- Court dismisses suit challenging PDP 2015 campaign funding
By Abu Nmodu, Minna AND Kunle Olasanmi, Abuja
Barely 24 hours to the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has visited former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, apparently to seek his support for his presidential ambition.
LEADERSHIP Friday learnt that Atiku and IBB met behind closed doors yesterday for about three hours.
Atiku had arrived at Minna airport at about 12.15pm and was received at the airport by the Niger State deputy governor, Ahmed Muhammad Ketso, as the usual protocol extended to former Nigerian leaders and their deputies.
The former vice president reached IBB’s residence at about 12:35pm in a dark jeep with registration number MNA 740 LD, accompanied in the same car by former Niger State governor, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu, and followed by a retinue of PDP stalwarts in the state.
The deputy governor, after leading Atiku to the upper chamber of IBB’s residence, left 10 minutes later. IBB, Atiku and former Governor Aliyu then had a private meeting for about 45 minutes before the former Niger State governor excused himself and left the duo to continue their parley.
Those shut out of the secret meeting were the former deputy governor of Niger State, Dr. Shem Nuhu Zagbayi; state chairman of the PDP, Barrister Tanko Beji; his deputy, Alhaji Aminu Yusuf; former minister of state for foreign affairs, Alhaji Abubakar Achituwo, and some other party chieftains in the state.
The details of the meeting were not revealed as both IBB and Atiku refused to speak to the press, but Atiku, who wore a cheerful look going into the meeting, came out looking cheerless about 3:05pm as his security aides pushed away journalists who had been waiting eagerly to get a word out of him.
However, the timing of the visit pointed to the fact that what was discussed was connected to the forthcoming national convention of the PDP
It is unknown whether IBB gave Atiku the political solidarity he might have come to seek on his return to the PDP, but even the usually characteristic former Governor Aliyu unusually shunned journalists at the Minna International Airport.
Court Dismisses Suit challenging PDP Campaign Funding
A high court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has dismissed a suit seeking to challenge the campaign funding of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) in the 2015 presidential election.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the court threw out the suit filed by one Chief Akinmoju Jero.
Jero, who is the plaintiff in the matter, joined a businessman, Benedict Peters, and Northern Belt Oil and Gas Company of Nigeria Ltd as defendants.
The plaintiff had told the court that Mr. Peters, who is the 1st defendant in the matter, paid a bribe of $115million to electoral officers to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.
According to a sworn affidavit deposed to by the plaintiff, it was also alleged that the electoral officers who received the bribe have made confessional statements and have also had their entire bank accounts blocked.
He also accused Mr Peters of donating the sum of $60million to the PDP campaigns for the 2015 presidential election which is far above the recommended amount of N1million by the Electoral Act.
He said the defendant made the donation having received preferential treatment in the award of contracts from the former minister of petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke.
In his response to the allegation, Peters denied giving bribes to electoral officials to influence the outcome of the elections.
According to an affidavit deposed to by one Andrew Onyearu, the 1st defendant, being a very wealthy man, donated money to all political parties before the election and also to their candidates.
According to the affidavit, Peters has been the subject of unjustified media attacks premised on unfounded rumour and prosecuted by a vicious campaign of calumny based on a false belief by some uninformed people.
In his judgement, Justice Adeniyi dismissed the case of the plaintiff for lacking in merit.
“The online publication relied upon by the plaintiff is not admissible in law. The evidence is clearly unrelated to the allegation of bribery adduced in this case.
“I have not seen any concrete or factual basis by the plaintiff to support the allegation made against the defendant in this case. The plaintiff has failed to show to the court that the money was donated to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections.
“The donation made to any political party does not offend any provision of the Electoral Act. The plaintiff has failed to show that the defendants spent $115million to influence the outcome of the election.
“The defendants did not violate any law by way of his donation to political parties which is allowed in law. The purported allegation of bribery against the defendants is unfounded. The plaintiff’s case lacks merit and it is hereby dismissed,” the judge ruled.