Yoruba self-determination drag FG, INEC to court, demand stop of Ekiti, Osun poll, 1999 constitution | NN NEWS

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Yoruba self-determination organisation Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO) has made real its threat that agitation for the Yoruba nation would resume this week with a renewed vigour to actualise the dream.

The Leader of IOO Worldwide, Prof Banji Akintoye, from Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State; his deputy, Prof Wale Adeniran, from Ile-Ife, Osun-State; and an Ado-Ekiti based medical doctor, Chief Bayo Orire, as well as15 others have filed two suits against the conducts of governorship polls in Ekiti and Osun State, this year.

The two cases were separately filed on Tuesday before the Federal High Court, sitting in Ado-Ekiti, as well as the Federal High Court, sitting in Osogbo. The defendants in each of the two cases are the Attorney-General of the Federation/Minister of Justice, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The development came barely a week after the Yoruba nation activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, was released from prison custody on health grounds in Cotonou in the Benin Republic, following his arrest in July 2021 at a Cotonou airport on his way to Germany on alleged immigration offences, having escaped a bloody raid by joint security agencies on his house on July 1, 2021, at Soka, Ibadan, Oyo State.

The Sun Newspapers, had in its Saturday Sun edition of March 12, 2022, exclusively reported that the IOO said the group would resume agitation for the Yoruba nation in a bigger way this week, following the release of Igboho from prison custody in Cotonou.

The Yoruba leaders and the self-determination groups filed the cases through an Ondo State-born constitutional lawyer, Tolu Babaleye, with a view to stopping the two elections on the grounds that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria purportedly does not meet the requirements that should qualify it as a valid constitution.

They contended that without having a referendum, “which absolutely is an essential part in the process of making a Constitution, the 1999 Constitution is illegal, invalid and of no effect whatsoever.”

The applicants are demanding a total decommissioning of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria to pave way for a referendum so that the indigenous people of Yorubaland can decide on their nationhood, first and foremost.

According to a statement made available to newsmen by the Communications Secretary of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, Mr Maxwell Adeleye, the activists are praying for a categorical order that the current Nigerian Constitution is illegal and invalid because no referendum was conducted before it was enacted, and that INEC does not have the law that can be used to conduct elections anywhere in Yorubaland, a region within Nigeria.

“Thus, the forthcoming Ekiti and Osun governorship polls and all future elections should be stopped in Yorubaland until a referendum is held for the Yoruba people to decide on the system they want for themselves within Nigeria and whether they even want to remain as Nigerians.

“We are demanding that whether by virtue of the preamble to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) which says: ‘WE THE PEOPLE of the Federal Republic of Nigeria HAVING firmly and solemnly resolved to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God dedicated to the promotion of inter-African solidarity, world peace, international cooperation and understanding: AND TO PROVIDE for a Constitution for the purpose of promoting the good government and welfare of all persons in our country on the principle of freedom, equity and justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of our people do hereby make and give to ourselves the following constitution’ without having a ‘Referendum’, which absolutely is an essential part in the process of making a constitution.

“The said 1999 Constitution (as Amended) is illegal, invalid and of no effect whatsoever for failing to meet an essential requirement to be qualified as a valid Constitution. Therefore, in the event that the above sole issue is resolved in the positive affirmation, the claimants, led by Akintoye, pray the court for the following reliefs:

“A declaration that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) is invalid, illegal and of no effect whatsoever by reason of its failure to satisfy the essential requirements of the referendum and national consensus expected of a valid Constitution.

“A declaration that the preamble/introductory passage to the 1999 Constitution inserted into the Constitution by the Military Government which says ‘’We the people of Nigeria have resolved to give ourselves a Constitution’, is a lie when in the actual fact it was the military government that came up with the document and imposed it on the Nigerian people without any contribution from the Nigerian people. It has therefore rendered the constitution illegal, invalid and null and void and of no effect on the ground of naked lie fraud.

“A declaration that no valid elections, whether presidential, governorship, national and state assembly or councillorship elections can be validly held under the said invalid and fraudulent constitution, as one cannot build something on nothing in law and expect it to stand.

“A declaration that the forthcoming Ekiti State governorship election which is scheduled to be conducted in June 2022 by the INEC cannot be validly held under the said illegal and invalid 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.

“An order of this Honourable Court stopping the holding of the scheduled Ekiti State Governorship election coming up in June 2022 from being held as there is no valid legal framework for such an exercise because the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) under which the said governorship election is planned to be conducted is illegal, invalid and inherently defective.

“An order of this Honourable Court directing the defendants jointly and severally to stay clear of Ekiti and Osun States in June and July 2022 and suspend with immediate effect the plans and arrangements they have put in place to conduct such an illegal election in Ekiti and Osun States of Nigeria.”

The group, however, called on all Yoruba people, especially, self-determination activists in Ekiti and Osun States to mobilise themselves and ensure that they are present in courts in Osogbo and Ado-Ekiti whenever the cases are called for mention.

“This is a clarion call to our people within and beyond Yorubaland that it is time to jettison our personal interest for the overall interest of our land. History and posterity will never be kind to us if we miss this historic opportunity to salvage our land and restore our stolen nationhood. We must all come out in our large numbers to show solidarity, peacefully and lawfully, in support of this case because a landmark decision awaits the Yoruba people.”

(The Sun)

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