FAMILY GENEALOGY: He was born into the Royal Family of Luju. His father was Prince Joseph Adesanoye of Leyo Ruling House. Oba Leyo was the last born of Oba Luju. Oba Festus Adesanoye’s Grandfather was Prince Adedinsewo, younger brother of Oba Ademeso Aroworayi. They were both children of Oba Osungbedelola I, Grandson of the Oba Odunola. Oba Odunola was the Grandson of Oba Lamale, who was the Grandson of Oba Leyo. Prince Joseph Adesanoye had only one son, Late Oba Festus Adesanoye among his four wives.
8TH MAY 1992: OFFICIAL ASCENDANCY TO THE THRONE AS 43RD OSEMAWE AND PARAMOUNT RULER OF ONDO KINGDOM: His Imperial Majesty, late Oba Festus Ibidapo Adedinsewo Adesanoye ‘CFR’ OSUNGBEDELOLA II was installed on Friday 8th May 1992 as 43rd Osemawe and Paramount Ruler of Ondo Kingdom at Oiden.
The new Oba was presented to the entire populace by then Regent-in-Council, High Chief Sir Olabanji Akingbule ‘sitting Odunwo of Ondo Kingdom’.
FINAL HIGHEST COURT DECISION: In the Supreme Court of Nigeria, On Friday, the 14th day of July, 2006, S.C. 171/2004. Before Their Lordships Justice of Supreme Court: Idris Legbo Kutigi, Niki Tobi, George Adesola Oguntade, Mahmud Mohammed & Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen: Between Appellants: Festus Ibidapo Adesanoye, High Chief Akingbule, Attorney-General, Ondo State; And Respondent: Prince Francis Gbadebo Adewole
EXTRACTS FROM THE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT
1). The extract of lead Judgement of the Court was delivered by His Lordship Niki Tobi, J.S.C.
“In order to lay claim to and enjoy a vested right, it should not be encumbered or weighed down by any other competing right. A vested right can be so recognised by law, if it is really vested in the holder. Where a vested right is founded or predicated on a document which, in law and in fact, does not and cannot donate the so-called right, then no right in law passes to the claimant of the right. This is because the document, which is assumed or presumed to pass the right, did not do so in law. In other words, where a claim to a vested right is premised on a wrong footing, the so-called vested right must collapse and with no ado or fanfare. So much of legalism.
Let me now apply the above to the real matter. The respondent relied entirely and heavily on the 1958 Declaration. I have held that the Declaration did not help him, as he is not a son of the Oba but a grandson. And so his case collapsed. The Court of Appeal came to the conclusion that the respondent had vested right, based on the 1958 Declaration. In the light of my decision, that is no more the situation. Since the conclusion of the Court of Appeal on the 1958 Declaration has collapsed, so too the conclusion of the Court on vested right, and I so hold.
I realise that I jumped the gun by not taking the issue of the respondent not pleading the 1958 Declaration. Instead of going that way, I took the Declaration on the assumption that it was pleaded. I do not think I have any apologies for that. I decided to take the meat of the case, rather than the bone, which could hook me down. I felt I should go straight to the substance rather than chasing the technicality of the case. I hope I have succeeded.
In sum, this appeal has merit and it is allowed. The decision of the Court of Appeal is set aside. The decision of the High Court, Ondo dismissing the case of the respondent, is hereby upheld. The cross-appeal fails and it is dismissed. I must commend the learned trial Judge Obaremo, J, for a very beautiful judgment. I award N10,000. 00 costs in favour of the appellants.”
2). The extract from Judgement delivered by Idris Legbo Kutigi, J.S.C.
“I have had the privilege of reading in advance the judgment just delivered by my learned brother Niki Tobi JSC. I agree with his reasoning and conclusions. It is doubtless that the Plaintiff/Respondent relied on the Osemawe of Ondo Chieftaincy Declaration of 1958. And being a grandson (not a son) of the Oba, the 1958 Declaration was of no assistance to him.
The case of the Appellant was that he was validly appointed under the Osemawe of Ondo Chieftaincy Declaration Order of 1991, which was deemed to have come into effect on 3rd January 1984. I think on the facts and the applicable laws, the trial High Court rightly dismissed Plaintiff/Respondent’s claims and the Court of Appeal erred when it reversed the judgment. I will therefore allow the appeal and dismiss the cross-appeal. The judgment of the Court of Appeal is set aside while that of the trial High Court is restored. I endorse the order for costs.”
