagreed with the claims of Adebiyi and Modile that he was not a descendant of Oba Ologun Kutere, a former Oba of Lagos who reigned from the late 1700s to the early 1800s.

He insisted on being a descendant of the late Oba Ologun Kutere and supported his claim with history of his royal lineage.

According to him, “Oba Ologun Kutere had five children, one of which was Akiolu,  Akintoye was the last child and Akiolu and Olusi were the older children.

“Akintoye was three – months old when Oba Ologun Kutere died, I don’t know how old Akiolu was when his father died.

“By the grace of God, I am a direct descendant of Akiolu Ologun Kutere”, he contended.

Asked by Fashanu to state in order of seniority, the children of Oba Ologun Kutere, Akiolu replied that he does not know. “I don’t know, I don’t work at the births and deaths registry. What is important is that Akiolu is the child of Ologun Kutere.

“There have been three members of the Akiolu family who ran for the Oba of Lagos including an Akiolu family member known as Baba Ita-Ado, I can’t remember when he ran and I cannot tell lies.

“All Lagos princes who have no curse placed on them are entitled to run for the kingship, it is however the prerogative of the king makers to choose who will be king”, he maintained adding, ” many are called, few are chosen,” he said.

Akiolu maintained that his being capped as Oba during his coronation ceremony by a representative of the Eleboro family was not illegal despite the ceremony not being overseen by Chief Eleboro personally.

To butress his position, he said that one of the former monarchs of Lagos, Oba Adeniji Adele was capped by one Chief Gafar contrary to claims that in the history of Lagos, no Oba has been capped by any person other than Chief Eleboro.

He however contended that he was capped by the Eleboro family.

Justice Candide-Johnson has adjourned the matter till July 5 for continuation of hearing.

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