An investigation by SaharaReporters has revealed that Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, is the secret instigator of myriads of lawsuits that aim to scuttle Nigeria’s general elections. The elections, which were originally scheduled to start on February 14, 2015, were postponed till March 28. The postponement followed a series of maneuvers by the Presidency and top security officials determined to see to it that President Goodluck Jonathan is re-elected.
Last week, SaharaReporters revealed that the attorney general had filed sworn affidavits in support of one of the lawsuits in which an amorphous group, Society for Advancement and Protection of Public Rights, sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as the AGF. The lawsuit asked an Abuja high court to bar INEC from using card readers for the 2015 elections.
Embarrassed by our revelation, Mr. Adoke, one of the closest associates of Mr. Jonathan, issued a statement claiming that the officers who swore to the affidavits did not consult with him before filing the affidavits that supported the plaintiff in the case. He said that the concerned officers would be issued a query.
However, our investigation revealed that, since issuing a retraction, the AGF had not sent a query to the officers as he promised. A judicial source revealed to our correspondent that Mr. Adoke was yet to withdraw the affidavits, adding that he had not sworn to a counter affidavit.
Two of the lawyers involved in the case told SaharaReporters that Mr. Adoke’s actions and inactions clearly show that the AGF was the point man of a team of legal experts President Jonathan has assembled and given the task of using legal tactics to ensure that the 2015 elections do not hold.
A source at the Presidency told SaharaReporters categorically that Mr. Adoke was just lying about his involvement. According to the source, the AGF had received and was solely managing the disbursement of a war chest of N2 billion provided by President Jonathan to enable Mr. Adoke to recruit a retinue of groups to file lawsuits aimed at further postponement of the elections, their termination, or the disqualification of Muhammadu Buhari, the main opposition candidate. So far, persons or groups funded by Mr. Adoke have filed fifteen lawsuits related to the elections.
In an interesting case our sources said exposed Mr. Adoke’s hand, a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday declined to grant an application for interim injunction against card readers in a case brought by four registered political parties. The lawyer who represented the plaintiffs was Alex Iziyon, Mr. Adoke’s longstanding business partner and co-owner of a private jet charter company, Izzy Air, based in Abuja. SaharaReporters learned that the case was funded by Bolaji Ayorinde, the chairman of the governing board of the Nigerian Legal Aid Council, an appointee of Mr. Adoke who is also one of the lawyers on the legal team with Iziyon to shut down that voter cards reader program.