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Court Dethrones Ondo Monarch After 29-Year Legal Battle

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In a landmark ruling, an Ondo State High Court has deposed the Olute of Ute, Oba Michael Adetunji Oluwole, ending a chieftaincy dispute that spanned nearly three decades.

The decision was handed down by Justice Ademola Enikuomehin, who presides over the court in Owo Local Government Area. Oba Oluwole, a retired major, was dethroned after 29 years on the throne, following a prolonged legal tussle with the Olule Omoloja ruling house.

The court nullified the process that led to his ascension, declaring it invalid and ordering a fresh selection from the rightful lineage. Justice Enikuomehin ruled that Oluwole should cease to present himself as the monarch of Ute, citing that he was not a legitimate member of the Olule Omoloja ruling house but a member of the kingmakers, who had no right to the throne.

The court also awarded damages in favor of the claimants. The ruling marks the culmination of a legal journey that began in 1995. Mr. Adewumi Fabuluje, counsel for the Olule Omoloja ruling house, hailed the verdict as a long-awaited victory, emphasizing that the case had traversed all levels of the judiciary, including a referral back to the High Court from the Supreme Court for a fresh hearing after a judgment at the Appellate Court.

In response to the judgment, Prince Olayiwola Omoloja of the Olule Omoloja ruling house expressed relief, viewing the decision as a resolution to the protracted legal conflict caused by what he described as the hijacking of the throne by Oluwole. Meanwhile, F.K. Salami, the attorney representing the state, indicated that the legal team would review the judgment to determine their next steps.

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