Barely few hours to the grand finale of the annual Osun-Osogbo festival, an Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo, on Thursday restrained the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji from usurping the duties of Osun priest for another, appointed by him.
Ruling on a mandatory application brought before it, the court presided over by Justice A.O Ayoola said the Osun priest popularly known as Baba Osun, Dr. Adigun Olayiwola, and Yeye Osun have been performing the role of the worship of the goddess from time immemorial.
The judge further maintained that the duo were performing the role after the demise of the last Ataoja and it would be impossible to calculate the loss and damage, stopping them from the worship of the deity would cause on their emotion.
According to Justice Ayoola, “what the court is concerned about now is not what is right or wrong, but whether the applicant/plaintiff has a legal right that is worthy of protection and in my view, he has proved that his right has been trampled and the damage is done to his emotions.”
“It is almost impossible to calculate the amount of damage to emotions the Baba and Yeye Osun are going through, hence, in my view, it is better to preserve the wrest and maintain status quo. The balance of convenience tilt in favour of the plaintiff/applicant.”
Justice Ayoola, therefore ordered that the defendant/respondent should not restrict the applicant from entering the Osun temple located within the Ataoja palace or to participate in any activities relating to the celebration of Osun-Osogbo festival.
The court also granted the request of the applicant to be allowed to perform their duties as Osun Osogbo priest and priestess without any form of restriction.
The Ataoja had substituted Dr. Adigun with another person following a disagreement with him over issues relating to the custody of the Osun temple.