Yoruba Nation: Judge’s absence stalls suit seeking stoppage of Osun, Ekiti, General elections

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Uba Group

Uba Group

BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO

An attempt by some members of the Ilana Omo Odua, a group seeking secession from Nigeria, to hear a suit challenging the eligibility of the 1999 Constitution to conduct the Osun, Ekiti and 2023 General Elections, was on Tuesday frustrated due to the absence of a judge.

Some members of the group had dragged the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, SAN, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court over the eligibility of Nigeria’s 1999 constitution to conduct the forthcoming elections.

The suits, filed by about 20 persons, including the leader of the self-determination group, Professor Banji Akintoye; his deputy, Professor Wale Adeniran; are demanding a total decommissioning of the 1999 constitution to pave way for a referendum so that the indigenous people of Yoruba land can decide on their nationhood, first and foremost.

The lawyer of the group, Tolu Babaleye, said the group was challenging the 1999 constitution as it was neither made by Nigerians nor followed the process of constitution-making worldwide.

“What we are challenging is that, where the people gathered to make that constitution? When? What we’re saying is that the constitution does not follow due process of constitution-making, anywhere in the world. And that being the case, the constitution is illegal and the court should pronounce it to be,” Babaleye said.

He added that the position of the group to have approached the court is that the constitution lied against itself and thereby lacks the legality under which the July 16 Osun gubernatorial election will be conducted.

“If the court can come to the conclusion that the constitution is illegal, then everything found on it will be illegal. And it will not be able to start,” he noted.

The lawyer praised the members of the Ilana group for deciding to approach the court over the matter and not resulting in street demonstrations capable of causing a commotion, killing, and burning of houses among others.

He said, “The best way to address the issue is what we’re doing now. Only civilised people go to court. And I believe the government must be able to recommend that.”

The Deputy Secretary-General of the Ilana Omo Oduduwa Worldwide, Dr Kayode Akinwande, while speaking with journalists in the court premises stressed that the constitution is fraudulent and that the group will boycott the Osun gubernatorial elections should the court delay the trial.

“We are here as the Ilana group to support our members that are prosecuting this issue of the 1999 constitution. And we have gone into the archives of elections in Osun state. The people in Osun are more than four million, but in the last election that brought in this government; the people that voted are not up to 500,000. which means our people are among those people that have abandoned voting.

“Even in the other elections, we have been seeing 250,000 that voted for the governor where we have 3 million. People should ask the question; why? It’s because most of these people are not interested in voting. After all, they belong to our group that are saying this 1999 constitution is a complete fraud,” he noted.

Akinwande stressed that the constitution is fraudulent and that the group will boycott the Osun gubernatorial elections should the court delay the trial.

He added that the same struggle will be extended to the 2023 general election, noting that their demand is not an election or restructuring but a referendum.

“The lawyer has mentioned why it is a fraud because of the preamble they use, which is ‘we’. And we have also looked at it in our association that even the fundamentals, the principles, and then, the mode of legalising a constitution which is to pass through referendum and plebiscite, was not observed.

The case was adjourned till May 24 for mention.

“CBN"