Ekiti: Security agencies probe petition on Salami, others •We’ll make example of our accusers -Akintola •Purported call logs, a ruse -ACN •We have Salami’s call logs from Sept 2010 to Jan 2011 -PDP •Salami, Appeal Court justices fail to submit respon
sent in on the gubernatorial appeal case in Ekiti State and were already investigating the allegations contained therein, just as the lawyers alleged to have made telephone conversations with Justice Ayo Salami reacted sharply to the allegations.
Former governor of Ekiti State, Chief Segun Oni, elected on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was removed from office on the basis of the ruling of the Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin, in October last year.
It was confirmed in Abuja that the petition had been received at the presidency and that the authorities had sent the petition to appropriate security outfits.
A source, who asked not to be named, said that the presidency did not want to comment on such issues and that immediately the petition came, it was referred to appropriate security outfits.
A source said that the National Security Adviser (NSA), General Owoye Azazi, had been asked to take a look at the document and act appropriately.
The petition had listed call logs made by senior lawyers to Justice Salami and other persons. But some of the lawyers mentioned in the petition, while reacting to the allegation, threatened to sue the petitioner and the newspaper that published the story.
When the Nigerian Tribune called Yusuf Alli (SAN) on 0803 334 0330, he said he had not seen the publication that contained the petition at the time he was called, adding that he would take legal action when he sees it, stressing that “people can’t just sit down somewhere to write rubbish against another person.
“People know me and they know my antecedents. They can vouch for me. I was lead counsel for PDP’s former governors, Oyinlola of Osun State and Olusegun Oni of Ekiti State. I won’t do what they said against my clients. I don’t do underhand dealings with anybody. I rejected ministerial appointments twice because of all these insinuations,” he said.
When the Nigerian Tribune also spoke with Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) on 0803 764 3770, he said the publication came as a surprise to him, just like some of his other colleagues, adding that he would surely take legal action against the newspaper that published the petition.
Akintola said he was not just a lawyer but a responsible and respected one at that and that it was crass ignorance to read meanings into conversation between a lawyer and the judge, saying that he had never spoken with a judge on any matter pending in court.
He said he met Justice Salami at a seminar held in Kaduna last August, explaining that the judge chaired the occasion. He added that he spoke with Justice Salami when the issue of resignation came up.
Akintola also said he was highly disappointed in former Governor Oni, adding that he never expected him to involve him or any lawyer in the petition.
“I have handled many cases. I was the lead counsel in the Abia State matter and I handled many other cases. Human memory is very short. I’m highly disappointed in Oni, if not other people. I was not even a counsel in the Osun matter. The records of the court speak well of the writer of the petition. They would be joking to think they can use mudslinging to get their cases reviewed.
“We are looking at the matter and it won’t be funny, because we will make example of all of them; the writer and the newspaper. All of us will take legal action against them. You can see how malicious people can be. I would have gone to the street to attack Oni, I only hope he would be able to defend himself, because we have a duty to protect the sanctity of the legal profession.
“We have no apology for standing for Salami. They can’t intimidate or scare us. All Nigerians, irrespective of religion, tribe or profession, Oni inclusive, are free to seek our legal services. We won’t discriminate against anyone for anything, even the worst criminal. It will be unprofessional to discriminate,” he said.
I’m not involved -Tarfa
In his reaction, Mr Ricky Tarfa aid he was not involved in the case, adding that “the newspaper report is a baseless publication. I don’t know anything about the case in question.”
When asked how his phone number came up in the report, the senior advocate said “anybody can have anybody’s phone number, there is no big deal about that.”
I’m a retired civil servant -Abdulahi
However, the Ibrahim Abdulahi mentioned in the petition turned out to be a retired civil servant of 35 years meritorious service in Kwara State.
Pa Abdulahi, who called the Nigerian Tribune after the initial attempt to reach him was unsuccessful, said “I am not a politician. I am not a lawyer or advocate. Nothing concerned me with either the Osun or Ekiti State matter.”
