From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan and Chukwudi Nweje
The apex Yoruba self-determination organisation, the Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO) has made real its threat that agitation for Yoruba nation would resume this week with a renewed vigour to actualise the dream.
Leader of IOO, 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 file 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 Attoney-General of the Federation/Minister of Justice, and 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 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 a 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 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.
The 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 for 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, 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.