The All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, was taken to court on Monday by the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, which demanded that the Independent National Electoral Commission disqualify him from running in the election on February 25 due to an alleged forfeiture of $460,000 to American authorities.
At a news conference led by Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the spokesperson for the Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organization, the council made this announcement.
In the interest of the country, Ologbondiyan stated that the campaign council was determined to file for an accelerated hearing in the case because Nigerian law forbids anyone who has been charged with a crime, let alone someone who has been found guilty of a transnational crime like drug trafficking, from running for office at any level.
He added that the campaign council is praying the court to “Declare Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the APC, having been allegedly convicted, as ineligible to contest the presidential election by virtue of section 137 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution.
“Compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, to immediately delist Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as presidential candidate of the APC or any other political party for that matter and expunge his name from all materials and documents related to the 2023 presidential election.
On Sunday, the Atiku/Okowa Campaign Council’s Directorate of Strategy and Communications requested that Tinubu be detained and investigated for the claimed offense by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Department of State Security, and Inspector General of Police.
Ologbondiyan said, “You will further recall that the PDP had already established that the presidential candidate of the APC, having been allegedly 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.
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“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 allegedly 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.” he further noted.
APC Responds To Tinubu’s Disqualification Demand By PDP
Festus Keyamo, spokesman for the APC Presidential Campaign Council, called the Atiku/Okowa Organization a group lacking in originality and ideas in response to the PDP press conference.
Keyamo said, “Why did they wait all these months until we filed before they are now rushing to court? I challenge them more than two months ago, yet they did nothing.
“It shows a team that is lacking in originality, lacking in ideas, and lacking in vision. It is just an attempt to create a counter suit to our own. Unfortunately for them, Nigerians have seen through them already.”