The Appeal Court sitting in Ilorin, in the central Nigerian state of Kwara on Tuesday 9 July nullified the appointment and installation of Alhaji Mufutau Gbadamosi as Olofa of Offa, while also restraining him from parading himself as the traditional ruler of the community forthwith.
In the lead judgment delivered by Justice Hussein Muhktar, the
appellate court held that the evidence before it clearly showed that the ascension to the stool of Olofa of Offa is by rotation between the Olugbense ruling house, who are the appellants and the Anilelerin ruling house, the respondents.
To the court, rotation principle in the town was established in 1969 when the late Oba Keji from the Olugbense ruling house agreed to step down from throne and allowed the ascension of Late Oba Mustapha Olawoore from the Anilelerin ruling house, to allow peace to reign in Offa. This, the court said, was after the intervention of the state government.
Setting aside the decision of the High Court sitting in Offa delivered on 19 July 2012 by Justice S.M Akanbi which upheld the appointment and installation of Alhaji Mufutau Gbadamosi as the Olofa of Offa, the appellate court granted all the reliefs of the appellants and nullified Oba Gbadamosi’s appointment and installation.
The court ordered Gbadamosi to stop parading himself as the Olofa of Offa, while also ordering the state government to immediately install Prince Abdulrauf Adegboyega Keji, who is from Olugbense ruling house as the new Olofa of Offa.
Counsel to the Olugbense ruling house, John Baiyeshea, SAN, had approached the Court of Appeal to protest the judgment delivered by the High Court that the ascension to the stool of the Olofa of Offa is not rotational but by competition between the two ruling houses, a position used by government to instal Gbadamosi as the Olofa.
Some of the prayers of the Olugbense ruling house which the Court of Appeal granted are:
. That the ascension to the stool of Offa of Olofa between the two ruling houses is rotational,
.That the Anilelerin ruling house having produced the immediate past Olofa of Offa who ruled for over forty years, must give way to the Olugbense ruling house in law and/or equity to produce the next Olofa of Offa on the basis of rotation,
.That the recognition of the incumbent Olofa of Offa by the state government “is illogical, wrongful, unlawful, null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.
The Court therefore upheld the appeal of the Olugbense ruling house and granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi from parading himself as the Olofa of Offa.