JUSTICE TANKO’s TANK OF WORMS
The atmosphere in the spacious SGF’s office was tense and the faces of those gathered in the room was telling. The administration has been dragged into another snafu by Amaechi, this time, the plot to audaciously unseat the nation’s CJN.
24 hours earlier, the information space had been rattled by the news that the CJN was about to be arraigned in the CCT for an alleged breach of the Code of Conduct for public officials. At first,it seemed like another fake news but with the leak of court documents, it was obvious that elements within the administration knew a thing or two about the plot. A little snooping by the SGF revealed that at the heart of the plot was the ubiquitous imprints of Rotimi Amaechi and the AGF. He contacted the Vice President and a decision was taken to insulate PMB.
This led the VP to declare that the president was not aware of the travails of the CJN. But, that was just a temporary face serving measure, Amaechi and the Hawks within the presidency capitalized on the major weakness of the President-notoriously self opinionated-to carry out
This ambitious plot. They knew that the President has never liked Justice Onnoghen and indeed , had a soft spot for Justice Tanko and were certain that any plot to remove Onnoghen that is clothed in the fabled anti-corruption war of the administration will get his imprimatur.
But who is Justice Tanko? Why does he enjoy the confidence of the President? What is Amaechi end game in engaging in this travesty? All these and many more bone chilling plots will be untangled. Let’s go to Bauchi for clues.
The fanfare that greeted the decamping of Isa Yuguda to the APC was bewildering given he had lost an election to come to the Senate as a serving governor, and had also been trashed at the most recent bye elections where he came a distant fifth with just 20,000 votes, in a State where Buhari has a cult-like following. So, electorally, Yuguda is of no value to the president but, he was given a hero’s welcome and received by none other than the Vice President and the entire APC NWC. What value is he bringing to the table? Justice Tanko Mohammed.
In 2007, Yuguda did the miraculous by handily beating the candidate of the ruling PDP whose outgoing governor, Adamu Muazu, was adjudged to have performed. But that victory was contested at the Tribunal.
Justice Tanko, had been elevated to the Supreme Court in January 2007 and had Been at the Court of Appeal for 13 years. A clearly jittery Yuguda who knew the power and clout of the PDP needed assistance to make sure his victory at the polls was not upturned at the Tribunals. Enter Justice Tanko.
The smoothness with which Justice Tanko navigated the judicial hurdles of Yuguda impressed him but this was just the beginning of a long relationship that was mutually beneficial. The 2007 project was made easier because Yuguda was the real winner at the polls.
But fast forward to 2011 when Yuguda had incurred the ire of the Bauchi electorate by his jumping to the ruling PDP thereby betraying Buhari. The Buhari hurricane in Bauchi was set to blow Yuguda away with Yusuf Tuggar leading the charge under CPC. Such was the popularity of CPC & Tuggar that when there was a security situation in the state following the victory of Yar’Adua at the presidential elections,Tuggar was the one security operatives asked to address the people to soothe frayed nerves and not Yuguda. Everyone knew that it was over for Yuguda..
But he “won” the elections. To observers of the elections , which includes yours sincerely, what happened in Bauchi was an aberration and we knew that an impartial tribunal would overturn the results. Clearly,Tuggar won the elections but was rigged out. The evidence was daunting.
The battle shifted to the Courts. “Miraculously”, again, Yuguda defeated Tuggar at the Trubunals. Justice Tanko delivered handsomely. His experience and contacts at both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court was deployed to save Yuguda.
So, it was not happenstance that the move to install Justice Tanko as the CJN took a new dimension with the return of Yuguda. But like previously stated, PMB has a liking for Tanko. Justice Tanko had given a minority ruling in one of the tribunal judgements for Buhari this Permanently endearing himself to the man who later become President. Furthermore, Justice TANKO’s appearance as a pious ascetic jurist was also another attraction for Buhari who associated this veneer with uprightness and incorruptibility. Nothing is further from the truth!
Within circles that know, Justice Tanko is the ONLY Jurist with a personal assistant whose duty is to “fix” things for him. Nothing is beyond fixing. From the Ohakim case in the tribunal with Rochas, whispers of his “assistance” is not difficult to find. Even among his colleagues brother Jurists, Justice Tanko is seen as a deviant , an attribute he displayed following the appointment of Onnoghen.
