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Suspension Of Oba Oluwo Of Iwo Is Illegal And Unknown To The Law - Barr Pelumi Olajengbesi


I have read several reports on social media about the announced suspension of the controversial monarch, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, the Oluwo of Iwo land, by the Osun State Council of Traditional Rulers and I must state that the media reports or thought lines in public are misleading. 


It is my considered opinion that the suspension of a monarch by any traditional council is weightless and unknown to any law in Nigeria. More disturbing, however, is that the ground for the said suspension is on the basis of his alleged conflict with their Imperial Majesties, the Ooni of Ife, the Alaafin of Oyo, Alake of Egba amongst others. This goes to show that the said decision is borne out of class struggle which the council may make media statements on but cannot sanction a paramount ruler purported to have been done in this circumstance. The Council cannot lawfully exercise a power it does not have.

It is a given that issues of royal institutions must be handled with utmost decorum and decency. In every town or land, more particularly in Yoruba Land, a monarch can only be appointed and removed in line with the strict laws of the respective States. The Oluwo of Iwo is first a paramount ruler of the Iwo land, and hence cannot be suspended from the throne by any group of traditional rulers acting in concert or by any other community save by the State Government acting in compliance with the laid down procedure for his removal as enshrined in the State Law.

It must be well noted that the membership of the Oba Oluwo of Iwo in the Osun State traditional council did not emanate from the council purporting to suspend him but stems from the fact of his being the Oluwo of Iwo Land and as such the Council cannot divest or put in abeyance membership of a Council they did not confer on him.

While it can be set down for argument that the Osun State Council of Traditional Rulers can in their rights suspend a king from participating in their council meetings or activities, this must not be construed to import that the traditional authority over a King's subjects can be eroded by such council as publicly reported in the press. This is in view of the fact that the procedure for ascension and removal from the throne is governed by the rule of law which does not empower the council to enthrone, dethrone or suspend any traditional ruler.

Any traditional ruler can disagree with another traditional ruler no matter how well placed such a ruler is when it comes to issues of protecting their heritage, stools, history and values of their land, and it behoves the Government to intervene and help resolve such differences. Some of these traditional rulers have dispute deeply rooted in their history and even when they live together peacefully with the coming of civilisation, the history cannot be taken away.

This situation can best be likened to the suspension of a Governor by the Governor’s Forum from the said forum which has the implication of staying his rights and privileges as it relates to the forum and not as it relates to his power, rights and duties as Governor of his state.

It is equally important to posit the now trite cliché in law, that is: “It is only he who has the power to hire that has the power to fire”, in this case, since it is not within the exclusive or implied powers or discretion of the traditional rulers in council to appoint a traditional ruler, it can therefore not be within their powers to suspend any traditional ruler.

While this position is not in anyway an endorsement of the probity or otherwise of the allegations levelled against the Royal Father, it proceeds from the best interest of the state at heart in ensuring that a bad precedent for the future is not set as a tool for political manipulation and intimidation of Royal Fathers, who have enjoyed deserved autonomy and neutrality in keeping with the established cultures and traditions of their land, by supposed persons of power and interest. This will have the effect of further whittling down the almost disregarded age long traditional institutions.

Therefore Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, the Oluwo of Iwo remains the King while the announced suspension in my humble opinion is a mere media advocacy against the monarch. I expect the Oluwo of Iwo to endeavour to build bridges with his colleagues now.

Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq., is a Legal Practitioner and Principal Partner at Pelumi Olajengbesi & Co. Law Corridor.

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