By INNOCENT ANABA
The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin, Edo State, has declared the Umu Obi Obahai royal family of Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, as the only family qualified to produce the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku.
The court upheld the decision of a Delta State High Court, Ogwashi-Uku, on the issue.
The current Obi of Ogwashi-Uku, Professor Chukuka Okonjo, comes from the Umu Obi Obahai royal lineage of Ogwashi-Uku.
The Appeal Court upheld nine of the 10 reliefs sought by the Umu Obi Obahai royal line, including the issue of which family can produce the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku.
The judgment upheld the position of the Obahai family that succession to the throne of the Obi of Ugwashi-Uku was hereditary by primogeniture and that the last validly installed Obi of Ugwashi-Uku was Obahai.
It also confirms that Dieyi, the forefather of the Dieyi family, which challenged the Obahai’s position was never an Obi but a mere regent, who held the throne in trust because Obahai’s children were minors at the time of his death.
Reacting to the judgment, spokesperson of the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku, Mr Law Okolobi, said the Obi and the Obi-in-Council, were pleased that the truth in the matter had been confirmed and justice done.
He added that the Obi was convinced that the judgment was a victory for the entire people of Ogwashi-Uku.
It will be recalled that Obi Obahai reigned from 1870 to 1882 and since his demise, the regency had prevailed until 22 years ago, when the descendants of Obahai decided to take back their stool. To achieve this, they felt that the only weapon was not through a ‘palace coup’ but to seek redress in the court of law.
The defendants in the case, on the other hand, contended that the Obiship had changed hands several times and, having been gazetted by the state government, the stool should remain with the Dieyi family.
Following the controversy, the plaintiffs, the Okonjos headed to court.
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