April polls: The plot against Tinubu
In order to recapture lost states and also win Lagos, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may have concluded plans to put the immediate past governor of the state and leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in jail to temporarily take him out of circulation before, and for the duration of the April general elections.
The presidency and the dethroned Southwest PDP governors are allegedly behind this plot. In order to achieve this, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Daily Sun gathered, has been primed to, in the next few weeks, reopen the charges of corruption to wit, money laundering which was preferred against the former governor in April, 2007 but was adjourned sine die due to the governor's immunity then.
Tinubu was on Tuesday, April 24 2002 arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged violation of the code of conduct for public officers. He was accused of operating 10 foreign accounts while in office as governor, which is contrary to section 7 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap 56 laws of the federation 1990 and punishable under section 23(2) of the 1999 Constitution.
The former governor was said to have failed to declare the foreign accounts in the assets declaration form he submitted to the bureau when he was elected governor. Of course, the aim is not even to get to the root of any such matter, or if in fact, there is actually any substance to the accusation. Rather, it is to possibly throw Tinubu off balance. Although Tinubu had made credible explanations to many of the issues raised, the case was not thrown off. It was instead adjourned.
Information and documents available to Daily Sun have it that a civil society group, the Rights' Monitoring Group (RMG), had on August 18,2010 in a letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (SAN) titled: RE: Sustaining Public Interest in the prosecution of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the Code of Conduct Tribunal urged the body to reopen the case.
The letter was followed by newspaper advertorials on September 2, 2010.
It was alleged that one of the dethroned PDP governors in the Southwest saw the letter and quickly rallied his dethroned colleagues and went to the presidency to canvass for the re-opening of the case which was adjourned about four years ago as a way of caging Tinubu, who they felt was the albatross of the party in the Southwest.
Daily Sun gathered that the presidency saw reason with the dethroned governors and have been pressuring a link man at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to facilitate the re-opening of the case file. The CCB contact's insistence that the case may not have enough evidence to sustain a credible prosecution of Tinubu has so far fallen on deaf ears.
A source told Daily Sun that it was the pressure that, however, made the Code of Conduct to call a press conference on December 11,2010 where he declared that Tinubu has a case to answer with the tribunal. The overall plan, Daily Sun gathered, was to put Tinubu out of circulation before the April general election so that PDP would win back their lost states. It would be recalled that ACN National Publicity, Lai Mohammed had been raising the alarm that the Federal Government wants to use the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to deal with Tinubu.
But the fact of the matter is that it is the sundry charges of corruption, to wit, money laundering for which the governor was arraigned in April 2007 and case adjourned sine die that the PDP wants to reopen and use to cage the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria. Olufemi Aduwo, the National Coordinator of the Rights' Monitoring Group, whose organisation wrote the petition, in an interview said that they are not fighting Tinubu but only want justice to be done.
According to him, the case should be reopened and the former Lagos governor should go and defend himself, adding that if he is innocent, he would be acquitted but if he were guilty, he would pay the price. Aduwo denied the allegation that he was either a PDP apologist or a paid agent of the ruling party.
His words: 'I don't want to believe that anybody wants to kill Tinubu. In August last year we wrote to remind the Code of Conduct Tribunal of a case that was adjourned almost four years ago because of the governor's immunity .The governor left office since 2007 and nothing is being done about the case. Rights' Monitoring Group is a coalition of 45 NGOs/CSOs committed to combating corruption, promotion of enduring democracy and as such we should not keep quiet when we see things going wrong.'