You probably may not need a story to understand that money really does talk but by the time you read this story till the last word, you will be amazed that the popular adage that success does have many friends is a reality. Leadership, they say is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire others but there is a point at which money, influence and power become so blinding that people believe they control the world.
But the recent legal battle between two royal figures in Lagos, Oba Bashir Oloruntoyin Saliu of Oworonsoki and Oba Fatai Oyeyinka Aromire of Ojoraland is a direct show of how money can estrange respected relationships to become sworn enemies but what is more embarrassing is how the two custodians of culture who are meant to maintain peace, end up washing their dirty linens in public.
We gathered that the Kings’ dispute is in line with recent Supreme Court judgment in suit no. SC/54/2005, which vested the ownership of vast hectares of land in Ijora, Iganmu, Orile and Coker village, Lagos on the Ojora royal family.
It was learnt that after Oba Ojora secured the ruling, he became power drunk, hence resulted to reestablish ownership right on each of the communities, individuals and corporate organizations domiciled in the area.
City Rovers further gathered that Oba Ojora informed all the landlords which include 7-Up, Nigerian Breweries, National Stadium, Banks, Petrol Filling Stations, Lagos Water Corporation, Flour Mills, National Thearte and a host of other companies that they would have to rebuy the lands they bought many years back.
Apparently, the Oba’s declaration caused some stirs among the landlords who eventually notified Lagos State Government of the new development.
Sources close the family told us that when the state government learnt of the issue, it acted swiftly to call Oba Ojora to order, but his royal majesty declined, insisting that every landlord within the Ojora community must make another payment for the land purchase or risk being evacuated from the community.
But as a responsible government which understands that resolving the issue would prevent any unforeseen pandemonium that may ensue from the parties involved, we gathered gave Oba Ojora a whopping sum of N3billion to appease him and the Oba eventually consented to the plea.
Meanwhile, when everyone thought the barking dog has been laid to rest, the spirit of money attracted some people who felt cheated with the view that they are privy to the matter, hence should get some share of the state government’s largesse.
Top on the list of aggrieved persons is the Oba of Oworonsoki, HRM Oba Bashir Oloruntoyin Saliu. It was learnt that the Oba categorically called on Oba Ojora to request for his share being a bonafide member of the Ojora Chieftaincy family but the latter declined.
In a writ of summon filed in the High Court of Lagos with suit no. LD/8333/2014, the paramount King of Oworonsoki Kingdom, deposed to an affidavit of urgency stating that apart from being a principal member of the Ojora royal family, he’s also a member of the Ojora Chieftaincy Family care taker committee with an indemnity letter serving as proof, hence mandated the respondent, Oba Ojora to accord the applicant with all the benefits and entitlements of membership of the family.
He stated that ever since the respondent, Oba Ojora became the King of Ijora, he has sidelined him totally in all affairs of the family and denied him of all privileges, rights, benefits and entitlements as a member of the family.
Oba Oworonsoki noted that when he requested for his share of the N3billion paid by the Lagos State Government as compensation in respect of the government allottees on the land of the family, but the Oba Ojora declined.
However, in a counter affidavit to the claimant’s originating summons dated November 27, 2014, the Oba Fatai Oyeyinka Aromire of Ijoraland, the ruler averred that the claimant was never at any time prior to the institution of the suit elected and or appointed as a principal member of Ojora Chieftaincy Family and Council. He argued that the claimant’s application is frivolous, vexatious, misconceived and should be disregarded.
He stressed that membership of Ojora Chieftaincy family council is attained mainly through any of the five branches of the family names ASABA; OLUMOKUN; OYEGBE; EJIMOSU and ADEJIYAN respectively adding that contrary to the Ojora Chieftaincy Family Caretaker Committee upon which the claimant rests his claim, it had been discovered illegal and unconstitutional body which has ceased to exist since 1993.