Lagos court affirms Ojoko Baale of Magodo
A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja has resolved a 37-year-old chieftaincy dispute as Chief Lateef Amodu Ojoko was affirmed as Baale of Magodo in Kosofe Local Government in the state.
According to the Nation, Ojoko and other claimants; Madam Dada Ojoko and Ganiyu Ojoko-had dragged Alhaji Jimoh Sobowale, a retired Commissioner of Police and other defendants-Ikosi Isheri Local Council Development Area and Kosofe Local Government to court, challenging Sobowale’s installation.
The court consequently declared the installation of Sobowale as head of the community null and void.
While adjucating on the matter, Justice L. B. Lawal-Akapo said, “Putting the case of both parties on an imaginary scale, the scale clearly preponderates in favour of the first claimant (Ojoko) against the first defendant, (Sobowale) and I so hold. In the result, the claim of the claimants succeeds.”
The judge added, “It is hereby declared that the 1st Claimant, Alhaji (Chief) Lateef Amodu Ojoko, is the legally and validly appointed and installed as the Baale of Magodo Community.
“It is hereby declared that the purported installation of the 1st Defendant by the 2nd Defendant is wrongful, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
“An order of perpetual injunction be and is hereby granted, restraining the 1st Defendant from parading or holding himself out as the Baale of Magodo Community and or using any paraphernalia symbol or insignia associated with the office of status of Baale of Magodo Community.
“The counter-claim of the 1st Defendant fails and it is accordingly dismissed.”
Describing Sobowale as an impostor, Ojoko said he was duly elected Baale, who received a Certificate of Appointment and staff of office to succeed the first Baale, Chief Olikotun Adediran. Under cross-examination by Ojoko’s counsel, Kike Siji-Fasole, the witness said Sobowale, who is not a member of Ojoko family, only came to reside at Magodo after his retirement from police in 2006. The judge also said the letter issued to the first defendant by the Isheri-Ikosi LCDA lacked basis.
Justice Akapo-Lawal said, “I take judicial notice of the fact that there is no Isheri-Ikosi Local Government, but Isheri Ikosi Local Government Development Area. Since Isheri-Ikosi Local Government does not exist in law, going by the above judicial pronouncement, there is therefore, no platform upon which the letters (Exhibit P8 & 9 can stand.”
Quoting the legendary Lord Denning, he said, “If an act is void, it is in law, a nullity. It is not only bad, but also incurably bad. And every proceeding which is founded on it is also bad and incurably bad. You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse.”
Justice Lawal-Akapo added, “Conversely, going by the above decisions, Isheri Ikosi LCDA is not a local government in Lagos State within the contemplation of the 1999 Constitution. From whichever way it is viewed, the purported appointment of the 1st Defendant is based on very faulty premise and as such cannot stand and I so hold.”