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APC NWC member issues Adamu one-week ultimatum to convene NEC meeting

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Malam Salihu Lukman, a senior member of the All Progressives Congress National Working Committee, has given Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the national chairman, a seven-day deadline to call a special meeting of the National Executive Council to discuss issues within the party and ensure a smooth transition from the current administration to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s incoming one.

Lukman issued a warning that failure to call the NEC meeting would lead him to seek a court injunction to enforce compliance with the APC Constitution’s stipulations.

The warning was contained in an open letter to Adamu titled “Restoring Constitutional Order in APC – Not Negotiable” and issued by his media office in Abuja on Wednesday.

The face-off between the Kaduna politician and the APC national chairman has been a recurring case in the last one year.

Aside from repeatedly accusing Adamu of running a one-man show, the APC national vice chairman for North West lamented that he has also reduced the NWC members to a mere rubber stamp to approve important decisions he singlehandedly take.

Among other things, Adamu has also been indicted of deliberately refusing to give an up-to-date account of the party’s purse including the undisclosed billions of naira raised from the sales of nomination and expression of interest forms to aspiring contestants In line with provision of Article 13.4(iv) of the APC Constitution on financial report, income and expenditure.

Lukman stressed that it has become imperative for him to write the chairman again with a caveat following the manner Adamu had shunned previous requests to convene NEC meeting, which is to be a quarterly convergence of all relevant stakeholders.

He said, “I make this an open letter because it is about campaigning to return the APC to its foundation, which requires that we mobilise all like-minded party leaders and members in this crusade to restore constitutional order in the APC. As a person, I have concluded that everything must be done to compel you to respect the constitution of our party and manage its affairs based on the requirements of our constitution and not your personal discretion.

“Therefore, by this open letter, I am serving you notice of one week from today, being Wednesday, April 19, 2023 to take all the appropriate steps required to convene a NEC meeting before May 29, 2023 wherein all the issues bordering on the management of smooth transition between the outgoing government of President Buhari and the incoming government of President Asiwaju Tinubu can be considered.

“If by the end of this one-week notice, no action is taken to convene a NEC meeting as the first step to restore constitutional order in APC, I will not hesitate to take further actions, including approaching our courts to enforce compliance with the provisions of our party’s constitution under your leadership.

“Like I have argued in my letter to you of December 26, 2022 on the subject “Democracy and Accountability: Concerns about State of Affairs of APC”, “being a party that is committed to enthroning progressive politics as the pillars of developing our democracy and moving our nation forward, these issues should be urgently addressed. Inability to address these issues would continue to undermine our electoral viability.”

“The current NWC under your leadership should stop acting as a Trojan Horse programmed to destroy our party. Only compliance with and respect for our constitution by allowing all our superior organs, notably NEC, National Caucus and NAC, to function and take decisions accordingly, which should be binding on all party leaders and members can secure our party. This is not negotiable!”

Efforts to get the reaction of Adamu, who was a two-term governor of Nasarawa State, in the past and present have failed to yield any result.

The APC National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, has also been evasive and declined to comment on the leadership crisis rocking the party.

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Editorial

Nigerian judiciary: When an integrity-challenged institution sheds crocodile tears

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“It is only here that judicial officers work harder than slaves and yet, they are not appreciated. But, the consolation is that the judges in Nigeria are attached to the devil they are contending with. Whether we like it or not, we have to be proud of our judges and justices. They are brilliant and bold and some of them are appointed as justices in other countries.

“A mistake by one judge should not be generalised to warrant general condemnation from any quarter. They surpass judges from other countries. They deserve commendation for resisting the evils. The majority of judicial officers are standing in the face of challenges and unless we are careful with the way we attack judges, we will lose our minds and conscience.”

These were the exact words of Kanu Agabi, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF-MoJ) a few days ago. He was invited to speak on behalf of the senior members of the SANs, otherwise known as the Inner Bar, Nigeria’s equivalent of the UK Queen’s Counsel, now King’s Counsel, on Monday, September 25, 2023, at a special court session marking the commencement of the 2023/2024 Legal Year in Abuja.

