ASHENEWS reports that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has insisted that his counterpart of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, is not eligible to contest the 2023 presidential election.
Atiku, through his Campaign Organisation, said that Tinubu’s ineligibility is owing to his reported conviction for alleged narcotic offences by a United States court.
Atiku said he would head to court to seek a declaration that Tinubu is not qualified to contest the 2023 polls by virtue of Section 137 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The spokesperson of the campaign, Kola Ologbondiyan, spoke at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday and said Atiku would urge the court to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delist Tinubu as the presidential candidate of the APC or of any other political party and expunge his name from all materials relating to next month’s presidential poll.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the United States court in sentencing Tinubu 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,” he said.
Ologbondiyan said the APC candidate “took no step to challenge the judgment, but acceded to the forfeiture of the $460,000 found to be the proceeds of narcotics trafficking.
“You will further recall that as our party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had already established that the presidential candidate of APC, having been convicted and having acceded to be guilty as charged by way of forfeiture of the $460,000, Nigeria being a signatory to International Convention is mandatorily obligated to execute the consequential effect of that conviction by virtue of Section 137 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“For clarity, 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.”
He insisted that listing Tinubu as a presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections is “fundamentally illegal, invalid and must be expunged immediately,” saying “our campaign is filing for accelerated hearing in this case in the interest of the nation.”