JUST IN: $460,000 Forfeiture Order By US District Court Disqualifies Tinubu From Contesting
The order of forfeiture of the sum of $460, 000 by the District Court of the United States of America against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu disqualified him from contesting the February 25, 2023 presidential election, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi and his party insisted.
In a final written address filed by their counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN) before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) sitting in Abuja, the petitioners said the forfeiture order against Tinubu by the US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division in case No. 93C 4483 represents, “Proceeds of narcotics trafficking and money laundering”.
According to the address, “The order of forfeiture against the 2nd respondent (Tinubu) was a fine within the meaning of Section 137(1) of the 1999 Constitution for which a person shall not be qualified for election to the office of the President, if he is under a sentence of fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud by whatever name called, imposed on him by a court or tribunal”.
The petitioners further submitted that the virus of the statutory and constitutional disqualification of Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima as candidates in the presidential election renders their purported return and declaration as winners of the election invalid, null and void and liable to be set aside by the court.
Obi and his party held that the non-compliance by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act and subsidiary legislation substantially affected the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
The petitioners further told the PEPC that Tinubu’s threats of anarchy in his final address was “cheap, misguided and destructive blackmail clearly intended to target the country’s judicialism and constitutionalism”.
They said Tinubu and Shetimma went too low and abandoned discretion when they claimed that “Our submission is that the Petitioners are inviting anarchy by their ventilation of this issue of non-transmission of results electronically, by INEC.
“This is a cheap, misguided, and destructive blackmail clearly intended to target the country’s judicialism and constitutionalism.”
Ozoukwu, in the final address stated that the “Desperation taken too far can be extremely dangerous. Let the 2nd-3rd Respondents know that, where the rule of law is trampled upon or truncated, anarchy reigns supreme”.
The senior lawyer in the address held that, “Apart from the blatant refusal to comply with the mandatory requirements of the law, the certified copies of the result of the election given to the Petitioners by the 1st Respondent (INEC) manifestly show that the purported Forms EC8As in several polling units, were affected by mutilations, cancellations, alterations and outright swapping of votes in favour of the 2nd to the 4th Respondents and against the Petitioners”.
The five-member panel of Justices of the court, headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani had, at the last sitting, given the respondents in the petition 10 days to file their written address, while the petitioners were given seven days to reply.
The court gave the order after the parties in the petition, which had INEC, Tinubu, Shettima and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as respondents closed their cases.