The Presidency has said there was no truth in the reports that a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Kola Awodein, gave Justice Niyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, currently standing trial for alleged corruption, N500, 000. 00 at the behest of President Muhammadu Buhari during the certificate issue affecting the then presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress.
Reacting to media reports on the issue, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said Buhari challenged the elections of 2003, 2007, and 2011, up to the Supreme Court and was never named as trying to compromise any judge.
Noting that any attempt to soil that reputation was bound to fail, Adesina said even Awodein himself had denied the allegation.
He said, “Nigerians know that President Buhari challenged the elections of 2003, 2007, and 2011, up to the Supreme Court, and not once was he named as trying to compromise any Judge, though some of them were his schoolmates, or contemporary, at one time or the other.
“It is in keeping with the President’s time-tested reputation as a man of truth and integrity. Any attempt to sully that reputation is bound to fail, inexorably”.
Adesina produced a statement credited to Awodein on the matter which reads, “I am constrained to make in absolute good faith, in good conscience and in the interest of justice and fair play the following very short statement on account of the distorted news story currently being peddled as affecting the person of Mr. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and my good and very noble self.
The very simple and plain facts are as follows:
“I have known as a friend and for well over 35 years Mr. Justice Niyi Ademola, a notorious fact known to the majority of lawyers who have practiced especially in Lagos for over that same period more or less and also to so many other professionals of other disciplines and other prominent and not so prominent Nigerians.
“I was fully convinced then, as I remain today, that I could do no less as a friend of longstanding to fairly reasonably support him on that memorable occasion of his daughter’s wedding.
“Anyone and everyone who knows me would readily and unquestionably testify that I am and have always been a man of impeccable integrity on and off the Courts and that such a record speaks always loudly for itself.
“I would conclude by stating categorically and without any equivocation that ANY link whatsoever with Mr. President, or any court case or cases, of my personal gift from my personal resources delivered to Justice Niyi Ademola by myself on that occasion or any suggestion whatsoever that it was anything but such a gift or that it ever came from Mr. President or at his instance or that I was acting, under any circumstances, on his behalf is most malicious, utterly ridiculous and in very poor and revolting taste and most undeserving of any further comments.”
Recall that the media reported Tuesday that Babatunde Adepoju, a Department of State Services (DSS) operative, alleged that Kola Adewoyin, counsel to President Muhammadu Buhari, gave Adeniyi Ademola, a judge of the federal high court Abuja, N500,000 while the president’s certificate forgery case was before him.
Ademola is one of the judges arrested by the DSS, is currently standing trial alongside Olubowale, his wife, and Joe Agi, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
During cross examination in the trial of Ademola, Adepoju, who is a witness, said Agi told him that the money was given to Ademola during the wedding of the judge’s daughter.
Adepoju said though he did not carry out any investigation, it would be speculative to say the money was given to Ademola to influence the forgery case.
“The lawyer gave Justice Ademola N500, 000. In my opinion, it would be speculative to say the gift by President Buhari’s lawyer was a bribe to Justice Ademola. It is not a bribe,” he said
The DSS operative also said Agi admitted that a gift of N30million was given to Ademola.
Nnamdi Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe, an Abuja-based lawyer, had filed a suit to challenge the veracity of Buhari’s WAEC result.
Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe had said Buhari did not meet the educational requirement to contest for the highest office in Nigeria.
He accused Buhari of lying about sitting for the Cambridge West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1961.
At the hearing of the suit on May 26, 2016, Buhari through his counsel had raised an objection to the suit, challenging the mode of service of the originating summons on him.
He insisted that he ought to have been served at an address in Kaduna instead of by substituted means at the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja.
However, Justice Ademola, in his ruling, had held that it was incompetent and upheld the service of the originating court processes on Buhari.
The judge held that the service of the court’s processes on the president through the secretariat of the APC was in order as the court summons would get to him even though it was delivered at his party secretariat.
Dissatisfied with this ruling, Buhari through his legal team has filed a notice of appeal at the court of appeal, Abuja judicial division on seven grounds of appeal.
Buhari had hired 13 SANs, and 10 other counsels.
Apart from Awodein, some senior lawyers in the case were Wole Olanipekun,
Lateef Fagbemi, Akin Olujinmi, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Kola Awodein, Taiwo
Osipitan, Charles Edosomwan, Emeka Ngige, Femi Atoyebi, Femi Falana, Funke
Aboyade, H.O. Afolabi, and Muiz Banire.
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