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75 Coronated Obas Drag Ogun Gov To Court Over Demotion, Demand 11 Month Salary Arrears

Seventy five Coronated Obas, who were recently demoted by Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State have dragged him to court, demanding the payment of 11 month salary arrears from the day they were demoted.
They are seeking the order of the court, amongst others, “compelling the Defendants to pay all remunerations and entitlements due but unpaid to each of the Claimants as Coronet Obas over their respective Communities to the said Claimants from 13th May 2019 when their upgrading, appointment and promotion took effect till date and thereafter.”
Eleven out of the seventy five of them filed a suit on behalf of the entire 75 chiefs appointed as Coronet Obas by the government of Ogun state on May 13, 2019. Former Governor Ibikunle Amosun had upgraded the 75 chiefs from Baales to Obas of their respective domains, saying it was in accordance with the Chiefs Law of Ogun State, 2006.
But, Governor Abiodun reversed the upgrade of the said Obas, following the recommendation of a review committee headed by the Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle.
However, the aggrieved Obas took the complaints to an Ogun State High Court, joining as defendans,the Governor of Ogun State, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, the Ogun House of Assembly and the Attorney General of Ogun State.
In a 27 paragraphed affidavit, the claimants said, “By virtue of the provisions of Section 30 Sub–Sections (1) and (2) of the Chiefs Law of Ogun State 2006, the Executive Council of the Government of Ogun State can only suspend and depose an erring Oba”, saying their demotion was illegal.
In their reliefs, the claimants prayed the court for:
“A Declaration that the purported reversal or revocation of the Claimants upgrading, appointment and promotion as Coronet Obas is a nullity and of no effect whatsoever.
“A Declaration that the Defendants Chieftaincy Review Committee set up to purportedly review the upgrading, appointments and promotion of the Claimants as Traditional Rulers and the activities of the said Committee is an afterthought and a nullity.
“A Declaration that the Defendants are estopped from reversing or revoking the upgrading, appointment and promotion of the Claimants as Coronet Obas in Ogun state and/or preventing Claimants from acting, parading or referring to themselves and being referred to as Coronet Obas of their respective Communities, the said Claimants having been earlier upgraded, appointed and promoted by the Government of Ogun State acting through the Defendants as Coronet Obas over their respective Communities in Ogun State and carrying on the performance of the duties of their offices as Coronet Obas to the knowledge and acknowledgment of the Defendants.
“A Declaration that the Defendants cannot capriciously reverse or revoke the upgrading, appointments and promotions of the Defendants in the absence of any complaint against the upgrading, appointment and promotion of the Claimants duly brought to the attention of the Claimants for their defence/response.
“An Order setting aside the purported reversal or revocation of the Claimants upgrading, appointment and promotion as Coronet Obas in Ogun State.
“An Order compelling the defendants to rescind forthwith, the purported reversal and/or revocation of the upgrading, appointments and promotion of the Claimants as Coronet Obas of their respective Communities.
“An Order Compelling the Defendants to pay all remunerations and entitlements due but unpaid to each of the Claimants as Coronet Obas over their respective Communities to the said Claimants from 13th May 2019 when their upgrading, appointment and promotion took effect till date and thereafter.
“An Order of Perpetual Injunction restraining the Defendants, their privies, agents and servants from interfering in any way or manner whatsoever and howsoever described with the upgrading, appointments and promotion of the Claimants except in accordance with law.
“Costs of this action.”
In an affidavit the first Claimant, who identified himself as Oba Tanimowo David Folarin, the Olu of Ipebi Ijebu Mushin, stated that:
“I was the State Secretary for Council of Baales in Ogun State before the upgrading, appointment and promotion of the entire seventy – five (75) Obas who brought this action.
“I know of the fact that the entire seventy – five (75) Obas concerned with this matter are the Coronet Obas listed in the Ogun State of Nigeria Gazette No. 20 Vol. 44 of 16th May 2019 and cited as ‘Approval of Appointments of minor Chiefs as Coronet Obas Notice No. 3 of 2019’.
“That upon the upgrading, appointment and promotion of we the Claimants by the Government of Ogun State as Coronet Obas, I am aware that letters of appointments were issued to each and every one of us and some of the letters issued to us which are the same in content in every material particular except our respective names and Communities.
“That I know of a fact that as Coronet Obas, the seventy – five Obas (myself inclusive), upgraded, appointed and promoted as Coronet Obas of our respective Communities in Ogun State of Nigeria are the Sovereign Male Obas and Rulers of our respective Kingdoms or Communities from the 13th day of May 2019 till date.
“That I am aware that upon the upgrading, appointment and promotion of the entire seventy–five (75) Obas (including myself) who recently agreed to bring this action, the Claimants have successfully observed and performed the traditional rites of tutelage for newly appointed Obas customarily called ‘Ipebi” in Yoruba land.
“That I know of the fact that the Defendants have threatened and has continued to threaten to issue and serve letters on each of the Seventy – five (75) Coronet Obas that filed this action to prevent or restrain us from acting, parading or referring to ourselves and being referred to as Coronet Obas of our respective Communities despite the fact that the Claimants have observed and performed the traditional rites of tutelage for newly appointed Obas customarily called ‘Ipebi” in Yoruba land.
“That I am aware as an Oba in Yoruba land that the consequences for anyone who observed and performed the ‘Ipebi’ traditional rites without subsequently carrying on and continuing to carry on the duties of an Oba is untimely death.
“That I know of a fact that Oba Babatunde Olutunde Ojelade who is one of the seventy–five (75) appointed Coronet Obas who recently agreed to bring this action died suddenly and untimely at about 11pm on the 16th day of March 2020 when the threats of the Defendants to prevent or restrain us from acting, parading or referring to ourselves and being continuously referred to as Coronet Obas of our respective Communities persisted and continued to reach him.”
It was learnt that “the applicants, through one of their Lawyers, Akin Folarin Esq, have written letters separately addressed to the 1st, 2nd and 4th Respondents requesting that the Respondents rescind their decision to revoke the upgrading, appointment and promotion of the Claimants as Coronet Obas.”
However, “rather than rescind its unlawful decision purportedly reversing/revoking the upgrading, appointment and promotion of the applicants as Coronet Obas, the respondents threatened and has continued to threaten to issue and serve letters on each of the Applicants to prevent or restrain the Applicants from acting, parading or referring to themselves and being continuously referred to as Coronet Obas of their respective Communities
“This is despite the traditional consequences of such a forbearance in Yoruba land being sudden and untimely death on the Applicants who have performed the traditional Ipebi rites for newly appointed Obas in Yoruba land and which threats has resulted in the unfortunate sudden and untimely death of one of the Applicants, many more of whom could die suddenly and untimely unless the Honorable Court intervenes.”
Meanwhile, the claimants, on March 17, filed a motion on notice for an order of interlocutory injunction “restraining the Defendant/Respondents, either by themselves or through their agents, servants, privies or any other person(s) acting for them from preventing Claimants from acting, parading or referring to themselves and being continuously referred to as Coronet Obas of their respective Communities, the said Claimants having been earlier upgraded, appointed and promoted by the Government of Ogun State acting through the Defendants as Coronet Obas over their respective communities in Ogun State and carrying on the performance of the duties of their offices as Coronet Obas to the knowledge and acknowledgment of the Defendants pending the determination of this action.”
Source: Daily Post.

Editorial staff
Editorial Staff at Greenbarge Reporters is member of a team of journalists led by Editor-in-Chief, Yusuf Ozi Usman.

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