Tribunal: APC says Tinubu did not discuss with CJN

THE ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has refuted reports that President Bola Tinubu had a telephone conversation with the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Olukayode Ariwoola, regarding the possible outcome of his case at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

Publisher of an online news platform, Jackson Ude, had, in a post on Twitter, alleged that during the said phone conversation, the CJN advised Tinubu and the APC to get ready for a rerun of the 2023 presidential election.

However in statement on Wednesday, July 19, APC spokesperson, Felix Morka, accused Ude of fabricating a falsehood on a matter of serious national importance that is actively under review by the tribunal.


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Morka stated that Tinubu and the APC won the February 25 presidential election without a doubt, and do not have any need to engage in side conversations with the CJN regarding pending petitions before the tribunal.

He said the tribunal should be afforded the time and space to perform its important constitutional and statutory duty of adjudicating and delivering a verdict in the matter without needlessly calling the integrity of the judges into question.

“We have become aware of a decidedly mischievous and intentionally misleading tweet by one Mr Jackson Ude. He alleged that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was in a telephone conversation with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, in which the CJN purportedly told the President and APC to prepare for a presidential election rerun,” Morka said.

“President Tinubu and our Party won the last Presidential election without a doubt, and do not have any need to engage in side conversations with the CJN regarding pending petitions before the PEPC. As the core democrat that he is, the President respects the right of aggrieved candidates in the election to seek redress for any grievances that they may have. The Constitution and Electoral Act provide effective guarantees of that right.”

The APC spokesman said reports such as the one published by Ude only aim to inflame political passions, create doubt and panic, and preemptively undermine the verdict of the tribunal.

He said the APC is confident that Nigerians are smarter and more discerning to be affected by what he described as Ude’s brand of tasteless and crass mercenary expedition.

INEC had declared Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.

According to the Commission, Tinubu secured 8,794,726 votes, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came second with 6,984,520, while Labour Party’s (LP) Peter Obi finished third with 6,101,533.

The PDP and LP candidates rejected the result and approached the tribunal with separate petitions to challenge Tinubu’s victory.

They alleged that Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election and that he failed to secure the majority of lawful votes cast at the poll.

They are also contesting that Tinubu’s running mate, Kashim Shettima, had a double nomination contrary to the Electoral Act.

In addition to Atiku and Obi’s petitions, the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) is also asking the court to nullify Tinubu’s election.

The party argued that the withdrawal of Ibrahim Masari as the initially nominated Vice-Presidential candidate of the APC invalidated Tinubu’s candidacy under Section 131(c) and 142 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

The party contended that there was a three-week gap between Masari’s expressed intention to withdraw, the actual withdrawal of his nomination, and Tinubu’s replacement of him with Shettima.






     

     

    The APM further claimed that Tinubu’s nomination had expired when he nominated Shettima as Masari’s replacement.

    Although initially five petitions were filed challenging Tinubu’s victory, The ICIR had reported that two of the petitioners, the Action Alliance (AA) and the Action Peoples Party (APP), withdrew their cases during the pre-hearing sitting of the tribunal.

    All parties in the suits have closed their cases at the tribunal. Written witness statements are currently being filed and exchanged by all parties in the suit.

    The tribunal had also reserved judgment in APM’s suit, after the party and all respondents in the suit wrote and adopted their written witness statements.

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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