I am taking us on a trip back in time, I hope to bring our attention to a story that has been almost totally forgotten. But this is one illustration that we will find very relevant in our present-day Nigeria – one where justice has become exceedingly rare. How can a society develop and advance without justice? I welcome you as you follow me on this journey to another era.
The Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria have numerous kingdoms and the widespread belief is that a king has the divine right to rule. This practice is so deeply-ingrained and honoured that a king is called ‘Kabiyin Osi Oba To Ba Lori Ohun Gbogbo’ meaning ‘He Whom No One Dares Question, The King Who Has Authority and Unchallenged Dominion Over Everyone and Everything’. Yes. After God. Is. The. Kabiyesi.
From this definition, a king in precolonial Nigeria was seen as the very representative of Olodumare (Creator God) on earth and was imbued immense powers. Powers so terrifyingly tyrannical that it took a sophisticated system that combined the Oyo Mesi, Awon Iyami Oshoronga (Great Mothers of the Occult) and the Ogboni to keep the ultrapowerful Alaafin in check and tamed in the Old Oyo Empire.
But that was in Oyo, there were some other kingdoms that did not have the civilized checks and balances found in the democratized monarchy of the Alaafinate.
EFON-ALAAYE –THE PRISTINE AFRICAN KINGDOM
A small hilly kingdom called Efon-Alaaye located in the Old Ondo State (now in Ekiti State, one of the smallest states in Nigeria created in 1996, bordering Osun) was one of such royal enclaves that belonged to the latter group without strong internal systems to clip the wings of overambitious kings.
In other words, the paramount ruler and monarch of people of Efon Alaaye (respectfully addressed as the Alaaye of Efon Alaaye) had considerably vast powers over his all his subjects – male, female, old, young, dead or alive. The location of this close-knit kingdom deep in the heart of the tropical rainforest kept away from sight also meant a terrorist king could do whatever he wanted and get away with it if no one reported to the British colonial government. But it was a community where everyone watched out for each other and it was quite peaceful.
Like other Yorubas, the people of Efon-Alaaye also traced their ancestry to Ile-Ife, the cradle of human civilization, according to the Yorubas.
Before I continue, I must also stress that Yorubas have a lot of respect for their kings but the monarch is not all about fear and control. Yorubas actually look up to their king for justice.
Therefore, it is not uncommon to see people trooping straight to the palace (aafin) of their king whenever there is any injustice or any protest. As the very symbol and personification of the government, the king (Kabiyesi or Oba) is expected to ensure the welfare of the people and is expected to be their number one defender. I am stretching out this salient point because this journey back in time is the tale of a betrayal, the narration of how a trusted figure stabbed his own people in the back – just what we are experiencing in Nigeria today.
In 1936, the same year the Americans completed the construction of the impressive Hoover Dam, pulsations of excitement and joy erupted in Efon-Alaaye.
But the people of this kingdom were not about to launch a fresh world-class concrete arch-gravity dam, they just had a new king installed on the throne of the forefathers. Kabiyesi Oba Samuel Adeniran Asusumasa Atewogboye II became the 43rd Alaaye of Efon-Alaaye. It was a day never to be forgotten – a regal figure had taken the crown. This monarch would rule largely unchecked like his ancestors but in 1949, his reign was brought to a screeching halt by an atrocity so great it totally repulsed the judges – and everyone reading beyond this point.
THE RITUAL MURDER OF INNOCENCE –THE MONDAY OF BLOOD
On a Monday morning that started out like every other day, the 10th of January, 1949, something unbelievably nasty was to occur. An event so brutal it shook the helpless community to its very core. In the rustic compound of Mr. Ojo was a 15-month-old baby girl whom he and his adorable wife joyfully named Adediwura (meaning royalty or crown has turned to gold). Not bothered with any problem in the world, she was busy playing.
Unknown to the family, the crown of the Efon-Alaaye was soon going to turn their own crown into a calabash of blood. All of a sudden, someone noticed the little girl playing within the compound was nowhere to be found. It was as if she just vanished. Ha!
What type of a bad joke is this, the father must have mused. But it was no joke. After checking every plank and crevice in the compound, the parents knew something terrible was amiss. Their child was gone! Just like that!
