Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, a witness for Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the ongoing presidential election dispute at the presidential election petition court, has admitted that the $460,000 that Bola Ahmed Tinubu forfeited to the United States came from a narcotics business and money laundering.
Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, a politician from Ekiti state and long-time protege of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was at the election petitions tribunal on Wednesday in Abuja to give testimony against Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party.
Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, while being led in his testimony by senior lawyer Lateef Fagbemi, said Peter Obi joined the Labour Party while he was still holding his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party, another opposition party.
Among other documents, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele tendered the membership registration file of the Labour Party as of April 25, 2022, which showed that Peter Obi was not a member because his name could not be found on the list. The party’s registration document for Anambra also did not include Peter Obi’s name as of that period. Peter Obi left PDP on 25th May 2022. Before leaving, he had been a frontrunner in the bid for PDP’s presidential ticket. He formally announced his Labour party membership two days later on May 27, 2022.
However, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal said Peter Obi did not violate electoral law, even though he became the Labour Party presidential candidate on May 30, 2022 less than a month after he joined the party. The electoral law specified that an aspirant must have been a member of a political party for at least 30 days to be eligible to be a candidate.
The highlight of Senator Opeyemi Bamidele’s testimony came when he admitted under cross-examination by Peter Obi’s lawyers that Bola Ahmed Tinubu indeed forfeited over $460,000 in illicit drug proceeds. The case occurred in the United States in the 1990s when Bola Ahmed Tinubu was living in Chicago in the United States of America.
The politician had declined to address the forfeiture for several years, despite its domination of headlines before the presidential election on February 25, 2023.
Livy Uzoukwu, a senior lawyer handling Peter Obi’s case, asked whether or not Senator Opeyemi Bamidele knew that the forfeiture was connected to narcotics dealing, to which he responded yes. He also responded that he understood there was money laundering involved in Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s matter prior to the final forfeiture.
Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, who recently became the majority leader of the Nigerian Senate, appeared to be the most high-profile associate of Bola Ahmed Tinubu to confirm the forfeiture and narcotics background of the former Lagos state governor, who was sworn-in as Nigeria’s president on May 29, 2023 following his controversial declaration as winner of the February presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
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