from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) -THE reported meeting abroad, between Nigeria’s president-elect and the country’s Chief Justice, has called into question the neutrality of the judiciary in the legal challenge by opposition parties against the recent elections.
Reports allege Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola travelled to the United Kingdom under the guise of medical reasons, to meet President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whose office said was on vacation but critics allege was for medical treatment.
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) argues because of the alleged meeting, the integrity of both the Chief Justice and of the President-Elect had been called to question.
CNNP, the umbrella of all political formations, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and relevant security agencies to immediately investigate and make public their findings on the rumoured visit.
“This is imperative as the level of distrust, religious and tribal colourations permeating topics among supporters of different political camps in the country, especially now that the most damaging allegation on the integrity of the Nigerian judiciary became a media affair, should be taken very seriously to avoid a national catastrophe,” CNPP stated.
Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, signed the statement.
“It is also of national importance to ensure that the matter is openly investigated and the report made public as most Nigerian politicians and citizens who are aggrieved by the outcome of the 2023 general elections as conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may resort to self-help in the event of perceived biases in the judicial pronouncements on the outcome by the tribunals.”
INEC declared former Lagos governor Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election, to succeed Buhari.
Ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Tinubu polled 8,794,724 votes, or 36,61 percent of the vote.
Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar (29,07 percent), of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and ex-governor, Peter Obi (Labour Party, 25,40 percent) have challenged the results, citing rigging and irregularities.
Bayo Onanuga, the Director of Media and Publicity in the APC Presidential Campaign Council, denied the meeting that reportedly took place in London.
He said the reports were “fake, misleading and malicious.”
“The story was a pure concoction from the hallucinating minds of hatchet men bent on creating doubts and public distrust about the legitimacy of our recent election, which was won by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” Onanuga charged.
He added, “We refute emphatically that there has been no clandestine meeting between the President-elect and the respected Chief Justice of our country, anywhere. It’s pure fabricated news, groundless in fact and authenticity.”
Onanuga urged Nigerians to be on the alert to “more false and salacious news” from a section of the Nigerian media ahead of the May 29 inauguration.
– CAJ News