By that moment, the mother was already on the edge of lunacy. As the sun became hotter and the day entered afternoon with her daughter nowhere to be found, the frenzied woman burst into full-scale madness. She just could not bear it anymore. She heaved her whole body in the air and landed on the ground, throwing herself all over the place several times with hot tears streaming down her face, her non-stop wailings attracted bystanders, neighbours and sympathizers. Who was playing this crazy joke with a child?
Her hormones boiled, the maternal instincts kicked in, she ran out of the house into the sun and she let out a piercing cry:
My child has been kidnapped!
Confused and equally worried, her husband and other concerned members of the compound and family quickly mobilized a small army, had a swift meeting and they all agreed the next thing was to approach the number one person in charge of their welfare, their beloved king – the Alaaye of Efon Alaaye. After all, the king is the father of everyone and if any child in the community is missing, it is the king’s child who was missing.
With the speed of light, the chaotic party was soon at the palace. With pitiful tears in their glassy eyes, hot mucus meandering down their nostrils and glistening sweat covering their dark tropical skins now utterly covered with dust and worry, they outlined exactly in weak voices what happened to the king. With the crown of his ancestors perched on his head, the Alaaye listened with rapt attention to the tragedy that was unfolding before his very throne. He told them to return home that the issue will be looked into.
After several hours, the Alaaye of Efon-Alaaye, Kabiyesi Oba Samuel Adeniran Asusumasa Atewogboye II, organized a search party to sniff out the missing child. But it was all a waste of time. They searched every nook and corner of the kingdom, called for help from the villagers and police but nothing that remotely resembled the child was even found. Exasperated, the colonial representatives and police messaged Lagos for further help from the Central Investigations Department (CID).
BUT WHERE WAS THE CHILD?
Well, you will recall that the girl was playing in the compound while her parents busied themselves with house chores. It was in an instant that an herbalist pounced on the girl and kidnapped her. He must have been surveying the compound to know precisely when to attack. He hid the tiny child under his a flowing traditional garb called an agbada (see photo) and whisked her off to his house.
At night, he then told his wife to carry the child on her back to the house of another person. The next day, while the parents of the child could not sleep, the kidnappers took the child straight to the palace. The girl was brought before the king, Kabiyesi Oba Samuel Adeniran Asusumasa Atewogboye II. With a wave of his authority, the poor girl was butchered right in his presence.
After the bloody slashings, the king then brought out kolanuts and made everyone present to swear to an oath of secrecy. Anyone who leaked the secret was expected to die, according to the useless covenant they had. The corpse was then mutilated and dismembered, her eyes were gouged out of their sockets and put in a container carried by a first individual. Then her tongue was sliced off and put in another container held by a second individual. Both individuals then ferried these body parts through a door that led to the living quarters of the Oba To Ba Lori Ohun Gbogbo (king). What evil can be greater than a leader betraying his own people?
After completing this phase of their criminal operation, they took what remained of the lifeless body of the girl to the forest around the Christian Missionary Society (CMS) Church and buried it there.
THE POLICE SWINGS IN AND A DRAMATIC TRIAL ENSUES
The parents remained traumatized and on the 10th of February, 1949, a team of police detectives (Chief Inspector Aruah, Sergeants Sule Agbabiaka and Olawaiye and Police Constable Ariyo) stormed Efon-Alaaye. They commenced work without wasting time and within 48 hours, they were able to establish that the cute Adediwura may have fallen a victim to the antics of ritual murderers.
On Monday 14th February, 1949 (a day of celebration of love), the Daily Times newspaper blew its trumpets as it reported the criminal case nationwide. The people of the British protectorate of Nigeria shuddered with terror and recoiled with shock at such brutality. But unknown to them, the worst was yet to come.
Not long after the detectives arrived, three suspects linked to the murder were rounded up and arrested. They were Enoch Falayi, Gabriel Olabirinjo and Daniel Ojo. Falayi was the native doctor and herbalist mentioned earlier, he was the personal spiritualist and consultant to the Alaaye (king), he was the one who kidnapped the girl as she was enjoying her play. The other two suspects were his messengers.
In early April, the coroner inquest to the murder opened at the Obokungbusi Hall in Ilesha under Magistrate WO Egbuna, he was the one in control of that particular jurisdiction.
