The Oba of Lagos, Alhaji Rilwan Akiolu, Tuesday continued with the defence of his ascendance to the throne, insisting before an Ikeja High Court that he is the rightfully appointed monarch of Lagos.
Akiolu had on May 22, one day to the 14th-year anniversary of his coronation, cited historical sources to prove to the court why he is the bona fide Oba of Lagos.
Princes Adedoyin Adebiyi and Rasheed Modile, who are both of the Akinsemoyin Ruling House of Lagos, had dragged Akiolu to court to challenge his installation as the Oba.
Adebiyi and Modile were candidates chosen by their ruling house to contest the Obaship title in 2003 after the demise of Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, Akiolu’s predecessor on the throne.
However, they lost out to Akiolu who they alleged had no rightful claim to the throne.
Adebiyi and Modile are claiming that Akiolu was not entitled to the throne because he is not a member of a ruling royal family by virtue of not being a direct descendant of Oba Ado, the first Oba of Lagos.
The Lagos State governor, state Attorney-General, Prince Babatunde Akitoye, and Chief Junaid Eko, head of the traditional white cap chiefs of Lagos were joined as respondents in the suit.
Other respondents include Prince Kola Balogun and Mr. Musibau Kelani, who are Head and Secretary of the Eshilokun royal family, respectively.
But at the resumed hearing of the suit Tuesday before Justice Adebowale Candide-Johnson, Akiolu insisted that age-long traditional customs and traditions were followed in his selection as the Oba.
Akiolu, while being cross-examined by counsel to the claimants, Mr. Babatunde Fashanu (SAN), told the court that there was no rule as to whether he should have been selected 90-days before or after the demise of his predecessor, as claimed by the claimants.
“After I made my intention known to my family that I wanted to be Oba of Lagos, I applied for the throne.
“In May 2003, the head of the kingmakers and the then sole administrator of Lagos Island called at my residence.
“At that time I was preparing to go to the mosque and I was told that I had received a letter from the state government and the executive council of Lagos.
“The letter was accepting my nomination that I have been approved to be a worthy successor of the then late Oba of Lagos.
“By the grace of Almighty Allah, there is nothing like rotation in the succession to the Oba of Lagos,” Akiolu said.
When asked by Fashanu to state, in order of seniority, the children of Oba Ologun Kutere, who Akiolu said was his forebear, the Oba said: “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 position of 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 kingmakers to choose who will be king. Many are called, few are chosen.”
Responding to the question as to whether proper customary procedure was followed when he became king, Akiolu said he was customarily installed as Oba by the kingmakers.
“Akiolu is a direct descendant of Oba Ologun Kutere, there is no registered declaration for the throne.
“It is the old customs and the recommendations of the Price Commission, which is over 100 years ago that are valid till now,” he said.
Akiolu also debunked claims that the Akiolu royal family was not a ruling house because it was non-existent.
“Despite the letter from Lagos State confirming my appointment as Oba, stating that I am from the Akiolu royal family, I want to make it clear that a royal family and ruling house mean the same thing.
“My appointment as the king is the first time in history that kingmakers will be unanimous in selecting an Oba of Lagos,” he said.
Akiolu noted that his being capped as Oba during his coronation ceremony by a representative of the Eleboro family was not illegal, despite the fact that the ceremony was not overseen by Chief Eleboro who personally caps Obas of Lagos.
“Contrary to claims that in the history of Lagos, no Oba has been capped by any person other than Chief Eleboro, Oba Adeniji Adele was capped by Chief Gafir.
“The Eleboro family capped me,” he said.
Akiolu also denied holding grudges against individuals who he allegedly dislikes by preventing them from succeeding him as the monarch in future.
“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.
Justice Candide-Johnson adjourned the case to July 5, 2017 for continuation of the case.