No Where To Hide: CJN Ariwoola in hot water over ‘secret’ trip to the UK
The outcome of Nigeria’s recent presidential election which was controversially won by the ruling Party’s Bola Tinubu, would be settled in court after opposition party candidates who came second and third, filed petition challenging Tinubu’s victory, earlier in the week.
With focus now shifted to the courts, there are growing concerns and fears that a repeat of 2019 is likely, unless the judiciary is no longer under the influence of the presidency as was the case back in 2019, when Justice Lawal Garba of the Court of Appeal and Chief Justice Ibrahim Tanko, dismissed Atiku’s case both at the Election Petition Tribunal and the Supreme Court respectively.
This mounting concerns among the public, recently fuelled massive reactions on social media platforms, when news broke that Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola was sighted in London pretending to be a physically-challenged old man, according to the Peoples Gazette.
The APC’s presidential candidate whose victory in the last election is currently being challenged in the court, has reportedly traveled to France for what his media team said was purely to rest “after a very exhaustive campaign and election season”, and not for medical reasons as reported by the media.
From France, Tinubu would also visit London and then Saudi Arabia to perform the lesser Hajj, according to his media aide Tunde Rahman.
Tinubu’s trip to France generated a great deal of reaction in the country, as Nigerians were quick to relate his situation with that of President Buhari who spent a good deal of his first term in office in the Uk on health grounds.
But, that report was soon overshadowed by a report of Ariwoola being sighted in London, and more so, allegedly on a wheelchair pretending to be a physically-challenged old man.
The report by the Peoples Gazette, set social media on fire as many where quick to relate the CJN’s trip to a well orchestrated plan by the ruling party and Tinubu, to influence the on going court cases in Tinubu’s favour.
Others however, argued that Nigerians were overly sensitive, and that his trip to the Uk does not necessarily suggest a sinister motive, and calling on opposition supporters to apologize to the CJN for misrepresenting the situation, particularly the claim that the use of the wheelchair was an attempt to disguise himself from being noticed by the public.
According to the Peoples Gazette, Mr Ariwoola departed Nigeria on March 11 via Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, was pushed in a wheelchair through the terminals to board a British Airways flight. And upon arrival in London, the 64 year old was also wheeled into a hotel downtown, where he has remained ever since.
The reported however, also added that immediately after checking into the hotel, Mr Ariwoola abandoned his wheelchair and started moving around the facility unaided.
“He has been moving about in the hotel without any wheelchair. He was standing on his own in the elevator just yesterday,” a source familiar with the CJN’s activities at the London accommodation told The Gazette.
It is believed that the CJN’s decision to travel earlier was to avoid suspicion that his trip has anything to do with Tinubu.
“The CJN deliberately left the country more than a week ahead of Tinubu to avoid any suspicion about why both of them disappeared at once,” a source familiar said. “That is why he travelled secretly and Tinubu also travelled secretly.”
Meanwhile as Nigerians rage over the development, Twitter user Osarentin Victor Asemota, took a softer stance on the issue, saying using a wheelchair, doesn’t mean the CJN was trying to disguise himself.
“We should all apologize to the CJN for all of this public embarrassment based on ignorance. If you check my British Airways Executive Club profile today, the wheelchair is still an option. I am not as old as he is. I have a bad leg from an accident in 2014, but I can also walk,” he said in a tweet.
But other responses to his tweet said issues at stake is much more than just the use of a wheelchair.
“All you’re seeing is just a lack of trust. INEC deceived the whole of Nigeria and changed the rule at the last minute. If they did the right thing, we won’t be here even if it’s favours the ruling party. For me, let justice be served,” a user with the name ‘National Delegate’ said.
Another user, Jerking fish, said, “Frankly, your post is where I learnt that this is a norm for some passengers n not some kind of disguise. However, the issues of a clandestine meeting with Tinubu is where wahala is….given that this is Nigeria and anything can happen
“If the system IS faulty this IS how much tension and Panic IT causes by every move,” another user with the name ‘Home grown’ wrote.
A user with the name Ezinma, sees the positives in the whole fuse.
“There is a positive side to everything. At least all parties are also aware that there’s no where to hide on the planet. The Nigerians who they made the country too uncomfortable for, are in all corners of the earth to expose them,” she wrote.
Source: National Pivot