There was a mild drama at a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere on Wednesday, March 26, in the ongoing suit challenging the selection and installation of Oba Rilwan Akiolu as the Oba of Lagos as the trial judge, Justice Samuel Candidide-Johnson and a senior lawyer, Mr. Babatunde Fashanu (SAN) engaged each other in altercation over a request to settlement the matter out of court.

The claimants, Prince Sammy Adedoyin Adebiyi and Prince Rasheed Modile, had in suit No LD/1215/2003 prayed the court to set aside the appointment and installation of Akiolu as the Oba of Lagos.

Joined as defendants are Governor of Lagos State, Attorney-General of the State and Commissioner for Justice; Prince Babatunde Akitoye and Chief Junaud Eko.

At the resumed hearing of the suit, the claimants? lawyer, Fashanu, had told Justice Candide-Johnson that he was prepared for the trial and that his first witness was in court.

The Solicitor General of Lagos State, Lawal Pedro (SAN), counsel to Lagos State Governor and the Attorney-General respectively (1st and 2nd defendants), said he was equally prepared for trial, but that the lack of electricity in court would not allow him to proceed.

Pedro also drew attention of the court to a letter written by Oniru of Iruland, Oba Abiodun Idowu Oniru, requesting that he should be allowed to mediate between parties for a possible out of court settlement.

Akiolu?s lawyer, Aderemi Bashau, and fifth defendant?s lawyer, L.O Kareem, confirmed Oniru?s letter, and said they were not opposed to any settlement move. But Fashanu said he was not opposed to any settlement move, but that the court should not have encouraged a letter from an individual who is not a party to the suit, no matter how highly or lowly placed.

He said: ?My Lord, this is the 11th year of this case. We have gone through all that before the previous judge that handled the matter.

?My clients may have to wait for over 200 years to claim their rights to the throne. The author of the letter should have done so through the lawyers to the parties in this suit. What he has done is even contemptuous.?

But Justice Candide- Johnson held that in accordance with the rules of court, he was mandated to encourage any attempt of amicable settlement.

The judge said he did not see the letter as contemptuous and that there was never anything stopping the Oniru from mediating in the matter.

Consequently, Justice Candide- Johnson granted audience to Oba Oniru in the open court to explain the rationale behind the letter.

The judge later told the parties that he was favourable disposed to the request of the monarch to intervene in the matter and thereafter directed parties to agree on a date for report of settlement.

But trouble started when Fashanu told the court that the proper thing to do was to adjourn for report of settlement or trial.

Apparently miffed by the confrontation, Justice Candide-Johnson irritably ordered Fashanu to sit down saying, ?this is my court. I have the right to overrule you and you have been overruled. So, sit down!?

However, the case has been adjourned till May 5, 2014.


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