Justice Akinsanya, who ruled against Shonekan’s interim govt, dies at 79

    Tobi Aworinde

    Justice Dolapo Akinsanya (retd), who declared the Interim National Government of Chief Ernest Shonekan as illegal on November 10, 1993, is dead.

    Justice Akinsanya reportedly died in Lagos State on Thursday at the age of 79.

    Following the annulment of the widely acclaimed June 12, 1993 presidential election by military dictator, Gen Ibrahim Babangida (retd), who later handed over to the Chief Ernest Shonekan-led Interim National Government, Justice Akinsanya ruled that the head of state had no authority to install an interim government.

    Chief Moshood Abiola of the Social Democratic Party has since been recognised by the Federal Government as the legitimate winner of the 1993 poll.

    In her judgment on November 10, 1993, she said, “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.”

    Born on February 24, 1941 to the Prof Sanya Onabamiro family, the late jurist attended Agbeni Methodist Primary School, Ibadan from 1948 to 1954.

    She went to St Anne’s School, Ibadan, Oyo State for her secondary education between 1955 and 1959, and later Victoria University of Manchester for her law programme (1962-1965).

    The late jurist proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos (1965-1966) and was called to bar.

    She married renowned surgeon, Prof Bolaji Akinsanya, on March 25, 1967 and the union is blessed with six children.

    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 also appointed a Judge of the High Court of Lagos State on October 31, 1989 and retired on February 21, 2006.

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