Afolabi Ghandi Laoye, former pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, has been installed as the new Soun of Ogbomoso Land in Oyo State.
The event was performed in the ancient town on Friday.
The new Soun is proclaimed as His Imperial Majesty, Oba Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye Orumogege III.
Laoye, a prince of the town who was based in the United States of America, arrived in Ogbomoso early in the morning in a private chopper.
He landed at Ogbomoso Grammar School, before moving to the palace for the installation.
The stool of Soun of Ogbomoso became vacant following the transition of Oba Jimoh Oyewumi to glory on December 12, 2021.
Some family members had stood against the installation of Laoye, arguing that he was not part of the process right from the beginning and that he shouldn’t be crowned against their wish.
The disagreement led to a court case instituted in July 2022 with the registration number HOG/27/2022.
The petitioners cited various irregularities in the procedures that produced him and prayed that the court should among other reliefs, set aside the nomination and order a fresh process.
The presiding judge, A.K. Adedokun, fixed the judgement day after Olaoye’s counsel, Oladapo Atanda, and Kolawole Fatoye, who represented Ghandi and the kingmakers adopted their processes and presented their arguments for and against the suit.
In the suit, Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo state is among the defendants. Others include the attorney general, commissioner for local government and chieftaincy matters, Ogbomoso North local government, Ogbomoso North Traditional Council, and Prince Amos Olawole Olaoye (Mogaji Olaoye Ruling House) who are 1st to 6th defendants respectively.
The 7th to 11th defendants are the kingmakers: Chief S.O. Otolorin (Areago of Ogbomoso and Chairman), Chief Salawu Ajadi (Jagun), Chief Tijani Abioye (Bara), Cheif David Adeniran Ojo (Ikolaba) and Chief Yusuf Oladipupo (Abese) while Prince Ghandi Olaoye, the Soun nominee, is the 12th defendant.
The plaintiff, while claiming that the regulations guiding the nomination to fill the vacant stool of Soun of Ogbomoso which include the Soun Chieftaincy Declaration (1958), Ogbomoso District Native Authority Resolution (1953) and Oyo State Chiefs Law (2000) were grossly violated, sought relief that the procedure for Ghandi’s nomination was inconclusive in that a minority committee performed the task instead of the whole members of the family.
“A declaration that the procedure adopted for the nomination of candidate or candidates to fill the vacant stool of Soun of Ogbomoso Chieftaincy by the members of Laoye Ruling House through the purported 11-member screening committee was inconclusive.
“The member of the Olaoye ruling house as a family was denied their legal right of having a final say in voting and/or ratifying the aforesaid report at the time the kingmakers acted upon it, not strictly the method envisaged under the native law and custom, the Laoye ruling house as a body entitled to nominate a candidate for appointment to the stool of Soun and not by the minority of the members of the larger body,” he argued.
He asked the court to declare that the active participation of the 4th defendant (Ogbomoso North Local Government) in the nomination process rather than being an ordinary observer invalidates the process.
The claimant sought orders of the court to set aside the nomination of Ghandi, noting the procedure that produces him contravenes native law and custom for the selection of a candidate to become the new Soun of Ogbomoso.
In addition, the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 12th defendants represented by Kolawole Fatoye, Olalekan Oguntoye and O.E. Igene filed counter-claims to which the claimant also filed defence.
The legal team of 7th to 10th defendants which also represented Ghandi, urged the court to “dismiss the claim and grant the counterclaim” noting that “all the procedure as itemized above clearly showed that the 12th defendant was duly nominated by the Laoye ruling house and selected by the kingmakers.”
It asserted that the plaintiff filed “this action because the selection did not favour him having participated along with others in the nomination and selection exercise.”
The presiding judge announced that the judgement would be delivered on October 3.
However, last week, on September 2, Governor Makinde in a statement by the commissioner for local government and chieftaincy matters, Olusegun Olayiwola, said the government has approved the selection of Olaoye as the next Soun.
The Ogbomoso high court on Thursday restrained the governor, the attorney general of the State and the commissioner for local government and chieftaincy matters either by themselves, agents, or officials from presenting any instrument of office in any form of ceremony or issuing of the certificate of installation to Olaoye until the court makes it final on judgement on the matter.
The kingmakers on Friday led by the Areago high chief Sobalaje Otolorin performed the installation of Laoye.
According to the kingmakers, they did not receive any court injunction restraining them from installing Laoye as the new king of the ancient town.
Laoye has been installed and will soon commence the traditional rites.