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Assured of victory, Yar'adua’s Camp Celebrates Ahead of Tomorrow's Ruling; Police Put Abuja in a Security Lockdown

March 12, 2008
Saharareporters can report authoritatively that the camp of Umar Yar'adua, Nigeria's imposed ruler, is in a celebratory mode after receiving assurances from the Justice James Ogebe tribunal that tomorrow’s ruling on last April’s presidential election will go Yar’adua’s way.

Our source inside Aso Rock disclosed that, as at 8:00 p.m. Nigerian time, two members of the Ogebe-led tribunal had leaked information that “President Yar'adua” will be declared the winner of the April 21, 2007 presidential poll. Our source could not provide answers as to the basis on which the tribunal will rule in Yar'adua’s favor. But this source, who has in the past provided us with reliable tips, told our correspondent, “Mark my word, Yar’adua has won, and his people are already celebrating.”

As Saharareporters earlier reported, the key factor in handing Yar'adua victory is Justice (Mrs.) Uwani Abba-Aji, the tribunal’s only female member. Justice Abba-Aji is married to Musa Abba Aji, a former civil servant, and is the sister-in-law to Senator Mohammed Abba-Aji who was used to offer inducement to her.

Apart from using former Senator Mohammed Abba-Aji to prevail on Justice Abba Aji, our sources also revealed that her husband, Musa Abba-Aji, was recently invited to a business breakfast with Umar Yar'adua, even though the man is hardly a businessman. “Musa Abba-Aji recently retired from the civil service. At best, he is a politician, but his inclusion on the list of businessmen and women who met with Yar’adua was aimed at sealing the official pressure on his wife,” said our source. “That effort has obviously paid off,” he added.

In another proof of Yar’adua’s confidence, his camp has sent e-mails to Nigerian editors with a line-up of Yar’adua’s allies to be interviewed after the verdict is announced. The e-mail, which was sent by Bolaji Adebiyi, Yar’adua’s special assistant (political), reads: “The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal is sheduled (sic) to render its decision tomorrow (sic). Expectedly reactions will attend the outcome. May I humbly suggest that you consider the following persons as worthy of reacting to the outcome of the judgement.
Thanks for your usual cooperation.” Its list contains Mallam Adamu Ciroma, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Shetima Mustapha, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Arch. Bunu Sherif, Mr. Paul Wampana, and retired Colonel Abubakar Umar.

In another related development, the Abuja authorities have granted five television stations the rights to carry live broadcasts of the ruling. But according to a court official who spoke to our correspondent, the reasoning behind the live telecasts is so that “Nigerians can understand transparently how the tribunal arrived at its decision.” , the television stations are barred from zooming in on the faces of tribunal members.

But in a move reminiscent of what happened during the 2003 presidential tribunal rulings, the Nigeria Police Force have put the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja in a security lockdown. Close to 15,000 policemen are milling all over the city in preparation for tomorrow’s ruling. A source said the show of force was to dissuade any spontaneous or organized protests by the opposition parties.

Saharareporters had earlier reported that Yar’adua will commence a five-day official trip to China as soon as the Ogebe tribunal’s ruling is delivered. This is seen as a further show of confidence on Yar’adua’s part, in part it wa also designed to spite George Bush who recently toured Africa but deliberately left out Nigeria from his itinerary.

Our correspondent has also learned about a planned massive campaign by the Yar’adua camp to discourage two of Yar’adua’s rivals, Muhammadu Buhari of the ANPP, and Abubakar Atiku of AC, from appealing tomorrow’s verdict.

According to several sources, Yar’adua’s group plans to deploy emirs and other traditional rulers, the Northern political elite, Islamic and Christian religious leaders, editors and columnists, women groups as well as students to wage an emotional campaign to convince the duo not to take their case to the Supreme Court. One source said Yar'adua and his handlers were jittery about the prospect of facing a Supreme Court that has given some bold decisions in recent months. “Yar’adua is unsure of victory at the Supreme Court,” said the source, noting that it is part of the reason it went all out to pressure the Court of Appeal justices.

Saharareporters has also learned that the ruling by a Court of Appeal concerning the invalidation of the governorship election of Yar'adua's son-in-law, Saidu Dakin Gari, has been adjourned till March 5, 2008. The ruling was initially scheduled for tomorrow. No reasons were adduced for the adjournment.

Another source told Saharareporters that, tomorrow, the Court of Appeal in Jos is very likely to confirm a tribunal’s ruling invalidating the election of Murtala Nyako as governor of Adamawa State. “I can tell you that the Appeal Court will send Nyako packing from Government House in Yola.

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