But then, something very interesting happened. The case assumed a new twist when one of those in police custody decided to leak everything and damn the consequences of the covenant they had. He confessed and nailed the royal coffin as he mentioned the name of the king as being the brain behind the whole violent crime. Kabiyesi Oba Samuel Adeniran Asusumasa Atewogboye II was immediately arrested. I want to repeat here that at this time, there was no country called Nigeria, it was a protectorate of the British Empire under King George VI but the justice system was incredibly efficient and it was obvious no one was above the law – not even the king, the second-in-command to the gods. Representing the Crown at this trial was Mr. Lloyd Crow.
As the people of Efon-Alaaye were trying to recover from the shock that their arrested monarch could be the brain behind the most savage killing in the land, the case was then transferred to Akure High Court. The stage was set for the trial of the decade.
Justice NS Pollard was the trial judge and before him were 21 witnesses ready to vomit all forms of evidence. One of them was Aina Ola and she wasted no time in revealing that it was Enoch Falayi the herbalist who grabbed Adediwura and stuffed her under his agbada.
To make things worse for the ritualist masquerading as a herbalist and native doctor, his own wife, Owomobi, also provided further evidence saying the child was kept in their house and in the cover of darkness, she was forced to carry the child on her back to the residence of the second accused, Gabriel Olabirinjo.
In a testimony that added more nails to the royal casket, Ojo Olofa on his own testified that the child was taken to the palace the following day and it was in the presence of the king that the innocent kid was murdered with brutal cuts. He also gave further details of what happened to her body parts and subsequent burial, all mentioned earlier.
Once all the witnesses gave their evidence, the Crown counsel, Mr. Crow proceeded to submit that the statements of the three principal witnesses – Aina Ola, Owomobi and Ojo Olofa were more than enough for the conviction of Falayi, the crooked herbalist.
But the legal drama was just starting. The defence counsels launched their own counterattacks as they insisted that the three witnesses were accomplices and therefore, their evidence needs to be corroborated.
However, the trial judge, Justice Pollard, ruled that he was satisfied that Aina Ola could not be considered as an accomplice and as such, her evidence was enough corroboration of the concealment of Adediwura at Falayi’s house and the subsequent transfer of the child to the palace. Thus, Falayi was pronounced guilty. Gbagam!
That was not all, the Crown counsel Crow also submitted that the confessional statement provided by Gabriel Olabirinjo and Ojo Olofa’s evidence was a total corroboration of the second accused person’s guilt. And it gets more interesting as his lawyer, Bode Thomas, argued that his client made the statement under duress and so it should not be accepted as evidence. But again, Justice Pollard disagreed. He stated that he was satisfied that the accused evidence was made voluntarily and freely. And without wasting time, the judge slammed him with a guilty verdict too. But Daniel Ojo was lucky, he was acquitted for lack of substantial evidence again him.
So what happened to the criminal king? As for Kabiyesi Oba Adeniran, the Crown counsel submitted that the evidence revealed clearly that he did not only have the intention to kill but also took part in the ritual murder of baby Adediwura. He then directed the court to the evidence of Ojo Olofa and Owomobi. The prosecuting counsel further prayed to the court to take into consideration the countenance of the Oba which he said, already showed him as someone with guilty mind. Okay, now wait for this.
The lawyer to the king, Chief Obafemi Awolowo (yes the same African chief on the N100 naira note) fired back. He argued that since the king rendered help to the parents of the deceased and the parents by organizing a search part, he could not be a party to the tragedy. Awolowo said that alone was enough to wash the royal robe clean of all blood. He did not stop there, he said as an Oba, it was possible that some of the enemies of the king wanted to deal with him by involving him in the gruesome killing. Awolowo dismissed all the evidence presented against his client: he branded them as circumstantial.
However, to the disappointment of Awolowo, Justice Pollard did not agree with him. The judge said that saying some enemies in the town vowed to implicate the king in the murder was nothing but a baseless afterthought. In short, the judge gave Awolowo a legal park well. The worst was yet to come for Awolowo and his client. The stern trial judge dropped the bomb when he eventually found the king guilty. The king must have thought he was having a bad dream when Justice Pollard sentenced him to death. Also sentenced to the graves were the other accused persons.
