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AARE AKINTOLA TAAKU” (AARE AKINTOLA REMAIN ADAMANT)

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It was three o’clock in the morning.
The telephone rang in the Governor’s official residence in Ibadan.

Who could be calling the Governor at this time of the day?

The Governor was told it was someone from Lagos and the caller insisted that he must speak with the Governor personally. The caller said it was urgent and important.

The Governor of Western Region, Oba Tadenikawo Adesoji Aderemi, the Ooni of Ile-Ife, answered the phone.

His Royal Highness recognized the voice on the other end. It was the voice of a royalty, a prince, a jurist and a Knight of the British Empire.

The caller was His Lordship Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, the Chief Justice of the Federation.

“Kabiyesi, may I respectfully advise Your Majesty to vacate the Government House immediately.”

Oba Aderemi thought it must be a joke, and an expensive one at that. Vacate the Government House? And immediately too?

As if reading His Majesty’s mind, Justice Ademola assured Kabiyesi that it was not a false alarm and that the Arole Oodua might be forcibly ejected from the Government House before the end of the day if he failed to leave.

His Lordship was calling because as a prince himself he didn’t want Kabiyesi, and by extension, the throne of Oodua, to be disrespected.

Kabiyesi did not bother to sleep again. Ilo ya, Onibode Apomu! He summoned his staff and with dignified calm and regal fortitude as befits the Oonirisa, the Arole Oodua directed them to pack his personal belongings.

By 10 am, Baba Tejumade was on his way to his Royal Throne in the ancient city of Ile-Ife.

What could have caused the Ooni, the Supreme Representative of Oduduwa, the founder of Yoruba race to be asked to leave the Government House in the middle of the night.

It was barely two years ago that history was made when he was appointed the Governor of Western Region, the first indigenous governor in black Africa and the Commonwealth.

It was indeed a joyous occasion for the whole of Yoruba race.

Iya Agba told me that they were on the farm in Aba Alaro when Baba Dauda brought the news from Ife. They all abandoned the village and trooped to the Palace.

Haruna Ishola, the father of Apala music, released an album to mark the momentous occasion in which he sang:

“Ìjoba Westan Naijiriya won n pon oba le, Ooni je gomina, Dudupariola Baba Tejumade, Kofoworola Omo Adekunbi…”

[Western Region Government of Nigeria dignifies Royalty, the Ooni is appointed the Governor, the handsome Ebony who begets Tejumade; Ooni who did’t buy his honour, the son of Adekunbi]

Now, Kabiyesi was being ‘advised’ to vacate the Governor’s Lodge!
What could have gone wrong? That midnight or early morning call was like no other call.

It was the call that would alter both the political and legal landscapes of Nigeria forever.

The call was the climax of events which had begun as drizzle in 1960.

By the time the call came in 1962, the drizzle had become torrential rainfall. Let’s go back to 1960.

Cracks began to appear on the walls of the Action Group immediately after Chief Ladoke Akintola became the premier.

He was sworn in by the Governor, Oba Tadenikawo Adesoji Aderemi.

In deference to the exalted throne and position of Oba Adesoji, the newly installed Premier took off his cap to shake hands with the Governor-King. It was a vintage expression of Yoruba tradition! Oba lo ba lori ohun gbogbo!

Following series of political actions and decisions taken by the new Premier who was also the Deputy Leader of the Party, it dawned on Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Leader of the Party that Chief Akintola was “determined to run the show alone regardless of accepted Party conventions and procedure”.

These actions, according to Chief Awolowo, include the unilateral appointment of Ministers into the Cabinet of Western Region, reduction in the price of cocoa, reducing flat-rate tax from an average of #4.17.6d, exemption of women from taxation, and increases in Assumed Local Contributions in Western Nigeria’s secondary grammar schools, amongst others.

More importantly, Chief Akintola was of the view that the experiment of separating the leadership of the Party from the leadership of the Government in the Western Region had failed.

What was left unsaid was that the Premier ought to be the Leader of the Party.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo
By the time the Party came back from its Jos Convention, it was clear to all and sundry that the festering wound of the Action Group had become an open sore.

Agba kii wa loja ki ori omo tuntun wo. Elders won’t allow the neck of a newborn to go askew.

On February 9, 1962, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adesoji Aderemi called a peace meeting of the party leaders in order to resolve the differences between the two great men.

The Ooni was supported in this regard by some leading Obas and Chiefs in the region. The meeting however failed to conclusively effect a settlement.

It was becoming apparent that something must give.

Àgbò meji ko le mu omi ninu koto kan naa. It is impossible for two rams to peacefully drink from the same saucer at the same time.

On May 19, 1962, at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Action Group, Chief Obafemi Awolowo levelled three charges against Chief Ladoke Akintola.

The Leader accused the Deputy Leader of maladministration, anti-party activities, and indiscipline.

In support of the charges, Awolowo spoke for four hours. In his defence, Akintola denied the charges and spoke for three hours.

