The recent installation of Abdulwasiu Gbolahan Lawal as the new Oniru of Iruland has been kicked against by one of the ruling families in the area, the Abisogun Oniru family.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, last Sunday installed Lawal, a former Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, as the 15th Oniru of Iruland in Eti-Osa local government area of the state.
Lawal succeeds Oba Idowu Abiodun, who died September last year.
However, the Abisogun Oniru chieftaincy family has rejected the installation.
The Abisogun family argued that Lawal was not a member of their family and also unqualified to be the Oniru, as his only connection to the family is via his mother, hence it is allegedly forbidden for him to be installed as a king in the land.
During a protest at the Igbosere High Court of Lagos, the family urged Nigerian Government to intervene and prevail on the Lagos State government to reverse Lawal’s installation as Oba and choose one of them as the king of Iruland.
At the protest on Monday, an 88 year- old Alhaji Surajudeen Durosinmi, who is the head of the Omowunmi Abisogun Oniru ruling house 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.
“The first class Obas and chiefs in Lagos state and as duly communicated and convened to the traditions institute in Lagos State and the government of Lagos state particularly, we reject Lawal and see it not only as a brazen desecration of tradition but also a suppression of the clear extant laws of the land in respect of the procedures for choosing a new king.
“For the record, the imposed 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 these 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 and all of them filed conditional appearance which 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.”
Also speaking, the counsel to the protesting family, Cornelius Nwachukwu, said that Sanwo-Olu’s installation of Lawal as oba, was ‘executive recklessness.’
“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, 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,” Nwachukwu said.
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