NB: Also integrally involved in this case is a particular Mr. Oye, said to be a first-class criminal case investigator who made the success of the prosecution possible.
The accused persons were like laelae kole happen do you know who we are and so they marched straight to the West African Court of Appeal (WACA) where they appealed the decision of the trial court. At WACA, they stood before the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice John Verity who presided with two other justices.
The appellate court listened to their pleas and reached the following conclusions:
- Although the disappearance of the child was reported to the Oba early in the afternoon, he as the head of the town did nothing until twilight.
- Five days after the disappearance, the Oba sent for the constable to say he had information that the child will be found at the forest near CMS compound.
- Upon the arrest of Enoch Falayi, he ordered his release because he claimed that Falayi was his ‘doctor’.
- The corps found the mutilated body exactly where the Oba said the police would find it.
The court held that even though these findings were circumstantial, the statements of other accused persons, and the ones read to him by the police which he confirmed, have already proved his guilt. The court specifically quoted Gabriel Olabirinjo’s statement read to the Oba by Sergeant Agbabiaka which the Oba, the Alaaye of Efon-Alaaye did not deny. The statement went thus:
‘I was in the palace of Alaaye of Efon at night, I saw Enoch carry one girl under his gown into the palace. He placed the girl under the staircase in the palace…Enoch left to call Alaaye…Alaaye came and saw the girl. He said Enoch should do her as he said he would do her….He carried the cigarette tin (in which the eyes and tongue were contained) to Oba Alaaye…The following night Oba Alaaye asked whether the corpse of the girl had been cleared…’
Justice Verity then concluded:
‘With acceptance of that statement as evidence of tacit admission of the facts therein, there is not only ample corroboration of the evidence…it goes further and is evidence of admission of facts from which no other conclusion is possible than that the appellant counseled and procured the murder of this child and was rightly found guilty thereof.’
Upon this final pronouncement, Kabiyesi Oba Samuel Adeniran Asusumasa Atewogboye II, the 43rd Alaaye of Efon-Alaaye, his herbalist and one of his servants and Gabriel Olabirinjo, were all hanged to death. The year was 1949.
NB: John Verity (1892 – 1970) was a British expatriate judge who was Chief Justice of Zanzibar from 1939 until he was appointed the Chief Justice of British Guiana in 1941. He was appointed the Chief Justice of Nigeria in 1945. After the end of his tenure in Nigeria, he was Commissioner of Law Revision, Nigeria co-authored a report with Chief Atanda Fatai Williams (later Chief Justice of Nigeria from 1979 – 1983) on the revised laws of Western Nigeria.
THE CONCEPT OF RITUAL MURDERS IN AFRICA
Every culture is full of flaws and for the Yoruba culture, one of its most repelling features is that that has to do with the ritual killing of human beings. While researching for this piece, I came across an article published in a newspaper on Saturday, 3rd of May 1924 (that is almost 100 years ago you know) and this was how white colonialists (not that they were angels themselves) described this odious practice among Africans:
‘The dreadful practice of human sacrifice lingers with amazing tenacity among the savage races of the world. In spite of all the efforts of enlightened white administrators to suppress the ancient evil, it is constantly breaking out in remote places. From interior Africa, India, the South Sea Islands and other remote parts of the world dispatches arrive from time to time stating that the natives have given way to their old craving for sacrificial victims.
The desire for the blood sacrifice seems to be even more deeply rooted in the nature of the primitive African than in any other race. His superstition, his childishness, his readiness to believe in evil gods and all-powerful wizards and the hideous attraction of a cruel spectacle all make him cling to old forms of sacrificial murder.
Such superstition as ‘Voodoo’ and ‘Long Ju-Ju’ never lose their hold on the black races. A very startling outbreak of human sacrifice has just been reported from Rhodesia, the British colony in South Africa. Manduza, the second surviving son of Chief Chigango of the important Mtawara tribe, was offered up as a sacrifice to Mwari, the rain god of the tribe.