The jury of party executives listened to both the plaintiff and the defendant. A motion calling on Akintola to resign as the Premier was moved.
The defendant’s group moved a counter-motion for the Premier to only be reprimanded and not removed. The counter-motion was defeated.

The motion for the premier to resign was carried by 81 to 29! The meeting had lasted for 11 straight hours!

The party leadership waited patiently for Akintola’s letter of resignation. No letter was forthcoming.

A ti ki òjé bo oloosa lowo, o ku baba eni ti o bo. Who is going to remove the charmed bracelet from the wrist of a chief priest?
Akintola called a Press Conference and announced that he was not going to resign his post as the Premier.

Instead of a letter of resignation, the embattled premier wrote two letters.
The first letter was to the Ooni, asking the Governor to dissolve the House of Assembly.

The second letter was to the Speaker of the House calling for an emergency meeting of the House for a vote of confidence or otherwise.

The Ooni and the Speaker were perplexed.
How could the House be dissolved and a meeting of the House still be called at the same time?

O pe laye, oju re ko ni ri ibi, ikan ni eniyan yoo fi owo mu. It is either you live long and witness unsavoury things or die young
and experience nothing. It was either for the House to be dissolved or for a meeting of the House to be called.

Awolowo was a legal practitioner. Akintola was a legal practitioner.
They were both brilliant men trained in the finest tradition of the British Bar.
They were both familiar with the Constitution of the Federation of Nigeria and the Constitution of Western Region
(Yes, the Regions had their own constitutions then).

They were also familiar with the common law of England as well as parliamentary practices in the Commonwealth.
The question before Awolowo and the Party was how could a premier be removed from office?

The issue before Akintola and his group was whether a premier could be removed from office.

Awolowo knew that a barber needed another barber to barb his hair. He did the most natural thing.

He requested two of the most brilliant legal minds in the Region to prepare a legal advisory for the Party. Chief Rotimi Williams,
the Legal Adviser of Action Group and Mr. S. O. Ighodaro, the Attorney General of the Western Region accepted the assignment.

The two legal giants spent sleepless nights consulting books of laws from various jurisdictions.
The contentious provision itself was simply worded. It was the proviso to section 33(10) of the Constitution of Western Nigeria which provides that:

“The Governor shall not remove the Premier from office unless it appears to him that the Premier no longer commands the support of a majority
of the members of the House of Assembly.”

Simple? Not quite!

The duo of Williams and Ighodaro were of the firm opinion (your lawyer will tell you that there is a difference between an opinion and a firm opinion) that the operative words in the provision were ‘unless it appears to him’.

The legal experts concluded that as long as it appeared to the Governor in any form or format, the premier could be removed.
It did not even have to be on the floor of the House.

Armed with this legal advice, a form was prepared and members of the House who wanted Akintola to be removed as the Premier
appended their signature. They were 66 in number.

The form was sent to the Governor, His Royal Majesty, the Ooni of Ife.

Based on the signatures of 66 members out of 112 as contained in the form forwarded to the King, it then appeared to the Governor
that the Premier no longer commanded the support of a majority of the members of the House of Assembly.

The Governor exercised his constitutional power!

Sir Adesoji Aderemi removed Chief Ladoke Akintola as the Premier!

Akintola was in the Premier’s Office when he was served with a letter from the Governor removing him from office.
The premier who had just been removed as the premier did three things immediately he finished reading the letter.

He called a Press Conference to inform the world that he was still the premier.

He then called on the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, to remove Sir Adesoji Aderemi as the Governor.

Finally he filed an action in court to restrain the Governor from removing him from office.

The Awolowo group was also not idle.
Immediately they were informed that the Governor’s letter had been delivered to the ‘ex-premier’, the party’s Parliamentary Group
elected Akintola’s Minister of Local Government, Alhaji Dauda Soroye Ishola Adegbenro, as the new premier of Western Region.

The Governor was informed of the new appointment.
Oba Adesoji Aderemi accepted the recommendation and His Royal Majesty promptly administered the oath of office to the new Premier.

Alhaji Dauda Adegbenro, the Ekerin of Egbaland and the Balogun of Owu, had become the Premier!
The Commissioner of Police soon arrived. He pledged his services to the new Premier.

The Commissioner of Police was just leaving the newly installed premier when a signal came from Lagos.
He was directed to ‘forthwith withdraw his services, and should take no instructions whatsoever from Adegbenro’.

The people of Western Region woke up on that fateful day in May to find out that they had two Premiers.
On one hand was Chief Akintola who was claiming that his removal as the Premier was ineffectual.

On the other hand was Alhaji Adegbenro who had just been sworn in as the Premier and who had appointed his cabinet members.

Akintola Ta ku [Akintola Remains Adamant] was the headline of The Daily Times.

Across the Atlantic, the New York Times came out with a banner headline: Nigerian Leader Resists Ouster: Fights Removal
As Premier of Western Region. According to the paper: “Samuel L. Akintola has stubbornly refused to accept his dismissal as
Premier of Nigeria’s Western Region.”

On May 23, 1962, the Western Region High Court in Ibadan was filled to capacity. It was the case of the century.
The Governor had removed the Premier.

