Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua, has explained how it plans to go about stopping the governorship elections in Osun and Ekiti states.
This was contained in a statement issued on Sunday by spokesperson for the group, Maxwell Adeyemi.
Ilana Omo Oodua was reacting to a statement by human rights lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, who cautioned its leader, Prof Banji Akintoye, against comments made regarding elections in Yoruba states.
Recall that Akintoye, a historian and leader of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, had on Friday said that there won’t be any governorship election in any part of Yoruba land in 2022.
Akintoye said the next elections the Yoruba would participate in would be in their own country after having successfully seceded from Nigeria.
Olajengbesi in a statement on Saturday said that Nigeria practised constitutional democracy and no individual or organisation can upturn this.
According to him, while Akintoye's views does not portray what many had taken it to be from the surface, the position does not fully align with a wider belief that only a constitutional means can guarantee secession from Nigeria for the Yoruba people.
A counter-statement from the group on Sunday noted that Olanengbesi does not speak for Sunday 'Igboho' Adeyemo and was not involved in the struggle for self-determination.
The group argued there is already a valid constitution force majure and notice of constitution grievance already declared in line with the United Nations and African Union Charters on People's Right which Nigeria was a signatory to, adding that this invalidates the 1999 constitution which the Nigerian Government wants to use to conduct the Osun and Ekiti elections.
The statement reads, “The general public should take note that an Osun State politician/Abuja-based legal practitioner, Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi, do not speak for Chief Sunday 'Igboho' Adeyemo neither is he involved in the Yoruba nation self-determination struggle.
“The work of Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi which the Yoruba nation self-determination struggle hired and paid him for ends at defending the rights of the oppressed aides and relations of Ighoho arrested by the DSS on July 1st, 2021 in Ibadan, Oyo State at an Abuja High Court.
“Anything Olajengbesi say afterwards should be considered as his personal opinion and not that of Ighoho. As our lawyer, he is supposed to speak to the public on our instruction.
“For the record, Olajengbesi has honestly and sincerely made it clear in an interview that he is not interested in the Yoruba nation self-determination struggle because he believe in One Nigeria; that his only interest is to defend the oppressed and the voiceless people being illegally humilaited by the Nigerian Government which, to his credit, he has meritoriously executed for us.
“We are surprised that Olajengbesi wrote a New Year message to President Muhammadu Buhari on behalf of Ighoho, lobbied indirectly, the Nigerian Government, while he attempted to paint the image of a tired and surrendered Ighoho.
“We want to state very expressly that the so-called happy new year message is a personal opinion of Pelumi Olajengbesi, and not the position of Chief Ighoho.
“Mr Olajengbesi further went against the run of play when he attacked our revered worldwide leader, Prof Banji Akintoye on social media for relaying the position of the self-determination struggle that there 'll be no governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states in 2022.
“Olajengbesi is a politician from Osun State with a strong interest in this year governorship election in his home state and the 2023 general elections that Ilana Omo Oodua want to use the instrumentalities of the law to stop, hence, his decision to attack Prof Banji Akintoye, not because he truly loves Chief Adeyemo who had before his arrest, made it clear to the world that it is #NoReferendumNoElection.
“Most surprisingnly, Olajengbesi, for reason(s) best known to him, clandestinely attempted to link Prof Banji Akintoye (the man that authorised the payments for his service) to an act of violence despite the octogenarian renowned scholar stating in his statement that "the self-determination struggle shall tow the pacts of law and peace" to achieve its aim.
“While Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi has a right to do whatever he likes in his personal capacity, however, we are surprised he could be wildly unethical in his approach by choosing to use social media to attack Prof Banji Akintoye's New Year statement on behalf of the Yoruba nation self-determination movement.
“We at Ilana Omo Oodua, being the umbrella body of Yoruba self-determination groups, consider Olajengbesi's action as a betrayal of trust that we repose in him and an abuse of the ethics of his legal profession. He took advantage of his association with our movement to perpetrate his personal agenda to our own detriment which is against the run of play.
“For clarity purpose, the decision to boycott and do everything within the ambits of the law to stop the Osun and Ekiti states 2022 governorship elections was taken by the congress of Ilana Omo Oodua on 22nd December, 2021.
“Our argument is that with a valid constitution force majure and notice of constitution grievance already declared in line with the United Nations and African Union Charters on People's Right which Nigeria is a signatory to, the 1999 constitution which the Nigerian Government want to use to conduct the Osun and Ekiti elections has already been invalidated.
“Not withstanding our position, we resolved to approach the courts within the jurisdictions of Ekiti and Osun states to put our democracy into test by demanding a declaration that there's indeed a constitutional dispute in Nigeria and as such, the elections in Ekiti and Osun states should not be conducted, hence the basis of the declaration from Prof Banji Akintoye that there 'll be no governorship elections in Osun and Ekiti states in 2022.
“We state very unequivocally that Olajengbesi is the one heating up the polity, and not Prof Akintoye nor Ilana Omo Oodua. Therefore, we want to tell the whole world that Olajengbesi shall be held responsible should anything happen to Prof Akintoye or any of the leaders of the Yoruba nation self-determination struggle.
“We are just trying to explore the constitutional avenue in the fight for our inalienable right for self-determination. If Olajengbesi has no ulterior motive, the best standard practice is for him to call Prof Banji Akintoye or the head of the legal team for the Yoruba nation self-determination struggle, Olasupo Ojo, for clarifications instead of rushing to the social media to impress his friends.
“Anyone perpetrating or planning violence is not one of us. We want to assure Olajengbesi that if we lose in the Nigerian courts, we shall take our case to the ECOWAS court or the International Court of Justice. It is no retreat, no surrender.”