The Supreme Court of Nigeria has clarified that the Chief Justice of Nigeria CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, had no telephone conversation with anybody including President Ahmed Bola Tinubu on the on-going Presidetial Election Petition on the 2023 election.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday night issued a similar denial on behalf of the party and its candidate, following a tweet by a Nigerian-born journalist, Mr. Jackson Ude.
The apex Court said that Justice Ariwoola neither spoke with Tinubu nor the Director General General of the Department of State Service (DSS) with a view to pressurising the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on the likely judgment to give in respect of the petitions.
Two days ago on Twitter, Ude wrote: “CJN TELLS TINUBU, APC TO PREPARE FOR A RERUN, AS TWO MORE JUSTICES BANNED FROM THE U.S AFTER SECRET PHONE CONVERSATIONS INTERCEPTED The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Olukayode Ariwoola is alleged to have informed Bola Tinubu and the APC to prepare for a rerun election. This is even as three private phone conversations he had with Tinubu, DG, DSS, Yusuf Bichi, and two other Justices of the Supreme Court, was leaked to the U.S authorities. Those two Justices have been added to the list of six Supreme Court justices banned from entering the U.S, bringing the number to 8.”
APC’s spokesman, Mr. Felix Morka said on Tuesday: “We have become aware of a decidedly mischievous and intentionally misleading tweet by one Mr Jackson Ude. He alleged that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was in telephone conversation with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, in which the CJN purportedly told the President and APC to prepare for a presidential election rerun.
“It is disturbing and disgraceful for Mr Ude to fabricate a falsehood of this kind on a matter of serious national importance that is actively under review by the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC).
“President Tinubu and our Party won the last Presidential election without a doubt, and do not have any need to engage in side conversations with the CJN regarding pending petitions before the PEPC. As the core democrat that he is, the President respects the right of aggrieved Candidates in the election to seek redress for any grievances that they may have. The Constitution and Electoral Act provide effective guarantees of that right.
“The PEPC should be afforded the time and space to perform its important constitutional and statutory duty of adjudicating and delivering a verdict in the matter without needlessly calling the integrity of our Judges into question.
“Falsehood and conjecture by the likes of Mr. Ude only aim to inflame political passions, create doubt and panic, and preemptively undermine the verdict of the Courts in this important matter.
“We are confident that Nigerians are smarter and more discerning than to be affected by this opposition brand of tasteless and crass mercenary expedition.”
The Director of Press and Information, Supreme Court of Nigeria, Dr Akande Festus made the clarification in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja.
The statement reads in part “In view of the rumour currently circulating in the social media space that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola had a telephone conversation with His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS) with a view to pressurising the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on the likely judgment to give, it is imperative to state clearly that there is no iota of truth in the narrative, as there was no such telephone conversation between the CJN and anyone.
“Nigerians have been following the proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal with admirable enthusiasm. So, it is advisable we all sustain the tempo and follow it up to the end, instead of relapsing into the realm of speculations and rumor peddling that will not do anyone any good.
“If this current trend of falsehood and mudslinging is sustained, our nation may not make the desired progress. The Courts are statutorily established to serve the best interest of the masses; and we are ever poised to do that to the best of our ability.
“We wish to plead with everyone to cooperate with the judiciary to serve the country to its full capacity, as no one will ever be favoured against the other in any dispute.
“The rule of law and supremacy of the Nigerian Constitution will always be upheld and applied in every matter that comes before the courts; as the facts presented and the subsisting laws must be applied in determining the merit or otherwise of each matter.
“The public should be rest assured that justice will be done to all matters pending in the various courts across the country, irrespective of who is involved”, the statement said.