As usual, and as it is wont with his ilk, the learned silk, once again attempted to shift the blame, this time for the rot in the society, particularly the heist that underscored the 2023 general elections which has hurt Nigerian democracy so badly. His was that instead of Nigerians directing their condemnation where they believe it is supposed to be firmly resting – the Nigerian judiciary, the camera of shame should be panned elswhere.

But what that would entail is to confirm as the judicial camp, perhaps believes, is that Nigerians are equipped with the brain matters of animals or at best morons. Otherwise, there is no other way the Nigerian judiciary would not take a large chunk of the blame if not all the blame in its entirety. In fact, nowhere else could it be more fitting.

Before him, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem President of the Court of Appeal (CoA), while opening the event, was no less unhappy herself about the brickbats the judiciary has been getting from Nigerians, while attempting to shift the blame away from the judiciary to Nigerian politicians, whom she blamed for not accepting their fate by walking away.

By the combined efforts of the two and indeed many other lawyers and commentators, some of them employed as undertakers, not only to beautify the ugly corpses that judicial pronouncements have become, but deodorise their putridity, the judges remain irreproachable, simply because they are merely interpreting the law the way it is rather than the way it ought to be.

For the rest of Nigerians who believe that judges should go beyond this straightjacket concept and deliver the justice of the matter before them in all ramifications, they are accused of committing a mortal crime of daring to bemoan the fate they have been handed. Their insistence that saving the society and the people from the insults, indignities and consequences arising from practically being fed their own excreta – a cocktail of faeces and urine, the usual mantra is that they are dwelling on sentiments. “Law is not sentiments, they would readily say.”

But put this statement on a proper societal balancing scale, it simply lacks the basic elements of logic. In the first place, judges are not inanimate objects. They are not machines either that could be placed at a spot and remain there permanently, never acting until their owners move them. They are also not trees that would be threated with being hewed down and still remain standing. No! Judges are not only human beings, but live in the same society they deny justice.

So, if democracy is raped so furiously and brutally as Nigeria has witnessed over the decades, most particularly in the 2023 elections, which has been acknowledged in informed quarters as the worst in the history of the country, judges, who by their pronouncements, help to sustain the outcome, cannot escape the blame, by snoring in the save and comfortable duvet of merely interpreting the law as it is or enjoy the alluring lullaby of praise singers, who tell them that their refusal to unilaterally take up the gauntlets to defend the society, reflects professionalism and courage as Agabi implied.

Rather they deserve to be called out and the guilt of the collapsed house that could result from such a convenient, irresponsible and most times devious shirking of their supposed ennobling duty, hung on their necks like yokes on the bull of burden. They must be dragged through the septic gutters of the infamy they deserve to travel on. That is what Nigerians are doing at the moment and there is no way they can escape the anger of the people no matter their obvious attempt at a pushback.

Yes! Agabi described Nigerian judges as “brilliant and bold” reasoning that “some of them are appointed as justices in other countries.” Of course it could be true and he may be right. But brilliant and bold in what sense? While the brilliance part of it is left to the jury, it is clear that only a bold judge could look at what happened in the 2023 elections, allow it to endure and keep a straight face. But that is in the negative sense.

Only a bold and courageous judge would look at Nigerians in the face and tell them that it is okay for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), not to upload results of the 2023 elections real time, in line with their guidelines and what they mouthed everywhere in the market places across the country and even as far as the world stage, including the Chatham House in the UK, because they are not legally bound to do so. It is only a negatively-tutored and inspired judiciary that could hug such an obtuse, even if convenient excuse.

Perhaps, the former AGF was talking about the Nigerian judges of old and not the type Adamu Bulkachuwa, a Nigerian Senator once told his colleagues in his contribution at the closing session of the ninth Senate, held at the hallowed chambers of the Senate before the beaming cameras and millions of eyes within and without Nigeria, that he he effectively influenced and manipulated from his bedroom.

They are certainly not the type Chidi Odinkalu, former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), told the world recently that Nigerian politicians put behind their pockets as they go about committing various forms of crimes and whose skewed appointments are the products of bedroom and other filial considerations. Certainly not!

