. .. Calls for Electoral Act Amendments to Include Security Clearance as Prerequisite for Acceptance of Candidates’ Nomination
Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has demanded that the presidential candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, immediately withdraw from the February 2023 race, urging the federal lawmakers to effect necessary electoral laws amendments to include security clearance, including narcotics clearance, as part of the conditions for valid nomination candidates by political parties and requisite for acceptance by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of future elections.
The CNPP in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, noted that “latest revelations and counter allegations against the presidential candidates of the PDP and APC have brought to the front burner the urgent need to ensure that corrupt politicians and persons with connections to illicit businesses are not allowed to emerge as political parties’ flag-bearers in elections at all levels.”
The CNPP said, “While we agree with the APC Presidential Campaign Council that the security agencies should immediately arrest the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar for prosecution over his alleged Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) coded corruption strategy as against “open corruption”, we also call for the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to subject himself to security screening over alleged illicit business ventures and corruption allegation bordering on the alleged use of “SPV” like the Alpha Beta for money laundering.”
The APC had given 72 hours ultimatum to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to arrest, interrogate and prosecute Atiku for what the party referred to as offences against Code of Conduct for Public Officers, Offence of Money Laundering; Offence of Criminal Breach of Trust and Criminal Misappropriation; and Offence of Conspiracy.
On its part, the PDP has described the formation of a uniformed squad by the APC code-named “Jagaban Army” as a treasonable act and called for the arrest and questioning of Tinubu who has also been figured in a Chicago State narcotics syndicate saga in the United States.
“For the CNPP, both the APC and the PDP are right in their calls and counter calls for their respective presidential candidates to step aside for thorough investigation as the allegations made by a whistleblower, Mr. Michael Achimugu against Atiku Abubakar and the revelations equally made against Tinubu by award-winning journalist and researcher, David Hundeyin, bordering on international crime, specifically, trafficking in narcotics and taking proceeds of narcotics are all germane.
“These are serious allegations that impact negatively on national security, corruption and transborder criminal activities.
“Crime prevention is part of the fundamental duties of security agencies anywhere in the world and Nigeria is not an exception.
“There is reasonable suspicion that Atiku Abubakar engaged in syndicated corruption at hi-tech magnitudes as Vice President of Nigeria under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, where companies were alleged to have been deliberately incorporated purely as a vehicle for unfettered siphon of Nigeria’s commonwealth.
“Little wonder former President Obasanjo was quoted as insisting that he is corrupt in his book, My Watch, in chapter 36, which was devoted to discussing alleged corruption and money laundering cases linked to Atiku and details some “corrupt involvement” of the former vice president with a company called iGATE and William Jefferson, a former US lawmaker, who was later jailed for 13 years over corruption.
“Chief Obasanjo linked Atiku to the misappropriation of $20 million, which the administration was supposed to deploy for Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), and another $125 million to fund PTDF during 2003 the fiscal year.
“On the other hand, David Hundeyin exposed alleged drug links to Bola Tinubu, with Atiku’s spokesperson, Dino Melaye, insisting that as a result of the revelation, Tinubu is the person expected to be investigated and prosecuted as “He is the one that has been indicted already in a certified court indictment. He is the man that has faced the Code of Conduct before,” Dino Melaye said in response to a petition to security agencies by Festus Keyamo against Atiku Abubakar.
“The CNPP also agrees with PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Debo Ologunagba that as a result of the recent case revealed in the United States of America, where the APC Presidential Candidate forfeited the sum of $460,000 which was confirmed and found to be proceed of trafficking in narcotics; an international crime for which Nigeria, being a signatory to International Convention on trafficking in narcotic is obliged to enforce and that the effect of the conviction and forfeiture of the sum of $460,000 by Bola Tinubu shows that he is ineligible and not qualified to contest for the Office of the President of Nigeria as required by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“Like the PDP said, Section 137 (1) (d) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (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.”
“So, we agree with the PDP that having been convicted, sentenced and fined for narcotic trafficking in a criminal suit filed pursuant to the United States Criminal Code, Bola Tinubu cannot by virtue of Section 137 (1)(d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) seek office as President of Nigeria.
“Therefore, call on both Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu to immediately withdraw from the 2023 presidential race and submit themselves to security and anti-corruption agencies for proper investigation of the allegations against them.
“This is the honourable thing to do at this time as Nigerians cannot afford to endure another possible eight years of a government run by individuals whose past is laden with baggage on unresolved allegations.
“We urge the National Assembly to immediately begin the process of amending the electoral laws to make it mandatory for political parties to get Security Clearance from relevant agencies, including the NDLEA, as part of the prerequisite for the acceptance of candidates’ nomination by the INEC.
“This has become imperative as men and women who constitute threats to national security must not be allowed to be nominated as candidates by political parties at any election”, the CNPP stated.