A High Court sitting in Ilesa has ordered the Osun State Government and those involved in the selection of the new Elegboro of Ijebu Jesa to maintain status ante on the planned coronation of Prince Femi Agunsoye as the new monarch of the town.
The presiding judge, Justice Adekola Adegoke, on Tuesday renewed the order, which he had earlier given on October 12, that all parties involved in the case should maintain status quo ante pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit before the court.
But, counsel representing the applicants in the case, (kingmakers) Mr. Biola Ladapo, told the court that despite the order of the court that status quo be maintained, Agunsoye went ahead to print invitation cards to his coronation and went to The African Church in Ijebu Jesa on Sunday, October 15 where he dressed like an Oba and paraded himself as the monarch of the town.
Describing the action of Agunsoye as contempt of court, the applicants’ counsel said the interest of his clients would be negatively affected if the action was overlooked by the court and that this might cause break down of law and order in the town.
He said, “This court gave an order on October 12, 2017 that status quo ante be maintained pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice. but despite the order of this honourable court that both parties maintain status quo, the defendant has gone ahead to print coronation invitation slated for November 4th, 2017 and our interest will be affected if he goes ahead to do it.
“I humbly submit that this is a contempt of court. He also went to African Church in Ijebu Jesa on Sunday and paraded himself as the Elegboro of Ijebu Jesa despite the order of this court. This is a total disregard and disobedience to the order of this honourable court.”
The state counsel representing the Osun State Government, Olayinka Gabriel, told the court that the state government has been served with the court order.
Counsel for the defendant, Mr. Toyese Owoade, in his response said he was not aware of the alleged disobedience to the order of the court but he said his client was a law-abiding citizen who would not violate any order of the court.
He told that court that the undated picture being used as evidence by the applicants could not be relied upon. He also argued that the invitation cards might have been printed before the court gave the order of October 12, saying this was not a contempt proceeding.
The counsel said there was nothing to prove that Agunsoye was addressed as the Elegboro of Ijebu Jesa during the church service.
Owoade also argued that the issue of the jurisdiction of the court must first be resolved before the judge could give any order. He cited the Supreme Court verdict on the case of Ajayi versus Adebiyi to support his claim.
But the judge said the court had the competence to maintain peace in the society desolate the issue of jurisdiction raised by the defendant.
He said, “When you obey court orders, there are consequences and when you choose to disobey court orders, there are also consequences. If you are not satisfied with my order, you can appeal it.
“I hereby, therefore, renew my earlier order made on October 12, 2017 that all parties in the suit maintain status quo ante. The case is adjourned to October 31, 2017.”