In turn, the Premier had asked the Prime Minister to sack the Governor.
The new Premier, Alhaji Adegbenro, was however not a party to the case at this stage.

The Chief Justice of the Western Region then was My Lord Justice Samuel Quarshie-Idun.
(At the time, head judges of the regions were also called Chief Justices. They are now addressed as Chief Judges).

Of course you know Mr. Justice Quarshie-Idun now. That was the trial judge in the case of Adegoke Adelabu! Ha! You remember him now!

His Lordship was however not in Ibadan at the time the suit was filed.
The CJ was on tour of the Midwest area of Western Region. Justice Olujide Somolu quickly sent message to His Lordship to come back to
Ibadan for the very important case.

Chief Akintola’s legal team was led by a Queen’s Counsel, Chief Ladipo Moore, the brilliant son of the legendary lawyer, Eric Olawolu Moore.
(You know Eric Moore Road in Surulere, Lagos? The street is named after the formidable advocate).

Eric Moore’s daughter, Miss Kofoworola Moore (later Lady Ademola), was married to Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, the Chief Justice of the Federation. Lady Ademola was reputed to be the first black African woman to earn a degree from Oxford University.

The Ooni was also represented by a Queen’s Counsel, the indomitable Rotimi Williams whose brilliance was unparalleled.
Of him, Chief Awolowo said: “Timi’s output, in any assignment, was always as big as his physical stature.”

The proceedings had hardly begun when Chief Akintola’s counsel fired the first salvo.

Chief Moore objected to the competence of Chief Williams to appear for Sir Adesoji Aderemi. The Court agreed with his submission.
Chief Williams was refused permission to continue to act as counsel for the Ooni.

The Governor promptly instructed another brilliant counsel, Barrister Akinyele to lead his defence.

It was at this stage that Chief Ladipo Moore advised his client on the need for them to join Alhaji Adegbenro as a Defendant.
Immediately he was joined, Alhaji Adegbenro filed a counter-claim against Chief Akintola.

It was now a case of Two Premiers and a Governor! Where would the pendulum swing?

Whilst the case was going on, Alhaji Adegbenro had moved into the Premier’s Office.
He had started functioning as the Premier and he was also using the Premier’s official car.

In fact, when he was later restricted under the Emergency Regulations, it was the official car of the premier that took him to Osogbo,
his place of restriction.

On the adjourned day, Chief Moore argued his application for injunction to restrain Sir Adesoji Aderemi from purporting to relieve
Chief Ladoke Akintola of his office as premier in the absence of a resolution of the House of Assembly.

The motion was opposed by Mr. Akinyele who argued that to the extent that Chief Akintola was no longer the premier, there was nothing
for the court to restrain. It was classical advocacy at its best.

His Lordship listened to the arguments from the two brilliant advocates. It was indeed a very difficult case.
The Court then made two rulings.

In respect of Chief Akintola’s motion, His Lordship granted the injunction prayed for by the man who would later become the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland. Justice Quarshie-Idun ordered Alhaji Adegbenro not to assume the office of Premier.

In other words, Chief Akintola was to continue in office. At least, pending the determination of the suit itself.

With regard to the substantive suit, the Chief Justice referred the case to the Supreme Court because of its grave constitutional importance.

At the Supreme Court, it became a battle Royale!
The apex Court itself admitted that it was being “called to perform a difficult duty.” Something like that had never happened before.
There was no precedent to be followed.

The Supreme Court then did something. It invited all the Attorneys General in the country to appear as amici curiae.
We had already explained the meaning of this expression in Sunny Ade’s story.

It was however only the Eastern Nigeria Attorney General that sent his Solicitor General to assist the court.

Four Lord Justices sat to hear the case.
Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, a Prince of Abeokuta and a Knight of the British Empire, presided as the Chief Justice of the Federation.

Also on the panel was Honourable Mr. Justice Lionel Brett, a World War II veteran, who was the last expatriate to serve as Nigeria’s Solicitor General. Mr. Justice Idowu Taylor was also on the panel.

The Magistrate Court Complex at Igbosere, Lagos is named after him. Another Knight, Sir Vahe Bairamian, was the fourth Justice.

The question before the Court was whether the Governor could remove the Premier based on a letter signed by a body of members
of the House and not as a result of a vote of no confidence on the floor of the House.

In other words, how would it appear to the Governor that the premier no longer enjoyed the support of the majority of parliamentarians?

After exhaustive deliberations, My Lord Justice Adeokunbo Ademola held that the Governor exceeded his constitutional powers.
According to His Lordship: “The Governor cannot validly exercise power to remove the Premier from office except in consequence
of proceedings on the floor of the House.”

Justices Taylor and Bairamian agreed with His Lordship.

My Lord Justice Brett, the World War II veteran, was however unable to agree with the reasoning of the majority.

In his dissenting judgment, the former Solicitor General of Nigeria held that: “the Constitution does not preclude the Governor
from acting on any information which he considers reliable.”