3). The extract from the dissenting Judgement delivered by George Adesola Oguntade, J.S.C.
“It seems to me that the plaintiffs suit is misguided in that sufficient consideration was not given by plaintiff to the succession interest of Leyo Ruling House in the manner this suit was pursued. It’s like throwing the baby away with the bath water. It is my firm view that the only platform of the plaintiff to bring this suit was his membership of the Leyo Ruling House and that derived from the 1991 declaration.
Since as rightly held by the Court below, the 1991 Chieftaincy Declaration did not apply, I would dismiss this appeal. I must make the order, which the Court below on the basis of its finding should have made. I set aside the judgment the trial Court and strike out the suit by the plaintiff. I make no order as to costs.”
4). The extract from Judgement delivered by Mahmud Mohammed, J.S.C.
“The main issue in this appeal is the determination of the law applicable in the resolution of the dispute between the parties. While in the decision of the trial Court, the applicable law was the Osemawe of Ondo Chieftaincy Declaration of 1991, the Court below was of the view that it was the 1958 Declaration that was applicable. However, looking at the 1991 Declaration which was made on 2-9-1991, but came into force retrospectively on 3-1-1984, and which specifically repealed the 1958 Declaration, there is no doubt whatsoever that the current legislation applicable to the dispute between the parties in this appeal is the 1991 Declaration as rightly found by the trial Court.
In this respect, the Court below was in error in reviving and applying the 1958 Declaration in its judgment now on appeal. For the foregoing and other cogent reasons given by my learned brother Niki Tobi JSC, in his lead judgment, I also allow this appeal and abide by all the orders made in the lead judgment including the order on costs.”
5). The extract from Judgement delivered by Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, J.S.C.
“The argument of learned Counsel for the respondent that the locus standi of the respondent lies in his being a candidate for the selection begs the question, in my view. I hold the considered view that for one to be a candidate in any Chieftaincy, he must belong to the ruling family or Ruling House of the Chietaincy and be nominated to contest. In the instant case under the 1958 Declaration there are five Ruling Houses, which did not include LEYO House being the Ruling House the contesting parties come from and it provides that rotation of succession to be JILO House and further, that succession is by the son of a previous Oba or Osemawe only, not a grandson – which respondent and 1st appellant are.
In conclusion I agree with the lead judgment of my learned brother TOBI, JSC that the appeal is meritorious and should be allowed while the cross-appeal is without merit and ought to be dismissed. I order accordingly and abide by other consequential orders contained in the said lead judgment including the order as to costs.
Appeal allowed while the cross-appeal is dismissed.”
Source From: The Supreme Court of Nigeria Judgement Archive 2006/1, accessed on Sunday, 24th January 2021.
NIGERIA NEWSPAPERS PUBLICATION
Nigeria: Supreme Court Upholds Selection of Adesanoye As Osemawe of Ondo
Vanguard (Lagos), 15 JULY 2006, By Iseoluwa Ige
Abuja — By a split decision of three to two, the Supreme Court yesterday upheld the enthronement of late Oba Festus Ibidapo Adesanoye as the Osemawe of Ondo. The apex court which gave legal teeth to Adesanoye’s crowning also declared that Adesanoye’s contender, Prince Francis Gbadebo Adewole, was a stranger to the Osemawe stool and was therefore not entitled to the throne.
Five justices of the apex court empanelled by the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Muhammad Lawal Uwais, decided the chieftaincy suit. The jurists are Justices Niki Tobi, Idris Legbo Kutigi, Walter Onnoghen, George Oguntade and Mahmud Mohammed. Justice Tobi led two other justices to deliver the majority verdict in favour of the late Oba Adesanoye while two other justices disagreed with them.
POINT TO NOTE: We are delighted to conclude about the fact that His Imperial Majesty, late Oba (Dr.) Festus Ibidapo Adesanoye, (OSUNGBEDELOLA II, 43rd Osemawe and Paramount Ruler of Ondo Kingdom, 1991 -2006), died a natural death as a result of old age and health related matters. He successfully won the landmark Supreme Court judgement after his death.
May the gentle and humble soul of Kabiyesi, Oba Festus Ibidapo Adesanoye continue to rest in perfect peace …. Loud Amen.
Omo rere a gbeyin gbogbo wa o … Amin.