Ilana Oodua kicks as court strikes out suit to stop Ekiti gov election

Prof Banji Akintoye
Prof Banji Akintoye

Yoruba Nation self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, has rejected the ruling by a justice of the Federal High Court Sitting in Ado-Ekiti over its suit seeking to stop the Ekiti State governorship election holding this month.

Premium Politics reports that the group had approached the Federal High Courts sitting in Osogbo and Ado Ekiti, asking for an order directing the Attorney General of the Federation and Independent National Electoral Commission to suspend plans to hold governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun state.

The group also demanded a total decommissioning of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria to pave the way for a referendum so that the indigenous people of Yoruba land can decide on their nationhood.

However, in a recent judgement Justice Banji Ikuewumi of the Ekiti court struck out the suit which was initially on behalf of the group by its lawyer, Tolu Babaleye, and had as claimants, the leader of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, Banji Akintoye; his Deputy, Wale Adeniran; an Ado-Ekiti based medical doctor, Chief Bayo Orire; and 15 others.

Justice Ikuewumi struck out the suit by the apex body of the Yoruba self-determination movement over the lack of locus standi and jurisdiction.

Reacting in a statement signed on Tuesday, June 14th, 2022, by Maxwell Adeleye, Communications Secretary, Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, the group described the ruling as "a miscarriage of justice", noting that the judge erred in his ruling.

The group argued that the Judge ruled on the case despite the fact that the respondents in the case, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Independent National Electoral Commission are yet to file a defense statement nor appear in court since the inception of the case.

"Justice Ikuewumi declared that INEC and AGF are not based nor situated in Ekiti State even though they carry on business in Ado Ekiti, therefore, the case ought to be instituted at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.

"He also ruled that the six Plantifs who instituted the suit on behalf of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide did not show sufficient prove that the 1999 constitution of Nigeria and that the conduct of Ekiti Governorship Election affects them in anyway more than it affects others 2 million eligible voters in Ekiti," the statement said.

Ilana Omo Oodua's Lead Counsel, Tolu Babaleye, according to the statement, stated that they shall appeal against the ruling.

Speaking further, Adeleye, highlighted that the Judge ruled that the six Plaintiffs are not enough to represent over two million Ekiti voters to institute a suit to challenge the making and the validity of 1999 constitution of Nigeria, nor demand for Ekiti State Governorship Election to be stopped.

Babaleye said the Judge has turned himself to a Father Christmas who now strikes out a suit based on Locus Standi when the Respondents have not even appeared in court since the inception of the case in April.

The Abuja Based Constitutional Lawyer said "the case came up this morning for ruling on the issue of forum and locus standi raised suo motu by the Hon. Presiding Judge.

"The court came to the conclusion that the 6 Defendants cannot represent the over 2 Million voters in Ekiti, that the Claimants have not shown how they are affected more than other Ekiti people if the election is allowed to go on and if the Constitution is invalidated as they prayed for.

"The court also held that INEC and Attorney General of the Federation are not resident in Ekiti, and as such, the Court in Ado Ekiti is not the appropriate forum for the suit to be instituted.

"Based on these reasons, the court struck out the Ilana case pending at Federal High Court Ado Ekiti this morning. I am taking an immediate step to get the ruling, study it and determine the next line of action after due consultations with my clients.

"But to be specific, we shall appeal against this ruling which, in my opinion, is a miscarriage of justice. The Judge should not have turned himself into a Father Christmas, he should have transferred this matter to Abuja instead of striking it out. The struggle continues."

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