In the early hours of Friday, March 6, a High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti has issued a temporary order restraining Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi from continuing with the process of granting of autonomy and Kingship to Owatedo community In Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State pending the determination of a substantive suit.
The suit number HAD/13m/2020 filed by Barrister Owoseeni Ajayi on behalf of the plaintiff, High Chief Adebayo Ewe, and two others was against the state government on the granting of autonomy status and Kingship to the community under Ipoti Ekiti.
At yesterday’s proceeding, Barrister Owoseeni Ajayi stood for the applicants, while the State’s Attorney General, Mr. Wale Fapohunda represented the state government in the matter.
Joined in the suit were: Governor Kayode Fayemi (1st respondent), the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice (2nd) and one other.
The court presided over by Justice L.O. Ogundana , gave the order while ruling on a motion exparte brought pursuant to order 40 Rule 3 of the Ekiti State Civil Procedure rules, by the applicants.
In the motion, the plaintiff prayed for an order to apply for a judicial review of the autonomy status granted Owatedo community by the 1st respondent (Governor Fayemi).
He also craved for an order stopping the installation of anybody as a king in the town until the main issue is determined by the court.
In his ruling, Justice Ogundana said: “I find this application meritorious, and so we proceed to grant same.
” Leave is accordingly granted to the applicants to apply for a judicial review of the autonomy status granted Owatedo Ekiti in Ijero local government area by the 1st respondent through his public announcement on the 19th December, 2019″, he stated.
The Judge urged all the parties to maintain status quo pending the dispensation of justice on the main matter.
While arguing the application, Owoseeni said in compliance with the rules, he filed a 35-paragraph affidavit sworn to by the applicants and a written addresses and was properly served on the defendants.
“By the provision of order 40 Rule 6, the granting of this order for the review serves as an automatic stay of action in respect of this subject matter.
“By virtue of the review being sought and a motion ex parte before this court, it will amount to an affront on the rule of law and judicial process, which I am sure this government cherishes very much, to go ahead to do anything in whatever manner, particularly approval of the chieftaincy declaration in respect of the chieftaincy, presentation of certificate of appointment and staff of office to anybody as the ruler of that town”, he said.
Governor Fayemi, had last year granted autonomy to the community with further moves made to install a traditional ruler, which was bluntly opposed by some highly placed chiefs and individuals in the community.
Sequel to this, the community’s quarters’ head, Chief Ajana Owa, had protested on behalf of his people on the claim that the Owatedo and those rooting for autonomy have no royal blood or heritage, saying they are pleased and comfortable to stay under Ipoti Ekiti.