The Federal High Court, Osogbo, Osun State, will on Tuesday resume hearing into the lawsuit filed by the Ilana Omo Oodua, the umbrella body for Yoruba self-determination groups, challenging the validity of the 1999 constitution to hold an election.

The group, in an invite sent to SaharaReporters, called on media personnel and all self-determination activists for coverage and in solidarity with the group.

It, however, stated that it was strictly a peaceful solidarity walk into the courtroom with lawyers devoid of violence.

Ilana Omo Oodua had last month filed the suit against the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Yoruba self-determination umbrella is seeking to stop the conduct of the forthcoming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.

It argued that the 1999 constitution of Nigeria which INEC wants to use to conduct the two elections and subsequent elections in Nigeria is invalid, because no referendum was conducted when it was enacted in 1999.

The lawsuit, instituted by Prof Banji Akintoye, his Deputy, Prof Wale Adeniran, Chief Bayo Orire and 15 others, was filed on behalf of the activists by their lawyer, Tolu Babaleye, before the Federal High Courts in Ado-Ekiti and Osogbo, the capitals of the states.

It further demands a total decommissioning of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria to pave way for a referendum so that the indigenous people of Yoruba land can decide on their nationhood, first and foremost.

The Ilana Omo Oodua is 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 pray the Court for the following reliefs:

"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.”

Recall that in December 2021, the leader of the Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof Banji Akintoye said there would not be any governorship election in any part of Yoruba land in 2022.

This was despite preparations by the Independent National Electoral Commission to hold governorship elections in the two South-West states of Ekiti and Osun in 2022.

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