Chief Akintola’s group erupted with happiness. Official’s Removal Reversed in Nigeria screamed the New York Times’ headline of July 8, 1962.

Chief Akintola, the master linguist, didn’t allow the moment to go without poking fun at his opponent.
The middle name of Alhaji Adegbenro is Soroye which could be literally interpreted to mean ‘do you see honourary title?’.

According to various accounts, Chief Akintola quipped: Sóoróyè kii je oye. Yio ma roye ni, ko ni je oye. (‘Do you see honourary title can only see title but he cannot become a titleholder.
Adelabu’s story that the Federal Supreme Court was not the final court of appeal at the time.
Alhaji Adegbenro appealed to the Privy Council in London.

On May 27, 1963, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council delivered its judgment.
Five Lord Justices heard the appeal which had come all the way from the Federal Supreme Court of Nigeria.

I hope you recall that Chief Rotimi Williams and Mr. Ighodaro had opined that the Governor could exercise his power to remove the
Premier as long he was convinced that the premier no longer commanded majority support.

I hope you also remember that the dissenting judgment of Brett FJ agreed with this reasoning. That’s good. It shows that you are following me.

The Privy Council held that the Federal Supreme Court misapplied the law.
The PC agreed with the legal opinion of Chief Williams and Mr. Ighodaro.

The Council therefore allowed the appeal and reversed the majority decision of Ademola, Bairamian and Taylor.
The council upheld the minority decision of Brett FJ.

In effect, the Council held that Oba Adesoji Aderemi exercised his power to remove Akintola constitutionally!

Adegbenro has won!

The Privy Council did not stop there.
It also directed Chief Akintola to pay Alhaji Adegbenro the sum of #1,140:8s: 5d as the costs incurred in prosecuting his case
from Nigeria to the United Kingdom.

This time around, it was the turn of Alhaji Adegbenro’s group to erupt with joy!

But it was a short-lived joy.
As the Privy Council Lord Justices were signing off on their judgment in London, something was happening back home in Nigeria.
On the same day, the Western House of Assembly amended its constitution.

I hope you have not forgotten that the decision of both the Supreme Court and the Privy Council was based on the proviso to section 33 (10)
which had quoted above.

Minutes after the Privy Council had announced its decision, the provision was amended by adding the following phrase: “…in consequence
of the passing of a resolution in the House of Assembly by a majority of the members of that House”.

That’s not all. The amendment was also backdated by three years. It was deemed to have taken effect from October 1960!
I hope you are not becoming confused with the legal theatrics.

In other words, the decision of the Governor taken in 1962 was now null and void because it was not in consequence of the passing
of a resolution in the House of Assembly by a majority of the members of that House!

The decision of the Privy Council delivered in 1963 was also of no legal effect.

The long and short of it is that Chief Akintola had never been removed as the Premier! Legally speaking!

Adegbenro had scored his goal in London.
Unfortunately, the goal post had been moved in Ibadan. Ibadan lo mo, o mo láyípo!

That however was not the end of the story.

Alhaji Adegbenro, the Ekerin Egba, had lost the premiership but he was not about to lose the costs awarded in his favour
by the Privy Council.

He filed an application at the Supreme Court of Nigeria for the Court to direct the Premier to pay him his costs.
He was represented this time by Chief Akin Olugbade. Chief Akintola was represented by Chief Moore.

Chief Akintola argued that he should not pay any costs because his government had nullified the decision of the Privy Council.
The court disagreed. The apex court found merit in the application of Alhaji Adegbenro.

After all, aya òle la n gba, ko si eni ti o n gba omo òle. A lazy man can only lose his wife and not his child.

The court ordered Chief Akintola to pay Alhaji Adegbenro the costs incurred in the Supreme Court of Nigeria and the sum of #1,140:8s: 5d
being the costs of his appeal to Privy Council in England.
Chief Akintola paid the costs.

The story did not end there…

You are wondering why appeals were still being taken to the Privy Council notwithstanding Nigeria’s status as an independent country.

It was because the country remained a Commonwealth Realm with the Queen as her Head of State. Nigeria was not yet a republic.

Following the decision in the Akintola case, Nigerian Government felt the time had come to become a full republic.

Ti a ba fi agbo fun egun, a fi okun re le ni. When you give a ram to the masquerade, you ought to leave the rope.

Why was Her Majesty still holding on to the rope after giving us the ram? The time had come to cut the political umbilical cord.

The 1963 Republican Constitution was promulgated.
With that singular act, Nigeria became a Republic and appeal to Privy Council was abolished.

The Supreme Court became the final court of appeal for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Copied from Prince Toyin Akingbade

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Between Osibajo, Afe Babalola, MKO And Aare Ona Kakanfo

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Between Osibajo, Afe Babalola, MKO And Aare Ona Kakanfo

Professor Yemi Osinbajo was then a Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the Federation.

 

That was the year Oba Yesufu Oloyede Asanike, Olubadan of Ibadan made history. Olubadan installed Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola as the Bashorun of Ibadan. It was a prestigious title befitting of a distinguished personality in the mould of MKO Abiola.

