- ‘Tinubu remains a convict, cannot contest election in Nigeria”, Alleges PDP
- Fani-Kayode: ‘No basis, logic or rationality,’ in PDP’s Claims
As the Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organisation on Monday resolved to approach the court to seek the disqualification of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu from the February 25 presidential election over drug and corruption claims, the ruling party has knocked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), describing the move irresponsible and unnecessary.
This as the APC refuted all allegations levelled against its presidential candidate, saying they are baseless and antics to spoil the reputation of Tinubu.
This came few hours after the Spokesperson of the PDP Kola Ologbondiyan, while addressing a press conference Monday in Abuja revealed that the party is set to approach the court to seek the disqualification of Tinubu from the forthcoming 2023 presidential election.
Ologbondiyan during the press conference said in the lawsuit the party is praying for an order that would compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to “immediately delist Tinubu as the presidential candidate of APC or any other political party for that matter and expunge his name from all materials and documents related to the 2023 Presidential election.”
He said Nigerians were not unaware of the matter concerning Tinubu, in respect of his “criminal” conviction and sentencing by a Court of competent jurisdiction in the United States over a case of trafficking in narcotic for which Tinubu forfeited the sum of $460,000 to the State.
Ologbondiyan said the United States Court in sentencing Tinubu ordered: “that the funds in the amount of $460,000 in account 263226700 held by First Heritage Bank in the name of Bola Tinubu represent proceeds of narcotics trafficking or were involved in financial transactions in violation of 18 U.S.C. S1956 and 1957 and therefore these funds are forfeited to the United States pursuant to 21 U.S.C. S881(a)(6) and 18 U.S.C S981”.
Ologbondiyan pointed out that it was already established that trafficking in narcotics is an international crime which all nations are obligated by international conventions and statutes to arrest, prosecute and implement any Court judgment imposed on offenders anywhere in the world, as well as the consequential effects of such judgements.
He said: “You will further recall that as our great Party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had already established, the Presidential Candidate of the APC, having been convicted and having acceded to be guilty as charged by way of forfeiture of the $460,000, Nigeria being a signatory to International Convention is mandatorily obligated to execute the consequential effect of that conviction by virtue of Section 137 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“For clarity, Section 137 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that:(1) A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if….(d) He is under a sentence of death imposed by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or FINE for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud (by whatever name called) or for any other offence, imposed on him by any court or tribunal or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on him by such a court or tribunal.
“The import of the foregoing is that under the 1999 Constitution (as amended), having been so convicted and fined and having acceded to the sentencing by way of forfeiture of $460,000 and having not received any State pardon or acquitted by any court of competent jurisdiction, Asiwaju Tinubu remains a convict and the consequential effect is that he cannot contest election at any level in Nigeria.
“The effect is that the listing of the name of Bola Tinubu, who stands convicted by a Court of Competent jurisdiction on the ballot for the 2023 Presidential election is by the virtue of Section 137 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) fundamentally illegal, invalid and must be expunged immediately.”
Reacting, Director of Special Projects and New media of the Tinubu/Shettima presidential campaign Council, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, stated that the PDP was engaging in cheap politics, saying the party has derailed from focusing on how its presidential candidate will defeat Tinubu.
Fani-Kayode while speaking on Politics Today, a Channels Television programme, said Tinubu is a law abiding citizen and has no connection with drug trafficking as alleged by the opposition party.
He also refuted allegations that Tinubu controls Alpha Beta Consulting, a tax firm which has continued to be subject of controversies linking the two-time governor of Lagos state.
It would be recalled that the former Alpha-Beta Consulting MD, Oladapo Apara, in 2018 had accused Tinubu of owning the firm by proxy, alleging that the disclosure by him led to his dismissal and withholding of his share profit for the period he worked for the firm.
Apara also made allegations of money laundering, tax evasion, forgery, and a number of other corporate fraudulent practices against the company and its owners.
In September 2022, Apara withdrew the case from the court after reaching an undisclosed out-of-court settlement with the former Lagos governor and parties in the suit.
Speaking further, Fani-Kayode claimed the case was settled out of court because the allegations were baseless.
In his words, “The question is simple and they need to answer this question. What is the relationship between alpha beta and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu?. He’s not the owner of the company, he has no dealings with the company, the company came under his watch. And it was contracted to do a job, it’s done an excellent job in Lagos. It’s working in six other states of the Federation till today. So, whatever happens in that company is between the company, the taxpayer, the tax man, and the law enforcement agencies, or wherever they are operating, it’s nothing to do with him, it has nothing to do with us.
“Now to say because a company has allegedly done certain things in the past many, many years ago, and allegedly sent money to somebody in Colombia, that translates into that, assuming it’s true, that translates into Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu being a drug baron and unfit for public office, that is an asinine assumption to me.
“It has no basis in logic or rationality, and we refute it. And I urge them to be a little bit more responsible, and I will also ask them this can’t do any better than that?
“If you’re looking for something, look for it very well, and try and find something. This is nothing but an irresponsible and asinine call. It doesn’t make sense and refuted completely. There is no relationship between drug baron in Columbia, alpha beta, and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, None whatsoever.
“I’m familiar with the case that he brought up some time back some years ago. And I was reliably informed the matter was settled out of court, a lot of allegations were made, the matter was settled out of court, the allegations were wiped away. And just yesterday, I believe or the day before that same man that made those allegations that had that case, pronounced to the whole world that he believes that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be an excellent president.
“Let me put it to you like this, that something was settled out of court simply means one thing, that it’s been settled and those allegations are baseless. And that’s what it means,” Fani-Kayode added.