If indeed they were, those who whose vice grip on the throat of the 2023 election asphyxiated life out of it, would not have been that daring to be singing the go to court mantra. It is because they were aware of the insipid and pliable nature of the current Nigerian judiciary that they sang that song with such ecstasy. That way Dongban-Mensem, would not not have to cry out about how election cases have overshadowed the entire judiciary system by the sheer number. In other words, the only way of stopping the deluge is to do justice. That way, electoral brigands will have no reason to continue in their bad behaviour. If they continue enabling the criminals, not only the judiciary but the entire polity would continue to suffer.

The judges Nigerians would remember with nostalgia and continue to celebrate are probably turning in their graves right now with revulsion at the notoriety of the bench they left behind. Such judges were the ones who took their decisions based on interpreting the law in totality. They were the ones who in their pronouncements, showcased that law indeed is made up of the letters and spirit, thus accentuating its organic nature and relevance to the society. Law is not for sake of law. Law is for the sake of man and society. That must be emphasised.

It is such raw, indisputable boldness and courage that delivered that heavy blow to the impunity demonstrated in the Rotimi Amaechi case in 2007. Ordinarily the former Rivers State Governor, would have been told to go home and lick his wounds, if he had presented his case today. But the judges demonstrated that they were part of Nigeria and decided to go for the spirit of the law in righting the wrong embedded in the impunity of one man authority, who posed a danger to democracy.

It was still within the same period that Peter Obi, against the moving train that was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got justice in the Tenure Determination Case, and was restored to power, even as a member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), one of the least influential political entities in Nigeria at that time.

That obviously ought to be the judiciary Agabi should be cloaking in the toga of brilliance and boldness and not the obviously timid, lethargic and probably compromised judiciary of today that would permit the type of judicial murder that saw Dave Umahi and Godswill Akpabio return to the Senate after contesting presidential elections in one circle. How could such a judiciary earn the type of respect the former AGF envisages?

Imaging the cacophony of contradictions that are coming out from the election petition tribunals in the states – judges giving with one hand and taking with the other at the same time – in shameful display of outlandish pronouncements. Are they reflective of the type of judiciary that Nigerians would ignore and celebrate?

Certainly no! In the unlikely case that the present Nigerian judiciary has forgotten the colour of justice, only a scratch back to history would reveal it in the eternal description of the late Chukwudifu Oputa, one of the unforgettable minds that had ever sat on the noble and exalted position of the Nigerian bench.

Indeed, the only argument Agabi seemed to have got right is when he reminded his audience that whatever decisions they made or failed to make in the journey towards delivering justice, they must account for them, if not on earth, before their creator when they die, as many of them are doing right now.

But beyond that the eternal words of Oputa, Justice of the Supreme Court (JSC), as he then was, remains enduring – Justice to the accused, justice to the accuser and justice to the society. That is what Nigerians want and demand, without which, everything is but a white-painted sepulcher, beautiful outside but habours rotten remains in its bowels.

Nobody needs be told that the Nigerian society have continued to hold the short end of the stick in this context. But so long as it is denied its own share of justice, the judiciary would continue to suffer and endure the bespattering image from the paintbrush of shame! No more no less!

 

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Many Nigerians will suffer heart attack by Tinubu’s details – Atiku *Protect me, President pleads with US court

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By the vibes coming from the camp of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President Bola Tinubu, might as well be wasting his time in trying to conceal his academic records with the Chicago State University (CSU), because the details are in already in its firm grips.

This is coming as the Nigerian President, on Monday, pleaded with a United States District Judge, Nancy Maldonado, to order the institution to protect his privileged information such as admission records, transcripts and gender and release only his certificate to the legal team of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Pedro Obaseki, Director of Research and Strategy of the Atiku/Okowa 2023 Presidential Campaign Council, while alleging that the claim by Tinubu that the release of his record to the public would cause him personal pain was because the owner of the disputed certificate is a woman.

Speaking at a Zoom conference hosted by a London-based psychologist, Gold Emmanuel on Monday, Obaseki, said CSU would only confirm what Atiku’s camp already knew by making public the record of Tinubu who graduated from the institution in the late 70s.

He said: “Nigerians will be more demoralised that the owner of the certificate that President Tinubu is parading is a woman. We already know it as a fact, but we are seeking the release of the documents officially by CSU. Wetin the man dey hide, we already have it. The outcome will give many Nigerians more heart attacks.”