When the NJC made the recommendation to the President for the appointment of Justice Onnoghen, it departed from its tradition of forwarding two names to the President. Officials within the presidency had wanted two names to be submitted. The two must senior were Onnoghen and Tanko.
Evidently, Tanko would have been nominated if his name had made it to the president but the NJC thought otherwise and submitted only Onnoghen’s name. This move infuriated the President who refuses to forward the name to the Senate for confirmation until VP Osinbajo intervened to Save the nation a Constitutional crises. Tanko bated his fangs and became a fifth columnist in the Supreme Court. No day passes without Tanko going to visit the SGF, spending time with him and leaking secrets.
Amaechi saw an opening and went for the jugular. Let’s take a deep breadth here as we reveal the sordid part of this mess.
Now, Amaechi is having a battle of his political life. The juggernaut called Wike had run him out of town and made him politically redundant. Any politician at his level without a solid home base is considered a paper weight. Amaechi had thought that with the “Federal might” at the Centre he would be able to intimidate Wike, the same way the later used the power of the Centre to make life unbearable for him as governor. He had also hoped that his status as a super minister who enjoyed the confidence of the president he would be able to have Accesses to the security apparatchik of the State , the Judiciary and the Elections Management Body ,the INEC.
But Amaechi was disappointed. In fairness to PMB, he stoutly be refused to allow Amaechi the use of security agencies to destabilize Rivers State. A frustrated Amaechi would lament to close friends how the president CV was not being fair to him. Also, Amaechi’s attempt to get the Hierarchy of the INEC to support him met a brickwall in a very stubborn INEC Chairman. Amaechi’s attempt to corrupt the Judiciary is legendary.
In 2015, Amaechi secretly contacted a Supreme Court Justice, Inyang Okoro, with millions of dollars in an attempt to get him to facilitate the outcome of the Abia, Imo, Rivers and Akwa Ibom tribunal judgements. Justice Okoro resisted In 2016, the same Amaechi recruited fellow Minister Ogbonnaya Onu in an attempt to get Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court to corruptly derail the Rivers Elections petitions. The Justice also refused to play ball. So, it was a relief for Amaechi to find a pliable Justice like Tanko. Make no mistake, Onnoghen played into the hands of his enemies by his indiscretion of not properly declaring his assets. Amaechi capitalised on this breach to achieve his big ambition. What is this ambition?
In a bid to win re-election, PMB has been ‘gifting’the 2023 presidency to anyone that he thinks will help him achieve this goal. Amaechi is one of those who has the president’s “blessings” for the lucrative job. Amaechi has pencilled the Midget Governor as potential running mate.
But for this ambition to be a reality, Amaechi needs to control a State like Rivers with vast resources . This is not an easy task considering that Wike has not only performed very as Governor but is also entrenched in the politics of power manipulation and patronage using government-given Resources. The pronouncement by the courts barring any APC candidates from contesting the elections sealed Amaechi’s fate. Only the Courts can reverse this situation. The Justices of the Supreme Court, especially Onnoghen, is not disposed to dishing any favours to Amaech given his history at attempting to pervert the course of justice . With Justice Tanko’s availability to do the bidding of his associates in the executive, Amaechi knew that the only stumbling block was Onnoghen who has to be removed by any means necessary. For the presidency,attests More about 2019 elections than Rivers state. PMB is certain that the battle for the presidency will not be resolved at the polls and therefore, the need for a “trusted” person at the helm of affairs at the Supreme Court. The deep involvement of VP Osinbajo in this plot attests To this. Only this evening, my sources just told me that the VP asked Wole Olanipekun SAN, the lead lawyer for Justice Onnoghen, to withdraw from representing him if Onnoghen refuses to resign.
Justice Tanko is pliable because of his moral bankruptcy and insatiable avarice. This component of his character has been carefully hidden from the president who sees a man that would come for his swearing in ceremony with a tribal bag containing his Quran as incorruptible.
The man is a deal maker. His suave personal assistant provides him with deniability. But he has his hands in every dirty deals in the Judiciary. The payments received are used to service the myriads of ‘kept women’ that he services. As the NJC meets, the onus is on them to take a decisive action to remove this cancer of a man from the judiciary. By accepting to be sworn in as CJN, the Abia treatment must be meted out to him to serve as a deterrent to others who want to enable tyranny.
Extracted from Twitter handle of
Mazi Chima Amadi @amadichima