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Ife elders urge out-of-court settlement in Ooni stool dispute

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The palace gate in Ile-Ife

The palace gate in Ile-Ife

A resolution to the deadlocked selection process for a new Ooni of Ife may at last be in sight as a group, Ife Elders Forum and
Stakeholders rose from a meeting on Sunday urging all aggrieved ruling houses laying claim to the stool to withdraw cases pending in courts and thus pave the way for an amicable resolution of the issue.

The forum comprises Ife elders, royal fathers ,princes, head princes (Ajo Sookoo), Ife Development Board, Ife Progressives
Forum, religious leaders and village heads in Ile Ife and its environs.

The forum resolved during the crucial meeting that the litigations surrounding succession to the throne of Ooni are not in the best interest of Ife indigenes and by extension the Yoruba ethnic nationality.

The elders’ position is coming even as the Chief Judge of Osun State, Justice Adepele Ojo yesterday fixed Friday October 23, 2015, for ruling on applications seeking the court’s interpretation of the 1980
Ife Chieftaincy Declaration and the suit challenging the jurisdiction of the court in entertaining the cases before it .

In attendance at the meeting were all the heads and representatives of the four ruling houses including Sookoo Adeleke Adewoyin Walomo for Lafogido ruling house, Sookoo Aratunde Adeyoju Lelodo for Ogboru ruling house, Sookoo (Mrs) Orafidiya Waboodu for Osinkola ruling house and Sookoo Adewoyin Owoyomi Aromodagbo for Giesi ruling house as well as Chief Mosadoluwa Omisore and Professor Muib Opeloye, Chairman and secretary of the forum.

At the meeting, the stakeholders agreed there must be a middle-course solution to the crises hampering the selection and
installation of a new Ooni of Ife.
The forum observed that the litigations surrounding succession to the throne have become an embarrassment and affecting the
progress of Ile Ife as the cradle of Yoruba civilisation.

The forum therefore urged that “the Sookos should appeal to the ruling houses to withdraw the cases in courts in order not to
cause undue delay in the selection process, stressing that well-meaning Nigerians are waiting for the vacant stool
to be filled because of the importance of the stool.

The forum resolved that “even though there is obvious need for review of the Ooni’s Chieftaincy Declaration, the review should wait till a new Ooni is in place since chieftaincy declaration cannot be amended during an interregnum.”

Meanwhile, the Chief Judge of Osun State, Justice Adepele Ojo, has fixed Friday 23rd October, 2015, for ruling on applications urging the court to interpret the 1980 declaration and the suit challenging the
jurisdiction of the court in entertaining the cases before it.

It would be recalled that Lafogido and Osinkola ruling houses had filed different litigations challenging the decision of the kingmakers and Osun state government restricting presentation of candidates to fill the vacant stool to only Giesi Ruling House.


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