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I didn’t falsify my name, Oba Akiolu tells court

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Oluwatosin Omojuyigbe

The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, on Monday, defended his title before a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, maintaining that he did not falsify his name to attain the stool.

Akiolu, who arrived on the court premises with his white cap chiefs, testified in a suit filed by Prince Sammy Adebiyi and Prince Rasheed Modile, asking for the order of the court to declare as null and void the appointment and installation of Akiolu as the Oba of Lagos.

The claimants, among others things, alleged that the monarch falsified his family name, Akinolu, by changing it to Akiolu.

They claimed that the Oba was known as Akinolu while he was in the Nigeria Police Force, adding that all his siblings had Akinolu as their surname.

The suit, which was filed in 2012, was based on three arguments: the 90 days interval between the death of an Oba and the selection of another, rotation of the kingship among the members of the royal family, and the existence of a registered declaration for the stool of Lagos.

Oba Akiolu during cross-examination by the claimants’ counsel, Mr. Babatunde Fashanu (SAN), stated that the 90-day interval rule was a fallacy and had never existed as Oba Dosunmu was appointed a day after the demise of Oba Akintoye.

He also stated that the alleged rotation was non-existent because upon the demise of an oba, all interested princes would apply to the kingmakers for consideration and appointment.

Oba Akiolu further stated that following the death of the first crowned king of Lagos, Oba Ado, his two sons, Prince Ologuntere and Prince Akintoye were to contest the vacant position.

“Due to some customary reasons and fallout, the position of kingship was given to the lineage of the Ologunkutere who produced six royal families, of which the Akiolu royal family is the 4th,” Akiolu said.

The claimants, however, claimed that Oba Akiolu applied into the police force as Rilwan Akinolu and not Akiolu, prompting suggestions that he was not a member of the original Akiolu family.

“Akiolu’s family stopped contesting kingship long ago as the lineage was believed to have been extinct,” the claimants claimed.

Oba Akiolu, during cross-examination, confirmed to the court that he had siblings that bore Akinolu as surname.

The claimants said that the oba, in his desperation to attain the stool, attended a tribunal in 1974 which was to determine if the descendants of Prince Akintoye, which he is by the virtue of his maternal blood, could contest kingship.

They further claimed that Oba Akiolu also broke protocol by submitting his application directly to the kingmakers instead of through the customary third party.

The trial judge, Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson, adjourned till June 19, 20 and July 5, 6 and 11 for a continuation of the trial.

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