 

That was the title of the legendary Bashorun Oluyole who was the paramount chief of Ibadan in 1850. It was also the title of Bashorun Ogunmola who reigned between 1865 and 1867. It was therefore historic that exactly 120 years after the death of Ogunmola, MKO Abiola became the fourth person to be conferred with the prestigious title.

Between Osibajo, Afe Babalola, MKO And Aare Ona Kakanfo

 

It was indeed a befitting honour for someone who had amassed chieftaincy titles from almost every town in Nigeria. As of the time of his installation in 1987, MKO Abiola was reputed to have over 150 chieftaincy titles. He was the Bobajiro of Ode-Remo. He was the Bada Musulumi of Gbagura Egba.

 

As he drove out of the palace of Oba Asanike that fateful day with his son by his side, MKO must have thought that he had reached the peak of traditional chieftaincy in Nigeria.

 

He was just settling down in his Ikeja home when he was informed that he had a call. Who was on the line? He asked before collecting the phone. It was the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III.

 

MKO snatched the phone. “Iku Baba Yeye, Igbakeji Orisa! Kabiyesi!” The newly installed Bashorun paid his homage to the foremost traditional ruler. Alaafin must be calling to congratulate me, MKO thought. Kabiyesi was however not calling to congratulate the business magnate.

 

“We have decided that you are to be conferred with the title of Aare Ona Kakanfo!” Kabiyesi informed him.

 

The phone nearly dropped from the hand of Bashorun. Aare Ona Kakanfo! The Generalissimo of Yoruba race! The Field Marshall for all descendants of Oduduwa! The portfolio held by Afonja, the founder of Ilorin! The title of Aare Obadoke Latosa of Ibadan – the scourge of Efunsetan Aniwura! The position held by the last premier of Western Region, Ladoke Akintola of Ogbomoso!

 

For a single person to be Bashorun and Aare was unheard of. It was the ultimate! Traditionally, Bashorun is the Prime Minister. Aare is the Field Marshall. When Bashorun Gaa moved against Alaafin Abiodun around 1770, it was Oyalabi from Ajase (now Republic of Benin), the Aare Ona Kakanfo that came to the powerful monarch’s rescue. Now, Abiola was going to be both the Prime Minister and the Field Marshall!

 

Alaafin had spoken. MKO Abiola had no choice. The news spread like wildfire. Congratulatory messages poured in from all over the globe. Aare Ona Kakanfo was not just another title. It was the title. It was the father of all traditional titles. Father ke? No, it was the Grandfather of All Titles. If it were to be a national honour, it would be the equivalent of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic!

 

Everybody in and outside Yorubaland was ecstatic at the choice of Abiola as the 14th Aare Ona Kakanfo. Well, almost everybody.

 

It happened that the Ashipa of Oyo, Chief Amuda Olorunosebi was not pleased with the choice of Bashorun MKO Abiola as the Aare. Ashipa was one of the prominent chiefs of Alaafin. He objected to the choice of the flamboyant publisher, an Egba man, as Aare Ona Kakanfo. He went to Kabiyesi to protest. Iku Baba Yeye was adamant that MKO was eminently qualified to be the Aare Ona Kakanfo.

 

The Ashipa went back to his quarters at Isale Oyo. As MKO Abiola and the Alaafin were preparing for the installation of Bashorun, Chief Amuda was consulting with his lawyers. This was however unknown to the Alaafin. It was assumed that the Ashipa had been convinced to support Abiola’s candidacy.

 

Abiola was no ordinary person by any standard. He was larger than life. He was flamboyance personified. He was determined to make the chieftaincy installation as grand as possible. He invited all his contacts from all over the world. All the military governors were invited. A special invitation was delivered to the President, Ibrahim Babangida, who was a close friend of the Bashorun. African Heads of States cleared their schedules in order to honour MKO. Nigerian Embassies were issuing visas on daily basis. It was going to be a grand occasion.

 

Then the unthinkable happened! It started as a rumour. It was days to the installation.

 

‘Eti Oba nile, eti Oba l’oko, eniyan lo n je be.’ – The ear of a king is everywhere. Iku Baba Yeye was in his palace when he heard from the grapevine that a case had been filed to stop the occasion! “Ewo! Sango o ni je! Abiodun o ni je! Aole o ni je!” Kabiyesi went on to invoke the names of his predecessors on the royal throne of Alaafin!

 

It was around noon when the phone rang in Ibadan. It was from the Palace, Oyo Alaafin. Chief Afe Babalola, the famous legal practitioner, picked the phone. After exchange of homage and royal blessings, Alaafin informed Afiwajoye of Ado Ekiti that Ashipa had filed a suit against the installation of MKO Abiola. Not only that, a motion ex parte for interim injunction had also been filed. It was apparent that Ashipa was not ready to gamble with his chance.

 

Though Kabiyesi did not say it, Chief Afe knew the urgency involved. Installation was on Saturday. The call came in on Tuesday.