Call logs, a ruse -ACN
Meanwhile, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said that the purported MTN call logs insinuating a deal between the ACN chieftains, lawyers and Justice Salami, as contained in the petitions by Chief Oni and Osun PDP chieftain, Sunday Ojo-Williams, were a ruse and selective perception, designed to muddle the waters.
It, however, warned the PDP-led Federal Government not to throw Nigeria into an avoidable crisis over its desperation to reverse the Appeal Court judgments on the Ekiti and Osun governorship election petitions.
The party, in a statement issued in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Tuesday, by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the judgments in the cases were final, irrespective of what the ousted governors were being told by their advisers or the buttons they were pressing at the federal.
“We have the strength of character, the courage and the conviction to mount a sustained campaign in defence of justice, and in defence of our mandate. We will not surrender a mandate freely given to us by the people, which was evident in the massive jubilation that greeted the rulings of the appeal court in both Ekiti and Osun states,” the party stated.
It stated that if the petitioners and their sponsors wanted to really convince Nigerians about their allegations, they should be courageous enough to publish all the call logs of Justice Salami during the period in question, so that all can see all the calls that Justice Salami received during the period.
According to the ACN, the fact that Justice Salami was the president of the Court of Appeal did not mean he will not have a social life, or that people could no longer call him.
The party said despite the clandestine meetings in the highest echelon of the PDP and also involving some top officials of the Federal Government, the PDP could not re-write the Nigerian constitution, just because the rulings in those cases did not favour it.
The ACN, however, warned that should the PDP think it could re-open the cases and overturn the judgments, then it should be ready for an epic battle, the end of which no one could predict, and the consequences of which could only be imagined.
Responding to the publication, Chief Emeka Ngige said that the newspaper, Oni and the acting chairman of the PDP in Osun State, Chief Sunday Ojo-Williams, would meet him in court where they would have to justify what he called their wild allegations.
Ngige said he was not on the legal team in Ekiti or Osun State election petition appeal panels and, as such, could not have reached out to any judge on the appeals.
Osun PDP charges NJC
However, the Osun State PDP has charged the National Judicial Council (NJC) to probe the alleged response of Justice Salami that he was not bothered by the allegation raised linking him to telephone conservations with chieftains of the ACN and its lawyers, while the Osun and Ekiti state governorship appeal cases were ongoing.
The party, in a statement signed by its director of publicity, Mr Adeolu Adeyemo, said Salami’s alleged statement that he was not bothered about the allegation could be a tactical way of wanting to bury the matter and appealed to the NJC not to be bamboozled by the response but rather investigate it.
Reacting to the admission of culpability by ACN spokesman, who was named among others as being involved in the illegal phone deals with Justice Salami, the PDP said for the first time, the ACN had admitted that it was not averse to crooked means to get results.
“As for the challenge that we should publish the entire log of Justice Salami, we want to say that we have Justice Salami’s call logs from September 2010 to January 2011. We don’t mind publishing all for the world to see if only the ACN and Bola Tinubu will make pages available in their newspapers. If we publish it, we would have had to opportunity to show the whole world, as is clearly shown in the call logs we have submitted to the NJC that on November 16, 2010, Justice Salami (08034004887) exchanged text messages eight times at 4:34 a.m. with the ACN gubernatorial candidate in Kebbi State in the coming April elections, Turaki Kabiru Tanimu (08033120001)! What were they discussing even before morning prayers?” the PDP asked.
Also, the PDP asked security agencies to pick up chieftains of the ACN involved in the scandal.
Salami, 4 others yet to answer query
Meanwhile, the ultimatum given Justice Salami and four others to respond to query issued to them by the NJC expired at the close of work on Tuesday, without the NJC receiving any reactions from them.
The query, dated February 8, 2011, directed the affected jurists to respond within two weeks, the ultimatum which expired on Tuesday.