A dogged Hon. Justice Dolapo Akinsanya (rtd) who courageously declared the Interim National Government (ING) of Chief Ernest Shonekan as illegal on 10th day of November, 1993 is reported to have died on Thursday, 5th November, 2020 according to a family source.
The late jurist was born on 24th day of February, 1941 to the family of Prof Sanya Onabamiro. She was married to a reknown surgeon, Prof Bolaji Akinsanya on March 25, 1967.
As a Judge, she was magnificently courageous and had written her name in the indelible sands of time in a quest to stabilize democracy and rule of Law in Nigeria.
ASKLEGALPALACE recalls her vibrant role as a Judge when General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the June 12, 1993 elections believed to have been won by the late business mogul, MKO Abiola.
However, Gen Babangida regime hastily left power on August 26, 1993 and handed over to an Interim National Government headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan, a former Managing Director of UAC Plc.
Conversely, MKO Abiola peeved by the development challenged same before late Hon. Justice Akinsanya, and partly in her Judgment, she declared as follows:
“President Babangida has no legitimate power to sign a decree after August 26, 1993, after his exit, so the decree is void and of no effect”.
Consequently, the legality of the Interim Government was determined.
The American Washington Post of 11th November, 1993 reported her Judgement with the caption “Nigeria Ruled Illegally, Says Judge” and reported as follows:
“Judge Dolapo Akinsanya issued the ruling in a case brought by thwarted presidential contender Moshood Abiola. She told a packed courtroom that Nigeria’s military ruler, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, who stepped down Aug. 26, had no authority to install an interim government.
“It takes us one step closer to the establishment of government based on the consent of the people,” Abiola said in a statement. “This is a significant victory for the people of Nigeria.”
“Abiola was not in court, but thousands of his supporters cheered the verdict. Many people poured onto the streets of Lagos calling for Abiola’s installation in the presidency, which he is widely believed to have won in a June 12 election annulled by Babangida for alleged vote-rigging.”
The late noble Judge attended Agbeni Methodist Primary School, Ibadan from 1948-1954 after which she proceeded to St Anne’s School Ibadan, for her Secondary School Education between 1955-1959.
Furthermore, she proceeded to Victoria University of Manchester where she bagged her Law Degree between 1962-1965 and later on, attended Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos and was called to bar 1965-1966.
She was in private legal practice between 1966 and 1976 before she joined the Lagos State Ministry of Justice as a Senior Legal Officer. She rose through the ranks as Assistant Director Civil Litigation, Secretary/Legal Adviser, LSDPC, and Director, Civil Litigation. She was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Lagos State on 31st day of October, 1989 and retired on 21st day of February, 2006.
Describing her impeccable record of excellence, the former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu stated that the retiring is “one of the heroines of the present democracy in Nigeria for the courageous judgement she delivered against the legality of the Interim National Government in November 1993”.