•Prince Afolabi Olaoye
There is confusion over two seemingly conflicting judgments by Justice K. A. Adedokun of the Oyo State High Court in Ogbomosho.
It is on the selection and approval of Prince Afolabi Olaoye as the Soun of Ogbomoso land, reports The Nation.
Justice Adedokun, in a judgment delivered on October 3 in a suit numbered HOG/20/2022, between Alhaji Adeyemi Taofiq Akorede Olaoye and Pastor Afolabi Ghandy Olaoye and others, held that the appointment of the first defendant as Soun-elect by the Soun Ogbomoso Kingmakers is valid, legal and binding.
He held that the kingmakers are statutorily empowered to carry out the selection/appointment of Soun of Ogbomoso land.
The judge held: “The selection and appointment of the first defendant by the kingmakers as the Soun-elect in line with the Soun Chieftaincy Declaration conducted on the 22th March 2022 and submitted to the second defendant for final approval as the consenting authority on 23 March, is the only valid, legal and subsisting selection and nomination as Soun of Ogbomoso land…”
Less than a month later, Justice Adedokun, in a sister suit marked HOG/27/2022, between Prince Muhammed Kabir Olaoye and Pastor Afolabi Ghandy Olaoye, set aside his earlier judgment and restrained the monarch from parading himself as Soun of Ogbomoso.
He ordered the monarch to stop holding himself out for any ceremony of installation and /or coronation or wear any regalia portraying him as the occupant of the stool of Soun of Ogbomoso.
The judge explained: “For the avoidance of doubt, let me state that the decision of this Honourable Court delivered on the 3rd day of October 2023 in Suit No: HOG/20/2022 Between Alh. Adeyemi Taofiq Akorede Olaoye Vpastor Afolabi Ghandy Olaoye was made per incuriam (through lack of due regard to the law or the facts) without having the benefit of the Supreme Court decision in Prince Ademolu Odeneye V. Prince David Olu Efunuga(Supra) and Court of Appeal decision in Prince Adeyeye Oyerinde & ORS V. Oba Jimoh Oyewumi.”
There was, however, some confusion in the interpretation of the two judgments.
Some were of the view that the verdicts should be challenged at the Court of Appeal for a clearer understanding.
It was learnt that the Oyo State Government Secretariat had welcomed the first judgment and plans had begun to hand the Staff of Office to Oba Olaoye Ghandi.
Some legal experts expressed surprise that the judge overruled himself within a month, claiming the court could no longer deal with issues raised in the second judgment.
They argued that the judge, being functus officio (lacking the power to re-examine a decision), was no longer in a position to adjudicate on the matter.
To them, only another court could have applied the rule when faced with two conflicting authorities.
They fear that while the appellate courts may eventually settle the matter, the State Government may rely on the first judgment and conclude the installation rites.
It was, however, learnt that the judgment will be appealed.
A legal team has been assembled to study the two judgments, with a mandate to file a Notice of Appeal, it was learnt.
The Oyo government had announced Olaoye as the new Soun and made him king on September 8.
Olaoye was a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).