No clandestine meeting between CJN, Tinubu says Ex-NBA scribe, Lawal-Rabana
A senior lawyer, Mr Rafiu Adeyanju Lawal Rabana SAN on Friday refuted allegations of a clandestine meeting between Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, and Nigeria’s President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, saying such allegations were not only wicked, but wicked.
An online newspaper had written a story published on March 23, 2023 linking the London trip of the CJN to a scheduled secret meeting with Tinubu on electoral petitions filed before the Presidential Elections Tribunal.
But Rabana-Lawal, a past General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) said he was on the same flight with Justice Ariwoola back to Abuja, and that there was no truth in the story.
He said: “I was on the same BA flight with CJN on the night of 22nd march arriving Abj early morning of 23rd . There is absolutely no truth in the stories making the rounds . Anyone familiar with Heathrow Airport knows it’s normal for people to move from a boarding gate to another in a cart or wheelchair;
I personally chatted with the CJN and he mentioned He was in London for a brief Medical check . He was accompanied by the Secretary of NJC. How can this be a secret trip or disguised trip? Enough of these wicked and unfounded stories about the CJN.
Lawal-Rabana is not the only one that has refuted the story. Another lawyer, Ahmed Raji SAN described the story as another malicious attempt to tarnish the image of the CJN.
In his statement, Raji said the report was another malicious attempt by some individuals to tarnish the image of the Supreme Court and the CJN after they had made attempts at attaching his name to some political parties to preempt the outcomes of the legal tussles before the apex court.
“It has been in the news since Tuesday evening that Tinubu was traveling to Europe for medical reasons as well as for lesser hajj. Further reports indicated that he is in France to meet with his medical doctor. Why would somebody now link that to the CJN that has left Nigeria for the UK since Saturday to observe his own medical session and just came back today (Thursday) as meeting?
“Our politicians need to allow due process to take control. Election matters are in the law courts, but that does not mean that the law lords will not live their normal lives as human beings. Tinubu is in France and the CJN was in London. Where is the contact?
Also the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) Presidential Campaign Committee (PCC) spokesperson, Mr Bayo Onanuga also said the story was unfounded.
“We refute emphatically that there has been no clandestine meeting between the President-elect and the respected Chief Justice of our country, anywhere. It’s pure fabricated news, groundless in fact and authenticity,” Onanuga stated.
“What kind of appointment or secret meeting will the two men have arranged in London, with such widely disparate arrival dates, except in the imagination of the false news merchants?”
“We can confirm that the President-elect, who left Nigeria Tuesday, has not been in London. He is right now in France to have a deserved rest, after a hectic campaign that began in January 2022. He will go to London thereafter before proceeding to Mecca for the lesser Hajj”, Onanuga concluded.
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