Face Of Waziri-Nigeria, an NGO, said strong indications have emerged of a frantic effort to persuade at least two of the Justices at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, PEPT, to resign in order to destabilise the judicial panel.
Comrade Bukky Adeniyi, the group’s Director General, stated this in a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday.
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According to Adeniyi, “given the existing legal proviso which necessitates a replacement and retrieval in the event the Justices resign and consequently translates to buying time beyond that stipulated by the Supreme Court, is a ploy to make the case statute barred and of no effect.”
According to FOWN, “there is a covert move by President Bola Tinubu to make the Justices resign, with the goal of ensuring the time frame of 180 days elapses before the case is concluded by the panel.”¹
“The Justice has not resigned at the moment, but we have it on good authority that Mr. Tinubu and his team are seriously working hard to threaten and frustrate one or two of them to resign so that the panel will be devoid of jurisdiction at this stage,” Adeniyi said.
“This will result in replacement and retrieval from scratch.” In that case, it will be statute barred once it has passed the 180-day limit set by the constitution, and the case will be closed because the Supreme Court cannot extend time.
“At the moment, Tinubu is putting pressure on the tribunal.” He wants two of the panel’s judges to withdraw or resign.
“A particular Governor, formerly of the PDP but now of the APC, with Tinubu’s blessing from the South-South, is delegated to use a document of money exchange between the government of that state and one or two of the justices in the past for judgement favour then, as proof to harass and intimidate the justices to shift the tribunal’s judgement in their favour.”
The group, however, raised some questions about the situation: “How do you explain, if such money exchange occurred in the past, that you now want to use it to blackmail the Justice?”
“Did the Justice or Justices demand money from the governor at the time, or was it given as a thank you?” In any case, the tribunal matter is distinct from any previous transaction they had together.
“He criticised the recent move by the counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to subpoena the institution in order to ascertain the authenticity of documents relating to his attendance at Chicago State University.”
“Abubakar had requested the court in a petition dated July 11, 2023, by and through his solicitors, to “issue subpoena commanding a corporate representative of Resident Chicago State University (Respondent) to appear for deposition upon oral examination of the topics set out in Exhibit A attached hereto at the offices of Dechert LLP at 35 West Wacker Drive, Suite 3400, Chicago, Illinois 60601 on July 21, 2023 at 9.00am”
The petitioner expects the respondent, among other obligations, to “testify and provide evidence in support of the following statements:
1. Non-party Bola Ahmed Tinubu currently holds the position of President of Nigeria and is facing multiple court proceedings regarding his election and the authenticity of documents related to his attendance at Chicago State University.
2. Mr. Tinubu had previously claimed that he attended various educational institutions in the Chicago area, including but not limited to Chicago State University.
3. To verify the truth and accuracy of Mr. Tinubu’s claims, the petitioner needs to depose a corporate representative of Respondent Chicago State University (Respondent) regarding educational records or the lack thereof from the respondent, and other related matters.”