Tinubu’s $460,000 forfeiture: PDP mulls legal action
Indications emerged on Sunday that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will proceed to court to prevail on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take necessary steps to stop the All Progressive Congress ( APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu from contesting the 2023 Presidential election.
Debo Ologunagba, The PDP National Publicity Secretary (NPS), while addressing Journalists at the party’s secretariat, Wadata Plaza, on Sunday, said the party will be challenging Tinubu’s eligibility to participate in the 2023 Presidential election, based on the judgement of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois that resulted in Tinubu forfeiting the sum of $460,000 in one of the accounts linked to him.
This is coming despite clarifications by the chief spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, that the former Lagos State Governor was “roped in the drug trafficking case involving two Nigerians who once stayed in separate flats in the same building where the ex-governor stayed at a time in the US.
Keyamo had while defending the controversial document recently released by the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois declared that “Tinubu took responsibility for all the 10 accounts because they were also traced to his mother and “relatives”.”
The matter had ended in a settlement that led to Tinubu forfeiting the sum of $460,000 in one of the accounts linked to him.
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“He, Asiwaju, went to open an account, the address by which he opened the account was already used by these people…investigated for narcotics,” he said
But the PDP however, called on INEC and other relevant agencies “not to succumb to the blackmail of the APC but to be focused and carry out its duties in accordance with the Constitution and the Electoral Act so as the engender confidence in the citizens with respect to the integrity of those seeking public office in our country.”
When reminded that INEC is incapable of preventing the APC candidate from contesting the election without proper court pronouncements in Nigeria, the PDP image maker said “ All options are being considered. When we went to Court to seek redress in Osun, we did not tell anyone and this one will also not be different”
He stated that the “APC must note that its schemes, denials, threats and resort to violence cannot help Asiwaju Tinubu. By the provision of Section 137 (1) (d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) Asiwaju Tinubu is not eligible to contest the Presidential election in Nigeria.
“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.
“For clarity, forfeiture is means “something to which the right is lost as for commission of a crime or misdeed, neglect of duty, or violation of a contract”
“It is instructive to note that trafficking in narcotic is an international crime to which all nations are obliged and mandated to apprehend, prosecute and enforce any judgment or Court Order imposed on offender. Nigeria being a signatory to international convention on trafficking in narcotic is obliged to enforce any Order or judgement imposed on any offender by a competent court ANYWHERE in the world.
“For emphasis, the US Court “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”.
“Having been sentenced and fined by way of criminal forfeiture of $460,000 drug money in a criminal suit filed pursuant to the United States Criminal Code, Asiwaju Tinubu cannot by virtue of Section 137 (1)(d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) seek office as President of Nigeria.
“Nigerians now know that the APC Presidential Campaign announcement that its Presidential Candidate will not participate in media debates is to prevent Nigerians from seeking answers from Asiwaju Tinubu with respect to the criminal forfeiture judgement as well as other burning issues to which Nigerians are entitled to know.
Ologunagba stated further that Nigeria “cannot afford the embarrassment, shame, national indignity and stigma associated with narcotic all over the world especially in the exalted office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Nigeria cannot handle the massive negative collateral damage such will have on our national image, economy as well as on the businesses and legitimate endeavors of hardworking Nigerians.
“What Nigerians expect of Asiwaju Tinubu at this moment is to withdraw from the Presidential race and apologize to the nation. The APC must come to terms that it is not in the Presidential race and that it has no legitimate candidate at all levels in the 2023 general elections as pronounced by the Federal High Court.
The PDP therefore, reminded Nigerians that any vote for the APC at the Presidential, Governorship, National and State Assembly elections are wasted votes that will not count at the end of the day.
The PDP spokesman added that despite the unrelenting attacks by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as witnessed in its Presidential Campaign rallies in Kaduna and Borno States, the Party has remained undeterred in the bid to rescue our nation from the suffocating misrule of the APC.
“However, as we prepare for the 2023 general elections, the APC is busy scheming to create tension, induce violence, frustrate the conduct of the 2023 general elections and derail our democratic process, having realized that it does not have an eligible Presidential Candidate for the polls.
“It is no longer news that the Presidential Candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is irredeemably and hopelessly ineligible to contest the February 2023 Presidential election having been reportedly indicted and subjected to criminal forfeiture judgement for a narcotic related offence by a United States Court in Northern Illinois.
“Nigerians are however appalled by the lame attempt by the APC Presidential Campaign which, after admitting that there was a $460,000 drug money criminal forfeiture judgment against accounts traced to the APC Presidential Candidate, is now desperately trying to pull a wool over the eyes of the Nigerians people and our democracy institutions.
“Seeing that, it is technically out of the Presidential contest and further distraught because it cannot also field candidates at all levels in the 2023 general elections due to its illegal and unconstitutional congresses, the APC has resorted to unleashing hoodlums to attack PDP Presidential Campaign rallies and other innocent Nigerians going about their legitimate endeavors as witnessed in Kaduna and Borno States, in a bid to trigger crisis and scuttle the elections.
“There are already apprehensions in the public space of unrefuted allegations that the APC is behind the orchestrated attacks on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices in Ogun and Osun States.
“The plan of the APC is to instill fear in the citizenry, disorganize and weaken other political parties, frighten, hamstring and immobilize INEC from conducting the 2023 general elections.