By Romanus Okoye
The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu has declared that he was the bonafide king of Lagos.
“I’m here to justify my appointment, you cannot build something on nothing, it will become broken.
“By native law and customs and by law, I am the bonafide Oba of Lagos,” Akiolu said, yesterday, while testifying before an Ikeja High Court.
Akiolu’s installation as the Oba of Lagos is being challenged by Prince Adedoyin Adebiyi and Prince Rasheed Modile, two members of the Lagos royal family.
The Governor of Lagos State, the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Prince Babatunde Akitoye and Chief Junaid Eko were joined as respondents in the suit.
Adebiyi and Modile are claiming that Akiolu is not entitled to be on the throne because he is not a member of a ruling royal family by not being a direct descendant of Oba Ado, the first Oba of Lagos.
According to the claimants, only members of the Ologun Kutere and Akinsemoyin ruling households were entitled to the throne.
They have also alleged that proper customary rules and procedures were not followed when he was installed as Oba in May 2003.
While being led in evidence by his lawyer, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, Akiolu told the court about the procedure he followed to become the king: “After I made my intention known to my family that I wanted to be Oba of Lagos and 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 received a letter from the state government and the executive council of Lagos.
“The letter was accepting my nomination that I had been approved to be a worthy successor of the then late Oba of Lagos.
“It is exactly 14 years that my appointment was approved.
“By the grace of Almighty Allah, there is nothing like rotation in the succession to be the Oba of Lagos.”
Lawyer to the claimants, Mr. Babatunde Fashanu (SAN), asked Akiolu whether proper customary procedure was followed when he became king, and Akiolu replied that he was customarily installed as Oba by 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 old, that is valid till now,” he said.
The Oba 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 means the same thing.
“My appointment as the king was the first time in history that kingmakers would be unanimous in selecting an Oba of Lagos,” he said.
Presiding judge, Justice A. Candide-Johnson, adjourned the case until June 19, 2017, for continuation of trial. (The Sun)