Coming against the backdrop of the former Vice President, securing an order from a US magistrate, Jeffrey Gilbert, for CSU to make Tinubu’s academic records available to his legal team, Tinubu argued through Christopher Carmichael, his lawyer that “the most critical fact has already been clearly and unequivocally established” the CSU and that Atiku had got all he needed in the matter.

Atiku, had through Angela Liu, his own lawyer sought Tinubu’s records, including his admission and acceptance at CSU, dates of attendance, degrees, awards and honours attained by the former governor of Lagos State at the university, among others.

Tinubu had approached Maldonado, shortly after the ruling of the lower court to seek extension of time, specifically praying for the order to be delayed till Monday, to enable its review by a district judge, which was granted.

In his fresh argument, the President pleaded with Maldonado to release only the certificate and preclude Tinubu’s other privileged records, saying: “The most critical fact has already been clearly and unequivocally established by Chicago State University: Intervenor was awarded the degree as he stated. This point is irrelevant to the applicant because he is not seeking anything more than opposition research on a political opponent.

“The magistrate judge clearly erred in granting the application for discovery and concluding that Chicago State University must respond to the document and deposition subpoenas. That conclusion should be set aside and the application should be denied because the information sought cannot be used and therefore is not ‘for use’ in the foreign proceedings.

“Even if a narrow subset of information can be considered ‘for use’ in the foreign proceeding, that is limited to the diploma submitted to INEC. Fishing expeditions into other documents and more document productions must be precluded.”

The development is coming two days after the self-acclaimed classmate of the President, Olajide Adeniji, testified in the US district court that he knows and contested against Tinubu as President of the Accounting Society Club at the Department of Business Admin/Accounting in the same Chicago State University.

In the oath he took on September 23 at the Northern District of Illinois Court in Chicago, Adeniji swore that he was familiar with the same Tinubu who is the current President of Nigeria.

The PUNCH, however reports that Atiku is insisting that all the details, quoting his spokesman, Phrank Shaibu, as saying: “We are aware Tinubu’s counsel filed a motion on Monday praying the US court to order Chicago State University to release only the president’s certificate.

“We are wondering why a man will demand they conceal his gender and other little details in his academic transcript. But we (Atiku’s legal team) will respond to them in the next 48 hours. The judgment will be entered by Wednesday or Thursday.”

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BREAKING: Sanwo-Olu wins! You case is dead on arrival, tribunal tells Jandor, dismisses GRV too

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Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State Governor, is singing a victory song again as the challenge launched by Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour (GRV) of the Labour Party (LP) and Babajide Adediran, alias Jandor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against his victory in the March 18 governorship election in the state, has come to naught.

The Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, on Monday, threw out the petitions of both candidates and their parties against Sanwo-Olu, while affirming him as the rightfully elected governor of Lagos State, the second time he would be victorious both at the polls and the tribunal, clearing the way for an enjoyment of another term of four years, which began on May 29, 2023.

The tribunal, not only threw out the contentions of both the LP, which came second and his PDP counterpart that came third on grounds of non-qualification, but also dismissed other claims, particularly by GRV, that he did not score the highest valid votes in the highly contentious election.

The argument made by the petitioners on both grounds lacked merit, the three-member panel headed by Justice Arum Ashom, with Igho Braimoh and Mikhail Abdullah who read the lead judgement, held, adding specifically in the case of Jandor, who had questioned Sanwo-Olu’s educational qualification, that the governor was educated up to secondary school, as envisaged by law.

Specifically Abdullahi stated both his governor and his deputy were members of the APC but also had the requisite education, stressed that section 177 of the constitution stipulated that: “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of governor of a state if: (a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth; (b) he has attained the age of thirty-five years; (c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and (d) he has been educated up to at least a School Certificate level or its equivalent.

“We have considered the evidence before this court. He has the highest number of votes. This petition is dead on arrival in view of the evidence adduced before the court. The grounds on which the petitioners are seeking disqualification of 2nd and 3rd respondents lack merit. I have found Gov Sanwo-Olu and deputy Hamzat duly elected and therefore declared the winner.”

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