A former judge of the Lagos High Court, Justice Dolapo Funlola Akinsanya, who on November 10, 1993, declared the Interim National Government (ING) of Chief Ernest Shonekan illegal, is dead.
Justice Akinsanya died on Thursday in Lagos at the age of 79.
Akinsanya was born on February 24, 1941, to the family of the late Prof Sanya Onabamiro, a First Republic Minister in the old Western Region.
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, before being appointed a judge of the High Court of Lagos State on October 31, 1989.
In declaring the ING illegal in the famous judgement, Akinsanya had 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.”
She ordered that a civilian constitution, which was drawn up under Babangida in 1989 but never implemented, go into effect.
With the judgment, the legality of the ING was determined. The late Gen Sanni Abacha later seized power in a coup shortly afterwards.
Gen Babangida left government on August 26, 1993, and handed over to the ING headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan.
Chief M.K.O .Abiola who had, won the June 12,1993 presidential election which was annulled by Babangida, challenged the handover of power to the ING.
Justice Akinsanya retired from the La