Ekiti State government denies disobeying court order against monarch’s installation
• ‘Why coronation was held in Government House’
The Ekiti State government yesterday denied disobeying court order stopping the coronation and “handing over of the staff of office” to the Oore of Otun, Oba Adekunle Adeagbo.
As the coronation event was taking place at the Government House, an Ekiti State High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti granted an order restraining further action by the state government on the stool of Oore of Otun-Ekiti pending the determination of the substantive suit relating to it.
Justice Abiodun Adesodun noted that the injunction would subsist pending hearing on the Motion of Notice served on the respondents and slated for June 1, 2020.
The motion was moved on behalf of the applicants, Chief Adeleke Atolagbe for the Obajeu Ruling House by their counsel, Olakanmi Falade.
The respondents in the suit are the state governor, the deputy governor, the attorney general and the secretary of the traditional committee in Moba Local Council.
However, in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Value Orientation, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua, the government said that holding the coronation and presentation of staff of office on May 27, 2020, by Governor Kayode Fayemi, represented by the Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, at the Governor’s Office, Ado-Ekiti, was not to contravene the customs and traditions of Yorubaland “but in compliance with the government’s guidelines for gatherings during the COVID-19 lockdown period.”
“The Ekiti State government had issued a guideline banning all social and political gatherings in the State, and had also limited the congregation of people at any point or location to a maximum of 20.
“This would have been impossible to achieve had the coronation/installation ceremony been held in Otun Ekiti.
Controlling the crowd would have been impossible, and government should not be seen as promoting directly, or indirectly, the contravention of its own directive(s).
“Secondly, government was informed after the ‘staff of office handing over ceremony’ that one of the aggrieved parties to the Otun Chieftancy stool had approached the court by means of an ex-parte application to restrain the state government from conducting the ceremony.
“By the nature of ex-parte applications, the state government is not expected to be a part of the court proceedings, and, therefore, could not have been informed about the suit.”
According to Olumilua, in such matters, it is only when the order to restrain is obtained that the other party is put on notice.
“In this case, government was served the order after the ceremony was concluded. The return date for further hearing of the matter is 1st June, 2020. The state government intends to vigorously defend its position in court on that day. “