The Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organization has approached the court to seek an order to declare the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, ineligible to contest the presidential election because of his conviction and forfeiture of money relating to narcotics in the United States.
The campaign council announced the decision to go to court, on Monday, at a press briefing addressed by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan.
He said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also wants a court order to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delist Tinubu as a presidential candidate and expunge his name in all materials related to the poll.
Reading a prepared text, Ologbondiyan said, “Nigerians are not unaware of the criminal matter concerning the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, in respect of his criminal conviction and sentencing by a court of competent jurisdiction in the United States over a criminal case of trafficking in narcotic for which Tinubu forfeited the sum of $460,000 to the State.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the United States Court, in sentencing Senator 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 there- fore these funds are forfeited to the United States pursuant to 21 U.S.C. S881(a)(6) and 18 U.S.C S981.”
“From the declaration of the court and the sentencing, it is clear that Senator Tinubu was summarily convicted by the court; he took no step to challenge the judgment but acceded to the forfeiture of the $460,000 found to be the proceeds of narcotics trafficking.
“It is already established that trafficking in narcotic is an international crime which all nations are obligated by international conventions and statutes to arrest, prosecute and implement any court judgment imposed on offend- er anywhere in the world, as well as the consequential effects of such judgements.
“As you are all aware, Nigeria is a signatory to such international conventions and therefore is mandatorily obligated to implement the consequential effect of the conviction imposed on Senator Tinubu by a court of competent jurisdiction in the criminal case of trafficking in narcotic.
“You will further recall that as our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had already established the presidential candidate of the APC as 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 im- posed 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, Senator 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.”
He added, “Consequently, our campaign has proceeded to the court demanding the court to: declare Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the APC, having been convicted, as ineligible to contest the presidential election by virtue of section 137 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“Compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately delist Senator 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.
“Our campaign is filing for accelerated hearing in this case in the interest of the nation as our laws do not permit a convict, let alone an individual convicted on account of international crime of trafficking in narcotic, to stand election at any level.”
This comes days after spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council, Festus Keyamo, instituted a suit before a federal high court in Abuja seeking to compel law enforcement agencies to prosecute Atiku Abubakar.
Keyamo is seeking an order compelling Atiku to surrender himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Related Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) for thorough investigations.
He said Atiku should be arrested and prosecuted for alleged offences against the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, Money Laundering, Criminal Breach of Trust and Criminal Misappropriation, and Conspiracy.