 

Less than thirty minutes after the call, Chief Afe was almost at Oyo. The legendary lawyer covered the 57 kilometres between Oyo and Ibadan as if he was on a chariot. He proceeded to court where he met the court registrar. Of course, the registrar knew Chief Babalola. It is doubtful if there is anyone in the Judiciary who does not know the Mayegun of Modakeke. Mayegun paid the requisite fees and conducted a search of the court’s file. It was there! Alaafin’s information was correct!

 

Iduro ko si, ìbèreè ko si fun eni ti o gbe odó mi – A person who swallows a pestle can neither stand nor sit comfortably. Installation was on Saturday. The search was conducted on Tuesday! The motion ex parte was to be heard the following day, Wednesday.

 

Time was of the essence! Chief Afe turned his car around, off to Emmanuel Chambers, Ibadan. Before the car reached Fiditi, he had mentally finished composing the processes. He was nodding as the cases and other relevant authorities began to surface in his mind.

 

By the time he reached his office, the mental process was complete. In a minute the Counter-Affidavit was ready. There was no need for a Written Address. Professor Yemi Osinbajo was then a Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the Federation. It would be years later before he introduced Written Address as the Lagos State Attorney General. The counter-affidavit was filed and served on counsel to the Ashipa.

 

On Wednesday, the court was full. Chief M. L. Lagunju, Ashipa’s counsel was in court. He adjusted his wig and checked his books. He smiled. It was a Motion Exparte. It won’t be contested. He checked his time. Then there was some commotion at the entrance of the court.

 

Chief Lagunju blinked! He blinked again! Walking in majestically was the Afiwajoye of Ado-Ekiti, the Balogun of Mobaland, the Mayegun of Modakeke, Chief Afe Babalola in flesh! He was followed by a host of other lawyers, each armed with bags of legal authorities enough to open a law library. Chief Lagunju didn’t know when he said: “The game is up!”

 

On the dot of 9 O’clock, the Court began sitting. The trial judge was a royalty himself. Justice Aderemi’s father was the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Sir Tadenikawo Adesoji Aderemi, the first Governor of Western Region. The case was called.

 

The plaintiff’s counsel sought to move his application. The learned counsel informed the court that it was an ex parte application and therefore the other party had no right of audience.

 

His Lordship turned to Chief Afe Babalola. The court was as silent as a ghost town. Young lawyers craned their necks to hear what the Legend was going to say. They have been taught in law school that Ex Parte Motion was for only one party. Some of them must have been wondering what magic the Mayegun of Modakeke was going to perform.

 

Chief Afe Babalola brought out the White Book. Oh! Sorry, you don’t know the White Book? The White Book is an important book for lawyers. It contains the sources of law relating to the practice and procedures of the High Court. Ask your lawyer friend to show you a copy. He won’t charge you, unless you open it.

 

The Legal Colossus was on his feet. He was vibrating like a trumpet, but his voice was as soft as velvet. He began to reel out authorities after authorities to the effect that a defendant who became aware, anyhow, that a party had gone to court and was about to obtain an order ex-parte that would affect him, had a right to appear in court and to insist on being heard.

 

His Lordship – a brilliant Judge from the Source of Yoruba Race – was nodding as he scribbled down the authorities being cited by the Legendary Advocate. His Lordship was not the only one writing. Most lawyers in court were writing furiously. One old man turned to his friend and whispered: “I don’t mind selling my house, Mufu, my son must become a lawyer like this man. Look at the way he is speaking English as if he is chanting oriki Sango!”

 

“There is merit in the case of the Defendants. I agree with Chief Afe Babalola, the Defendants deserve to be given the right to be heard. Case is hereby adjourned to tomorrow for arguments on the Motion on Notice.” His Lordship rose.

 

It is doubtful if the parties involved in the case slept that night. Whilst the lawyers checked and re-checked the authorities, the litigants were in anxiety mode. Chief MKO Abiola’s invited guests had started arriving from their various bases. Musicians engaged for entertainment had begun to set up their instruments in Oyo and Ikeja. Caterers had booked all the cows in Ilorin, Oyo and Ibadan. Local drummers had cancelled all engagements. The royal poet, Lanrewaju Adepoju had finished composing his masterpiece. All roads led to Oyo Alaafin.

 

If the court was filled to the brim on Wednesday, it was spilling over on Thursday. Litigants, journalists, lawyers, in fact everybody was in court that day. Chief Lagunju stood up. The learned counsel knew what was at stake. He argued his application expertly. He guessed the likely issues that Chief Afe would raise. He addressed each comprehensively. It was advocacy at its best.

 

Then the Balogun of Mobaland stood up. Like a surgeon, Chief Afe surgically cut through the issues deftly. He was not going to take any prisoner. After cutting through the issues, the authorities followed. From Halsbury’s Law of England to Commonwealth Law Reports, from decisions of House of Lords to decisions of Court of Appeal, from WACA to White Book, and then finally to the Supreme Court. The authorities were flowing like water from Asejire Dam. There was no stopping the deluge.