The case has been tried by Sir Clarkson Tredgold, senior judge of Southern Rhodesia, and a jury, and the story that was told them is reported in the London Times. What makes the tragedy especially shocking is that the Chief Chigango took part in the murder of his own son. With the chief were tried Chiswitti, an assistant chief; Chiriseri, the head of a ‘kraal’, or village, and four wizards, or ‘medicine men’, who really carried out the ceremony. The assistant chief was found not guilty, but the others were found guilty and sentenced to death…
….Chigango’s kraal, a circular collection of huts entirely inhabited by his wives, children, relations and slaves, is situated near the settlements of white men. It is within a quarter of a mile of the boundary between Rhodesia and Portuguese territory…the native village is, however, a stronghold of the cruellest and darkest superstitions, and a host of wizards live by playing upon those superstitions.
The greatest essential of life here is rain to give an annual crop sufficient to feed the people comfortably. When rain falls all the magicians and soothsayers and prophets are called in to intercede with the demoniac god who is supposed to be making the trouble. Any demand made by the wise fraternity, whether merely giving up goods or sacrificing human beings, must be met by the wretched people.
The first step when rain is lacking is to send a quantity of printed cotton cloth, which is the most valuable commodity these people know, to the rain god, who is expected to the rain god, who is expected to respond by sending the necessary rain.
The cotton is left where the rain god can easily find it. As a matter of fact, it is taken by the priests and wizards of the god, who use it in any way that suits them. If the god fails to send rain, then it is a sign that he is very angry. Then human sacrifice must be made to him, for that is the only thing that will soften his horrible tempter. Victims must be offered until the god’s anger relents.
Last summer the rain failed to come in response to the offer of cotton cloth. Somebody had to be sacrificed. It seems that the hatred of the wizards had fallen on Manduza, the second son of the chief. He was rather a popular young man with most people.
The wizards went through their elaborate ‘mumbo jumbo’. Their feather wands pointed magically to Manduza, which meant unmistakably that the savage god demanded his blood. He was an important victim, whose death ought to give satisfaction.
Chigango made no objection to his son’s execution. He believed implicitly in the ancient religion which required a sacrificed when their god was angry and that the wizards could tell infallibly what victim or victims the deity required.
But the chief doubted whether the people of the kraal would carry out the execution, and he sent for 70 men from Chiswitti’s kraal to carry out the dreadful sentence. An eyewitness of the scene described how Manduza’s hands were bound behind him with a cloth kept specially for such occasions. He was carried by the men from the strange tribe to a place in the forest where a wood fire had been preserved. The wizards surrounded him, uttering horrible cries and dancing like madmen.
Victims who are sacrificed to the tribal god are supposed to accept their fate willingly and humbly. Nearly all of them have done so, but there was much doubt about Manduza’s feelings, and the wizards and guards had to guard him closely.
Manduza was laid on the burning pyre and a heavy timber was placed across him by two wizards who sat on the log so that there could be no possibility of escape. The wizard renewed their incantations to prevent the cries of the victim from being heard.
It was a dreadful scene. The young victim writhed and howled amid the flames. The wizards, dressed fantastically and wearing feather headdresses ten feet high howled and leaped in the light of the flames. The awe-stricken people moaned and wept and begged their angry god to be merciful to them and send the rain.
While all this maddening excitement was going on the Chief Chigango, father of the victim, a grey-haired old man with bloodshot eyes, sat on his throne and looked at the ceremony with stolid composure. The fire burnt most of the night and in the morning nothing but a few ashes was left.
Rain did not follow this sacrifice, to the surprise of the Mtawaras. This meant that more sacrifices would have to be offered. Machico, Chigango’s next son, who had been away from the kraal, heard on returning the dreadful fate of his brother, Manduza. He felt that the choice of the angry deity was going to fall on him, and was no unquestioning believer in the cruel faith of his fathers.
He hurried away to the British police at Mount Darwin and told them what happened. A white inspector, with a force of ‘police boys’ set out for the scene of the sacrifice. After a few inquiries, he arrested everybody concerned and they were duly brought to trial.
After the arrest of the murderers rain began to fall heavily. The Mtawara people believed that this was the answer of their god to the human sacrifice, and it confirmed their faith in their old religion. Then the rain went on falling so heavily that it damaged the crops. This was interpreted by the wizards as meaning that the god was angry with the white men for interfering with his sacrifices.
