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Gani drags Obasanjo to court

Posted by By FEMI BABAFEMI on 2005/05/25 | Views: 439 |

Gani drags Obasanjo to court


Human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) has dragged President Olusegun Obasanjo and three federal agencies to a Federal High Court in Abuja seeking an order declaring the launch of a Presidential Library by a sitting President as an act of corruption and abuse of power.

Human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) has dragged President Olusegun Obasanjo and three federal agencies to a Federal High Court in Abuja seeking an order declaring the launch of a Presidential Library by a sitting President as an act of corruption and abuse of power.

Joined as defendants in the suit are the Code of Conduct Bureau, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) as well as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The Senior Advocate is also seeking a court order compelling the agencies to publish President Obasanjo’s assets, and investigate all the contracts awarded by the federal government since 1999 to date with a view to establishing whether donors at the launch of Presidential Library project which took place penultimate Saturday in Abeokuta Ogun State, were involved in such contracts.

Besides, the Lagos lawyer also wants the court to compel ICPC and EFCC to probe President Obasanjo’s accounts and those of the donors at the event which raked in over N4b.

In his originating summons filed in Abuja on Monday, Chief Fawehinmi is demanding among eight reliefs, that the Saturday May 14 launching "and receiving gifts of money for that purpose from federal government contractors and beneficiaries while he is exercising enormous public powers as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and as Minister of Petroleum Resources amounts to corrupt practices and abuse of power contrary to section 15 (5) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

The activist is also seeking an order compelling President Obasanjo to account for all moneys received as donations during the launching which shall be forfeited, if a contravention of EFCC and ICPC acts is established.
Apart from this, he also wants a declaration that the composition of the Board of Trustees of the Presidential Library "being a private project of a serving President is both a violation of sections 15 (5) and 23 of the constitution."

He contended that Dr Christopher Kolade, who is the chairman of the Board, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Dr. Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, who are members, are serving public officers which make them incompetent to spend public time and money to serve a private project of a serving President.
He also argued that "the membership of Messes Karl Masters, Vernon Jordan (USA) and Richard Branson (UK) who are foreigners are incompetent to serve the private project of a serving President of Nigeria in that their identities are unknown to Nigerians as the national security of Nigeria can be compromised in this respect."

Fawehinmi also wants a declaration that the licence granted President Obasanjo in 2003 to establish "the Bells University of Technology to which the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library will be affiliated is an abuse of power and is contrary to section 15 (5) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999."

The lawyer is predicating his reliefs on two constitutional provisions; section 15 (5) of the 1999 constitution which provides that "the state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power," as well as the code of conduct provisions contained in part one of the constitution which states that "a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities.

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