 

“In the light of the copious authorities cited by the learned counsel for the plaintiff and the defendants, the Court will be adjourning to…” There was pin-drop silence in Court. The installation was only two days away. “… Friday” Ha! Palpable relief went through the court.

 

On Friday, Chief Afe Babalola’s phone began to ring from dawn. “Chief, E ma lo gba ruling yin l’Oyo loni o. Please send your junior o.” Clients, friends and well wishers who witnessed or heard of the tension soaked session in court on Thursday were justifiably apprehensive. But Chief Afe was not the Balogun of Mobaland for nothing. A General must not be afraid of the warfront. Off to Oyo.

 

Chief Afe had hardly left Ibadan when he started seeing policemen at strategic junctions on the road to Oyo. As they approached Fiditi, the number of policemen increased. By the time they got to Jobele, it was as if the Police College had moved its campus there. In the forest, on top of trees, in the bushes, and on top of buildings, the police were everywhere.

 

The Courtroom itself was no exception. More than fifty police officers joined lawyers and litigants in the courtroom. If you were not wearing a wig and you were not a party to the case, you would have to stay outside.

 

Court!

 

Justice Aderemi went straight to the business of the day. “RULING” His Lordship began. Time stood still as His Lordship went on to review the facts of the application and the authorities cited by the counsel for the parties. “In the final analysis…” Counsel and cops in the court became tense.

 

“This application fails and is hereby dismissed.”

 

As if by telepathy, the crowd outside heard the ruling immediately! Shouts of joy erupted. Drummers who must have been hiding theirgangan drums under their agbada sprang out.Sekere came out. Agogo was not to be left behind. Chief Afe Babalola was pulled out of his car, The Balogun was placed squarely on the roof of the car. Women danced, men jumped. I’m not sure but one of the songs on that day must have been “Ajekun Iya ni o je”. I have to confirm this from Chief. May God preserve his life.

 

Alaafin was waiting in the Palace with his Council Members. For a moment, the Sango of our time, Iku Baba Yeye was close to tears. It was an emotional moment. MKO Abiola was called. The Bashorun shouted: “Allahu Akbar! Alhamdulillah.”

 

On Saturday, January 14, 1988, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III installed Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Abiola as the 14th Aare Ona Kakanfo. The famous Yoruba Poet, Lanrewaju Moshood Adepoju was then called to the podium. In his deep and flawless Yoruba, Adepoju movingly rendered traditional poetry tracing the history of the title and the qualities of the new Aare Ona Kakanfo.

 

Abiola smiled

 

It was indeed a glorious day for the husband of Simbiat Atinuke.

 

In recognition of his service to the Crown and the Law, Alaafin later conferred Chief Afe Babalola with the prestigious title of Aare Bamofin of Oyo Empire.

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Ataoja, Akirun, Olokuku were Baales As Alaafin shakes Osun

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The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III on Friday said that the Ataoja of Osogbo, Akirun of Ikirun and Olokuku of Okuku used to be District Chiefs (Baale) some years ago.

Thepagenews gathered that the monarch made the revelation during a visit to the Palace of the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, explaining that the Oluwo has never been a District Chief (Baale).

“Oluwo is not Iwo’s District Chief (Baale), there was no Nigeria here before, it used to be the Northern protectorate, Southern Protectorate and the protectorate of Lagos before the amalgamation in 1914 during the reign of my father.

“Alaafin was the only Oba that went to sign for the amalgamation in 1914.

“Ataoja was given crown in 1948 during the reign of my father and that was when he moved from being a Baale to becoming an Oba. At least, we have Ita Baale in Osogbo till date.

“It is not because I’m seated here with him, when a young man becomes a king, don’t call him a young man.” The Alaafin stated.

Also, the monarch implored kingmakers across Yoruba land not to appoint old men as kings, because of the huge job of the status.

“If you make an old man a king, you’ll miss a lot. We’ll keep appealing to Yorubas not to select old men as kings because they wouldn’t have the capability.

“Oluwo has transformed this palace because I’m used to coming here and I commend the good works done here so far.” He added.

On the rumoured feud between Yoruba Obas, the Alaafin traced it to the decision of the leadership of the Old Oyo State under the late Chief Bola Ige to appoint the then Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuwade, as the Chairman, Council of Chiefs after the demise of the late Sir Adesoji Aderemi.

“When the Late Aderemi, Ooni of Ife joined his ancestors, the first person to move the motion that the Alaafin should be the Chairman of the Western State Council of Obas and Chiefs was Oluwo Abimbola and it was supported by all Obas present.

“But the government decided to go otherwise and that was the beginning of the disunity between Yoruba Obas.

“The Deputy Governor, acting on the directives of the Governor, S.M. Afolabi, issued a release that the Ooni of Ife is automatically the Chairman of the Council of Obas because he is the foremost monarch in Yoruba land.

“All the kings disagreed. When did constitutional government came compared to the long reign of the Yoruba traditional system.

“There is a book written by a foreign author which I sent to the then Oyo State, the book states that Oranyan is a direct descendant of Oduduwa and he is reputed to be the head of the princes in Yoruba land.