The part of Africa in which the Mtawaras live has always been noted for the terrible prevalence of human sacrifice. The people are of the same racial stock as the Kaffirs. The most celebrated king of the Kaffirs was the notorious Tchaka who ruled over an immense territory and slaughtered over 200,000 people in various ceremonies.
When Tchaka’s mother died he ordered an immense and spectacular slaughter, in order to increase the importance of his family among the gods and demons and keep away ill luck from himself. Ten of the most beautiful girls in the tribe were buried alive in the old woman’s grave and 20,000 men were forced to fight one another above the grave until the ground was soaked in blood down to her body….
…The result of this slaughter was that King Tchaka was feared and reverenced by his unfortunate people and remained to his death the most powerful monarch they ever had.
The Rhodesian police are constantly striving to suppress witchcraft and murderous practices, but without success. In other parts of Africa the white administrators have the same difficulty in dealing with ritual murder and torture. In Nigeria the people kill all twins and all children who cut their upper teeth before their lower.
Among these races the idea that unseen gods who rule over them are demons of cruelty is firmly established. Hence these cruel spirits must be pleased and propitiated by offerings of blood. As long as this state of mind exists it is impossible to abolish the practice of human sacrifice. ’
I will continue to say that baseless superstitions lead to nothing but misery, violence, bloodshed and needless sorrow. You have seen a very brutal example in this story. When people hold on to superstitious nonsense, do not expect the outcome of their actions to be any different. There are aspects of the Yoruba culture that are absolutely wonderful and should be retained by all means. On the other hand, there are some sections of the culture that are so abhorrent they should be expunged without batting an eyelid. So how can a society get rid of superstitions such as the belief that murdering human beings can give supernatural powers or instant wealth?
By debunking these horrible teachings via every available platform (because the Nigerian movie and music industry also perpetuate these regrettably shameful myths and superstitious twaddle) will be a good first step. Then incorporating science, reason, logic and technology into our educational system will also help. It is really alarming and disturbing to see a graduate say the secret to wealth is by carrying out money ritual. That is for that.
The other part has to do with the judicial system. You can see that pre-independence justice system of Nigeria was swift in dispensing justice and did not care whether you were a king or a commoner. If you break the law, you will face the music. That is how a society develops. But what do we see in the Nigeria of today? Rot! Let me give you an illustration of this shameful rot in our legal system in a country that is supposedly independent.
In December 2016, a magistrate court sitting in Osogbo ordered the Commissioner of Police of Osun State, I. Fimihan Adeoye to arrest the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi and produce him in court on the 6th of January, 2017. When this order was not followed, the judge, Olusola Aluko, issued another warrant of arrest when the case came up for hearing again.
The flustered judge said he was surprised the Commissioner of Police had not arrested the Oluwo since he first issued the bench warrant of arrest against the first-class monarch. The judge expressed dismay that the CP had not effected the bench warrant of arrest he issued against the king, which he said he signed and handed over to an officer of the Osun State Police Command. The judge could not believe what was happening before his eyes and he said:
‘I am baffled that the Commissioner of Police has not done his duty. I am also surprised by his claim that he was unaware of the bench warrant. That must be a joke of the century. I, therefore, ordered him to immediately arrest the respondent. I am not joking with my order. He (Oba Akanbi) should be arrested and brought to this court on Friday, January 6, 2017. The sanctity of the judiciary must be protected.’
It did not end there, Aluko went ahead to clarify saying the case instituted against Oba Akanbi was not a chieftaincy title but a proper criminal case launched by the Oluwo Oke of Iwo Oke, Oba Kadiri Adeoye. He pressed the matter further saying:
‘ I will like to say that the matter before me was filed, based on sections 35, 37 and 38 of the criminal procedures of Osun State. In a criminal case such as this, a defendant must appear in court. This court is not trying a chieftaincy matter. It is the law that once an order is made, to prevent anarchy, such order must be obeyed. It is to be noted that an order was first made by my brother, Magistrate Omisade of Iwo jurisdiction before the case was transferred here by fiat; and I had warned him (Oba Akanbi) three times to appear before this court. ’
You know what happened? On the 20th of December, 2016, Oluwo of Iwo rubbished the Nigerian judicial system when he refused to respect the court orders and appear to defend himself. He said pointblank that he was not going to appear before the magistrate. What type of impunity is that? Imagine a court ordering you to appear in the United States and you saying you will not appear, just imagine that for a moment.
Even the most powerful man in the world, President Donald Trump was humbled by the federal courts. In Nigeria, a king is saying he will not appear before the country’s judicial system and there is no uproar. In other words, he is above the law. Such a country cannot advance because a strong judicial system is the chief cornerstone of development, from Singapore to Norway to Australia, we have seen this time and over again.
In fact, the frustrated judge issued an order against Oba Akanbi for contempt of court but he simply spurned it. But wait a minute, exactly why did the court want Oba Akanbi to appear in court? For those who do not know, Oluwo of Iwo-Oke, Oba Kadiri Adeoye had approached the Magistrate Court where he accused Oba Akanbi of hiding from the state government some facts about his past when he was installed recently.
The accuser was so confident of what he was saying that he had a detailed 33-paragraph affidavit in which he lampooned Oba Akanbi saying his character does not befit a person of his status and calibre saying he went about with armed thugs, hoodlums and miscreants to harass, intimidate, molest and attack those he considered his enemies. But that was not even the juiciest part of the royal disgrace.
Oba Adeoye further alleged that Oba Akanbi forged his name in order to obtain travel documents to the United States where he was thrown in prison in New York City and eventually deported to Nigeria in 2000. If you think Oba Adeoye was done, you are wrong.
He meant serious business and in the affidavit, he also stated that Oba Akanbi later travelled out with his real name to Canada in 2001 where he became a Canadian citizen but was also arrested in Toronto and jailed between 2006 and 2007. To wrap it up, he accused Oba Akanbi of being nothing but a lowly Internet fraudster and scammer (Yahoo Yahoo boy) who was simply using the palace as a cover for his nefarious crimes. So if someone accused you of what you did not do, shebi you will head to the court to sue the person for defamation of character or whatever fancy term your lawyers can come up with, right?
Oba Akanbi simply reacted by releasing a 13-paragraph affidavit in which he said the application filed against him was ‘scandalous, vexatious and designed to embarrass, blackmail and ridicule’ him and he vowed to take up the case in a higher court of the land. Till this moment, Oba Akanbi neither appeared in the lower court nor did he drag his accuser to a higher court.
As a matter of fact, to add salt to the injury and show how much of a joke the system is, in January 2017, the disappointed judge announced he was handing off the case as it had taken another dimension. What dimension was he talking of? Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola and former President Olusegun Obasanjo had intervened and piled pressure on the hapless judge.
And that was how a prominent traditional ruler rubbished the entire legal system of a country that got independence in 1960 even though the pre-independence legal system of the same country dealt with everyone and anyone who broke the law without any interference from anyone. All of a sudden, 1949 seems saner than now. I will stop here.
Thanks for your time.
- The Medicine Men of Chigango, The Boy’s Own Tribune, Page 2, Saturday, May, 3, 1924.
- Selected Judgments of the West African Court of Appeal, Volume 12, West African Court of Appeal, Government Print Department, 1946, page 492.
- Oba Sentenced To Death For Ritual Killing by Mustapha Ogunsakin
- John Verity (Judge) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Verity_(judge)
- Ekiti State https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekiti_State
- A Humble Beginning: An Autobiographical Prelude to the Turbulent Decades by Tunji Otegbeye, STATCO, 1995.
- The Origin, Growth and Development of Efon Alaaye Kingdom by Adeware Alokan, Timade Ventures, 2004.
- Official Website of Efon Alaaye http://www.efon-alaaye.ekiti.com/
- Divine right of kings https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_right_of_kings
- January 1949 Calendar http://luirig.altervista.org/calendar/index2.php?year=1949&month=1
- Cort Orders Osun CP To Arrest Oluwo, Oba Akanbi http://punchng.com/court-orders-osun-cp-to-arrest-the-oluwo-oba-akanbi/
- Oluwo of Iwo: Obasanjo, Aregbesola Intervene, Judge Hands Off https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/law/oluwo-of-iwo-obasanjo-aregbesola-intervene-judge-hands-off/179436.html