“Bola Ige then called me, saying he doesn’t want to quarrel with the Alaafin because such could distabilize their government. He said government doesn’t reverse official decisions but I’ll still be accorded necessary respect particularly to represent the state in Lagos during meetings of the Council of Chiefs.” Alaafin explained.

Among others, the Alaafin said the right thing was to make Iwo the capital of Osun State but the government chose to act otherwise.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Oluwo of Iwo urged Alaafin to bring the entire Yoruba Obas together to form the Yoruba Council of Obas, noting that the Alaafin remains father of all Yoruba Obas.

“Don’t let us be scattered like this, state creation came recently. You are the Alaafin of Yoruba land and I want you to bring us together because there can never be unity across the land if we kings are not united. I am not cursing.

“Our father Alaafin; Iku Baba Yeye, there must be Yoruba Council of Obas. Today is not for talks because of where we are going but this is what I want request from you before the whole world.

 

“You are our father in Yoruba land, there are many things we should have done since but some elements whom I wouldn’t wanna call enemies because I don’t keep enemies. I see people in such category as my promoters because the more they talk about me, the popular I become. Even US President now knows Oluwo.” Oluwo said.

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Man Freed After 44 years in Prison for Wrongful Conviction of Raping Woman

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A man named Ronnie Long have been freed after 44 years in prison for wrongful conviction of raping woman.

Mr Long was sentenced to 80 years in prison after he was found guilty of raping Sarah Bost in 1976 but after years of appeals, his conviction has been thrown out.

The 64years-old man was accused of raping Sarah Bost, 54, at knifepoint in her home in Concord, North Carolina on the evening of April 25, 1976.

He was sentenced to 80 years in prison for first-degree rape and first-degree burglary.

What followed were decades of appeals for his conviction to be overturned, according to MIRROR

In 2005, Ronnie filed a petition to review biological evidence from the scene and to submit DNA testing.

It then emerged that hair samples and clothing fibers didn’t match Ronnie, and it was later discovered that none of the evidence was ever shared with the defense during his trial in 1976.

And in 2015, it was revealed that 43 fingerprints from the crime scene “excluded Long as the source of those prints,” according to court documents.

Despite these revelations, his quest for a new trial was rejected by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

But earlier month, a court ruled Long’s due process rights were violated under the constitution when he was convicted.

Ronnie walked from prison a free man on Thursday. He told reporters outside the court: “They will never ever, never ever ever, lock me up again.

“This is real. I’m going to try to enjoy every minute of it.”

According to court documents “a man entered the home” of Bost, who was 54 at the time, in 1976.

He also “put a knife to her throat.” When Bost was unable to give the intruder any money, the man “became angry, cursed her, threw her to the ground, ripped her clothes off, beat her, and raped her.”

The next day, Bost was shown 13 photos of potential suspects. Ronnie was not included in the photos and she could not identify any of them as the attacker.

Two weeks later, detectives told Bost that her attacker might be in court on the day she was asked to attend. Long attended court for a separate trespassing charge and Bost said she recognised Long’s voice.

She later picked Long out of a photo lineup. She told officers “there was no doubt in her mind that this person Ronnie Long was the person who entered her house.”

Despite the lack of physical evidence linking Ronnie to the crime scene and an alibi, he was arrested and later found guilty.

Long’s mother and the mother of his two-year-old son at the time said he was on a group phone call with them when the attack was reported to have taken place, records say.

Long lived with his mother and was preparing to attend a party in Charlotte that night, they said.

The fourth Circuit opinion, led by Judge Stephanie D. Thacker, cited “a troubling and striking pattern of deliberate police suppression of material evidence.”

A main argument by prosecutors to the jury, it said, was that “police acted honestly.”

A petition was launched calling for Ronnie to be released. Nearly 40,000 signed it.

Speaking outside of the prison, Ronnie told WBTV : “Don’t ever give up. No matter how rough it can be, always believe that you can overcome. The name of the game is surviving.

“Hopefully incidents like this can be avoided. If you see injustice being done against somebody – then speak out against it. Speak out, if you don’t then hate it, hate it with all your heart.”

Hi sister Lynda Smith added: “Yeah, this is the happiest news I done had in a long time.

“The Long family have really had their moments, and this is lifted a big burden off of us.”

Jamie Lau, Ronnie’s attourney, broke the news of his release on Twitter.

He tweeted: “The State of NC filed a motion with the Fourth Circuit this morning asking that it immediately issue the mandate in Ronnie Long’s case.

“The state said it will ask the district court to enter a writ vacating Ronnie’s conviction. In short, Ronnie Long is coming home!”

The case isn’t entirely closed. Local prosecutors could refile charges. But Lau doesn’t think that will happen.

“I’m optimistic the charges will be dropped,” he said. “What evidence could the state present? There is none.”

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles tweeted: “Ronnie Long suffered through 44 years of injustice. I can’t imagine the strength he and his loved ones needed to endure it. I am elated that he will soon be free.”

 

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